How to host a kebab party

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Serve delicious party fare to your guests exactly the way they want it.

How to host a kebab party

Invite your friends over and give them a skewer. OK, invite them over, tell them to be nice to each other, and then give them a skewer. Then you can sit back, watch them load up with cuts of beef, vegetables, chicken, shrimp and whatever else you can find. Then they can cook their food themselves! All you really need to do is keep the fire going so that your guests-turned-chefs can cook, offer a nice beverage or two, and enjoy a fantastic kebab party.

The drinks

First and foremost, a kebab party is a party. That means that you should be thinking about ways to create a festive atmosphere. One of the best ways to do that is make sure the drinks are flowing. Like any good party, make sure you have a cheap beer and a good beer for the beer snobs. Then, you should also be thinking about a nice Mediterranean cocktail to fit the theme. If you can't find anything that suits your fancy, go with a pomegranate citrus drink containing two parts pomegranate juice and soda water to one part lemon juice and vodka.

The preparation

The bad news about kebab parties is that they're very labor intensive. The good news is that you're not doing much of the labor. There are two things you absolutely must do, though: Soak skewers in water and get the fire started. Start a large number of kebab skewers soaking in ice-cold water at least an hour before the party begins. Soaking skewers keeps them from burning up, which prevents them from breaking and falling into the fire. It also stops them from catching fire and potentially burning your house down.

Also, you'll need to consider where you're going to make your fire. Most people only have one grill and that's fine, but if you can borrow several grills, that will give your more room to cook the kebabs. A fire pit is also a good idea. Still, no matter what you use, make sure that you get the fire started early so it's ready when guests arrive. Also, make sure that your grill has plenty of charcoal since you'll need to keep it at cooking temperature for several hours.

The main course

At the very least, you'll want to offer beef and chicken that have been cut into cubes and three or four types of veggies (carrots, mushrooms, green pepper and onions are traditional) for guests to turn into kebabs. The veggies should likewise be cut into similar-sized pieces to ensure the same cooking times. However, depending on how fancy you want to be, you can also offer lamb, bison, elk, shrimp, scallops, lobster tails and other exotic ingredients for the kebabs.

If you do offer seafood selections, make sure you cut your veggies, chicken and beef into smaller pieces. Shrimp will cook in about three minutes on the grill and someone will undoubtedly want to mix shrimp with beef and chicken, which can take longer to cook if they're too big. Therefore, you want to cut the other food small so it has a chance to be done in three minutes, too.

As for how you prepare the food items prior to cooking, that's largely up to you. Make sure everything is seasoned with salt and pepper, but you can also consider marinating the meat in various commercial marinades, simple lemon juice or whatever you'd like. Just remember, not everyone likes marinades so keep the flavors fairly basic.

The sides

People may want more than just kebabs at their party. Offering a few Mediterranean dips (hummus, for instance), is a nice way to add variety to the fare. You should also offer rice and pita or naan to serve with the kebabs as their starchiness goes well with the heavier meats.

No matter what you do at your party, good luck! Good times and good food await.

Great kebab recipes

Grilled fruit kebabs
Spicy pork kebabs with Moorish flavors
Surf-n-turf shish kebabs