Dad’s Kabobs & Summers Long Ago

Running in the sprinklers.  Catching butterflies.  Anxiously awaiting the ice cream truck. These are all parts of summer’s long ago.  Simply times.  No worries. Growing up, Dad’s awesome kabobs were without a doubt a summertime favorite of mine. No summer was complete without these delicious hunks of marinated beef all smokey and tender with charred pieces of onions and blistered bell peppers. Let’s not forget the sweetness of cherry tomatoes. Perfection on a stick.

Dad would marinade chunks of steak the night before, and then put the kabobs on the spit to slowly barbecue over a bed of hot coals in his trusty Webber. The spit made this groaning sound, squeaking as it turned round and round over a bed of glowing coals. It seemed to take forever for the kabobs to cook, the savory scented ghostly gray smoke floating through the backyard, causing our mouths to water. Dad made us wait until the first piece of meat fell from the skewer and sizzled on the bed of coals below. Only then was it considered “done”. My brother and I would dance about in the smoke, excitedly waiting and watching for that first morsel to fall and sizzle madly on the red-hot coals. Brother Dear, when no one was looking, would poke at the meat in the hopes of coaxing one tiny piece to fall. Try as he might, there was no rushing perfection.

Dad’s Tenderloin Kabobs were reserved for special company. We could count on a dinner of yummy kabobs, cucumber salad and another company favorite  – Marie Callender’s fresh strawberry pie topped with a mountain of fresh whipped cream. Barbecue and strawberry pie – summer was officially in full swing.


Dad’s Marinated Beef Kabobs
Dad’s Secret Marinade
2 Cups Salad Oil
1 Cup Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons Dry Mustard
2 ½ Teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Coarse, freshly ground Black Pepper
¾ Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 ½ Teaspoons dried Parsley Flakes
2-3 Cloves Garlic, pressed
½ Cup Lemon Juice

Dad’s Kabobs
2 lbs Beef Tenderloin (½ lb per person, add more as needed)
1 Recipe Farley’s Secret Marinade (above)
1 Bag Pear Onions, outer layer peeled
1 Basket Cherry Tomatoes, washed
2 Red Bell Peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
2 Orange Bell Peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
20 bamboo Skewers or 10 long metal skewers for threading

Cut tenderloin into 2” cubes. Whisk together ingredients for Marinade. Place tenderloin pieces in a Tupperware Marinating container or in a large resealable bag that is placed in a casserole dish. Pour marinade over meat and place in refrigerator overnight. Flip container occasionally to turn meat and better saturate with marinade.

If using bamboo skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning. Remove meat from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 20-30 minutes.

If using a zip-lock bag for marinating, pour meat with marinade into the casserole dish. Prep the vegetables and have them at the ready.

Thread 1 pear onion, 1 chunk of steak, 1 red pepper, 1 cherry tomato and 1 orange pepper onto skewer. Repeat until skewer is filled. DO NOT thread too tight or meat will not cook properly. Repeat same with remaining skewers until all the ingredients are used.

Build a hot bed of coals. Grill Kabobs 5 inches from coals for 3-5 minutes per side, giving a quarter turn each time for even grilling. Meat should be medium-rare for best results.

If you have a motorized spit for your trusty Webber, by all means use it.  Although the meat will take longer to reach perfection, it is well worth the wait.

Just a quick footnote: That’s Brother Dear on the left, sitting on Mom’s lap. I’m the rugrat on the far right, looking all serious while my Popsicle drips down my arm.

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