Grilled Pheasant Kabobs

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most popular grilling days of the year. In fact, it’s the seventh largest. And to top it off, it is the biggest outdoor cooking day of the winter months.

What’s the best part of grilling on Super Bowl Sunday? You can prepare most of the food in advance.

Appetizers are a perfect example of this school of thought, and for the big game Feb. 3, consider Pheasant Kabobs.

The following recipe, from MacFarlane Pheasants (located in Janesville, Wis.), the largest pheasant farm in North America, will provide some tasty eating at game time.

If you’re not a hunter and don’t have access to your own birds, whole pheasants and variety of pheasant breasts and strips are available at MacFarlane’s online retail store ( with convenient shipping coast-to-coast via UPS.

And that’s not to mention several recipes for entrees, soups, salads and more.

Grilled Pheasant Kabobs
1 to 1½ pounds pheasant breast cut into strips
1 4-ounce jar jalapeno peppers
12 slices bacon, cut into thirds
6 bamboo skewers, soaked in water
Cut pheasant breast into 36 pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Pour the juice from the jalapeno peppers over the pheasant and marinade for 20 minutes.
Preheat grill for medium heat; lightly oil the grate Drain the marinade from the pheasant. Place a slice of the jalapeno pepper onto each piece of pheasant breast, wrap with a bacon strip and slide onto skewer. Place 4 to 6 wraps on each skewer. Place kabobs on the grill, turning frequently for 15 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy. Remove skewers from the grill. Plate and serve immediately.
Yield: Serves 9.
Note: If using an oven, turn on the broiler; place skewers on baking pan. Keep pan 6 inches away from the heat source to avoid cooking too quickly. Broil each side for 10 minutes, or until bacon is crispy; turn and broil 10 additional minutes. Remove skewers from oven, plate and serve immediately.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Mini-Kebabs

Wintry weather probably has put the kibosh on a lot of people’s outdoor cooking plans for the year. But hard-core grillers always seem to find a way to get he job done, no matter if temperatures are in the 80s or single digits or the grass is green or covered with snow.

I don’t fall into the latter category, but recipes such as the following one for sweet-and-sour kebabs from the National Pork Board might make me reconsider.

Sweet and Spicy Pork Mini-Kebabs
3 pounds pork tenderloin, silver skin removed, cut into 48 (1-inch) pieces
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
½ ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 24 (1-inch) pieces
1 large red bell pepper, cored and cut into 24 (1-inch) pieces
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
24 6-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, drained
Preheat broiler with rack about 8 inches from heat source.
Toss pork with chili powder and salt. Thread 2 pieces of pork and 1 each of pineapple and red pepper pieces on each skewer. Wrap exposed end of each skewer with foil to discourage scorching. Mix honey and vinegar together for glaze. Broil, turning occasionally and brushing well with glaze during last 2 minutes, until pork is barely pink when pierced with tip of knife, about 8 minutes. Serve warm.
Yield: Serves 12 (small-plate servings).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 100 calories, 12 grams protein, 2 grams fat (no saturated), 230 milligrams sodium 35 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams carbohydrates, no fiber.
Cooking Tip: For marinated pork chops, put pork in a self-sealing bag with marinade in the refrigerator first thing in the morning. By suppertime, pork chops can be removed from marinade and ready to grill. (Dispose of used marinade.)

Pesto-Marinated Chicken (or Pheasant) and Vegetable Kabobs

Labor Day is the last time a lot of people pull out the grill for the season. For many, it symbolizes the end of summer, since school has started or very soon will be under way.

I used to be one of those people. In fact, there were quite a few years when I didn’t even own a grill.

It’s a different story now. We grill three or four times a month during the summer. Most of the time, it’s fish, elk burgers or sausage or some other wild game that we need to use before the new seasons begin.

One of my favorite things to grill is marinated pheasant breasts and thighs. I usually use my old standby marinade but sometimes like to try store-bought versions. Recently, I used a herb and white wine marinade from Lawry’s with salmon.

Here’s a kebab recipe that makes use of a marinade. It’s adapted from one supplied by Weber, the grilling people. I plan on trying it this Labor Day with some pheasant. Not only do you marinade the meat but also vegetables. I can’t wait to try it!

Pesto-Marinated Chicken (or Pheasant) and Vegetable  Kabobs
½ cup  dry white wine
¼ cup  extra virgin olive oil
1 package  Weber Tomato Garlic Pesto Marinade Mix
4  (6 to 8 ounces each) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2  medium yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1-inch squares
16  small cherry or grape tomatoes, stemmed
2  small zucchini, cut into chunks
2  small summer squash, cut into chunks
1 small eggplant, halved lengthwise and cut into bite-size chunks
Red onion, quartered, separated (use outer sections only)
Place a large, resealable plastic bag in a bowl. In the bag mix the wine, oil, and Weber Italian Herb Marinade.
Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise and then cut each half into equal-size pieces, about 1½ inches each. Add the chicken and vegetables. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade evenly. Refrigerate for about 2 hours, turning the bag once or twice.
Pour the contents of the bag onto a rimmed platter or sheet pan. Thread the chicken pieces with the vegetables onto 8 to 10 metal skewers, alternating the ingredients. Discard the marinade.
Grill the kabobs over Direct Medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve warm.

Grilled Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Kebabs

Grilling is one of the most popular pastimes on Memorial Day. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that not everyone is a fan of burgers, steaks, hot dogs and the like. There are those who prefer to make a meal out of veggies and maybe some fish or seafood.

But there’s nothing to say you can’t combine meat, veggies and seafood like the following recipe for kebabs. This tasty creation contains shrimp, onion, peppers and bacon with a little barbecue sauce thrown in on the side. Add some grilled peaches and ice cream, and you have a great grilled meal from main course to dessert.

Grilled Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp Kebabs
50 large shrimp (approximately)
17 slices bacon
1 Vidalia onion
16 ounces of medium size mushrooms
2 green bell peppers
2 red bell peppers
Barbecue sauce
Cut up the onion and peppers in large chunks approximately 1 inch squares or a little larger.
Cut the bacon slices into thirds and slightly cook the bacon until it is softened but not crispy. (This could be done in the microwave.)
Wrap the shrimp in the bacon slices and assemble the kebabs on the metal skewers starting with bacon wrapped shrimp, a chunk of red pepper, onion, mushroom cap, and green pepper then another bacon wrapped shrimp.
Place the Skewers on a preheated grill with slightly greased foil.
As you are cooking the skewers, baste with the barbecue sauce on each side for approximately 7 to 10 minutes (depending on the temperature of your grill.)
Yield: Serves 4.

Grilled Peaches
¼ cup bourbon
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 to 6 peaches, halved and pitted
Vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring bourbon to boil. Add butter, sugar and cinnamon, reduce heat and simmer mixture until syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Preheat grill for medium, indirect heat (about 300 to 325 degrees). Place peaches cut side down and grill until nicely browned on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip over and grill for another 5 minutes. Remove from grill and place 2 halves on each plate. Spoon glaze over top and, if desired, serve with vanilla ice cream.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs

What’s the most popular way to cook salmon? If you guessed grilling, you’re probably in agreement with a lot of people. Hot-off-the-grill salmon can’t be beat. And to top it off, it’s one of the easiest methods as well.

In the winter, if we grill, I like to use my Foreman. But once the weather turns nice, our backyard gas grill is the ticket for the fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which makes it a healthy choice, too.

But don’t overlook fixing salmon in the oven. One of my favorite ways is to bake salmon in a Dutch oven with a little onion, garlic, dill, lemon juice, white wine and olive oil.

One way I haven’t had salmon in the oven is using the kebab method. But I just might after looking over the following recipe from the American Institute of Cancer Research. Salmon chunks are complimented by plum tomatoes, mushrooms and slices of bell pepper and yellow squash in this tasty-looking recipe.

In this recipe, the salmon is marinated in a combination of lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, Italian seasonings, sea salt and freshly ground pepper, which gives it a decidedly Mediterranean flavor.

Salmon and Vegetable Oven Kebabs
Juice of 4 lemons
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 pound wild salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
4 small plum tomatoes, cut into quarters or 8 cherry tomatoes
4 large whole mushrooms, stems removed, halved
1 medium green bell pepper, deseeded, cut into 12 pieces
1 medium yellow squash, cut into 8 pieces
Canola oil cooking spray
4 skewers
In large mixing bowl combine juice, oil, garlic, seasoning, salt and pepper. Mix well and divide in half.
Add salmon and vegetables to half of marinade and gently toss to coat pieces. Cover and marinate for about 30 minutes, occasionally rearranging pieces to ensure even coating.
Preheat oven broiler.
Spray large shallow baking dish. Remove skewers from water. Divide fish and vegetable pieces into 4 even portions. Arrange and distribute them evenly on skewers, being careful not to break the pieces.
Place on baking dish. Brush with remaining marinade not used for marinating raw fish. Broil for about 5 to 8 minutes, brushing frequently with marinade. Carefully turn over kebabs and continue cooking for an additional 4 minutes, basting frequently until fish is done. Serve.
Note: If using wooden skewers (in lieu of metal ones), soak them in water for about 30 minutes.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 259 calories, 13 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 9 grams carbohydrates,
26 grams protein, 2 grams dietary fiber, 60 milligrams sodium.

Memorial Day Kebabs

Steak and burgers are what usually come to mind first when people think about grilling. But if you really want to mix things up a bit for the Memorial Day weekend barbecue, give kebabs a try. Not only are they easy to put together, it looks like you have been preparing your meal all day.

My co-worker and friend, Brad Dokken, the Herald’s outdoor editor, passed along this recipe for venison kebabs that he was sent by the folks at The Winkelmans, in case you don’t know it, are outdoor experts who started out with fishing and have expanded into hunting.

And as you hunters know, one of the reasons people hunt and fish is because they like the taste of the game when it’s prepared right.

Venison Kebabs
1 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup ketchup
Pepper to taste
5 garlic cloves, minced
1½ to 2 pounds venison steak, cubed
10 to cherry tomatoes
10 to 15 fresh mushrooms
½ medium green pepper, cut into pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into pieces
1 large onion, cut into wedges
8 to 12 small new potatoes parboiled
In a large zip-top bag, add vinegar, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, pepper, garlic
and set aside a ¼ cup for marinade for vegetables. Set aside ½ cup for
basting. Place meat in bag and seal refrigerate for 4 or more hours. One
hour before grilling toss vegetables with ¼ cup reserved marinade. Drain and
discard marinade from meat.
Thread meat and vegetables on skewers. Grill over medium to medium high for
15 to 20 minutes or until done. Baste with remaining marinade during grilling.
Serve with a pasta salad.

Mountain Man’s Shish Kebabs

If you[re a hunter like me, you probably have a few wild game steaks lurking in your freezer. And your probably always looking for new ways to prepare them.

Well now, I don’t have to look further than a cookbook that a co-worker, Chuck Haga, gave me the other day. It’s called Cabin Cookbook, which was published by Alaska magazine. It contains more than 130 favorite North Country recipes that tell how to cook wild game, fish, fowl and native plants.

While perusing it, I discovered a recipe called Mountain Man’s Shish Kebabs. It calls for using mountain sheep, but as the introduction states, most meat game is interchangeable with what you buy at the butcher shop or grocery store.

The kebabs in the recipes are marinated overnight and cooked over a campfire or grill the next day. According the the cookbook’s authors, once you serve them, people will be asking for seconds, so have them ready.

Mountain Man’s Shish Kebabs
1 pound game meat, cut into ½-inch cubes
¼ cup wine vinegar (or low-bush cranberry juice)
½ cup salad oil
¼ teaspoon each garlic, salt, onion salt, celery salt and cracked pepper
Mix the vinegar, salad oil and spices. Marinate the meat in the mixture overnight. Be sure there is enough of the liquid to cover the meat.
When ready to barbecue the kebabs, thread them on long skewers, alternating the meat with tiny raw onions, green pepper squares and mushrooms, etc. Cook over campfire or charcoal grill until done enough to suit your tastes.






Kebabs — The Price Is Right

If you’ve been using the weather as an excuse for not pulling out the grill, the gig’s up.

I know that spring and cool temperatures lingered far too long this year, and many people, including me, were not in too big a hurry to start grilling.

But that’s changed with the proliferation of daytime temperatures in the 80s and lows in the high 50s to mid-60s. I even spiffed my grill up and threw a couple of rings of sausage on it over the weekend, which we served with some potatoes (both sweet and regular), onions and peppers. It was a fantastic way to celebrate Father’s Day.

Now, I’ve got kebabs on my mind. Kebabs, for the novice, are grilled skewers of marinated meat and veggies. They are perfect fare for any outdoor get-together. And they’re relatively inexpensive, too.

By using cheaper cuts of meat, which get nice and tender after a couple of hours sitting in a marinade, you can lower the cost of a meal considerably. If using beef, give cut-up chuck a try. And boneless sirloin pork chops can save you money over the more costly tenderloin. To really cut down on cost, go vegetarian. 

Here are three recipes that I’m considering, which you may find appealing.

Coffee and Black Pepper Beef Kebabs
1 cup chopped shallots
¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup molasses
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1½ pounds top sirloin beef, cut into 1½-inch cubes
16 medium button mushrooms, cleaned and stems trimmed
16 cherry tomatoes
2 small red onions, cut into wedges
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
In a medium bowl, stir together the shallots, vinegar, oil, molasses, coffee, pepper and mustard. Add the meat and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
In a shallow dish, cover 8 10-inch bamboo skewers; set aside to soak. Heat a gas grill to medium-high or prepare a charcoal fire.
Assemble the kebabs, alternating meat and vegetables. Brush everything with marinade. Grill for 3 minutes. Turn, brush with additional marinade, then grill for another 3 minutes for medium, or until done to your liking.
Yield: Serve 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 592 calories, 241 calories from fat, 27 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 114 milligrams  cholesterol, 35 grams carbohydrates, 50 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 215 milligrams sodium.

Beef Kebabs
1½ pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 12-ounce bottle beer
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons butter
20 small white onions, blanched
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch square pieces
Place beef, beer and garlic in a resealable food storage bag; cover. Refrigerate at least 12 hours, turning occasionally. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the marinade.
Combine barbecue sauce, reserved marinade and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a boil, stirring; cook 1 minute. Set aside.
Heat grill or grill pan. Thread meat, onions and bell peppers on skewers. Grill until desired degree of doneness, turning and brushing frequently with sauce, about 12 minutes for medium. Serve with sauce.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximae nutritional analysis per serving: 219 calories, 40 percent of calories from fat, 10 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 70 milligrams cholesterol, 11 grams carbohydrates, 21 grams protein, 407 milligrams sodium, 1.5 grams fiber.

Grilled Pork Kebabs and Vegetables with Couscous
2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon each: Dijon mustard, honey
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, more for garnish
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
Freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic peeled, finely chopped
1 small red or sweet onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1 each, thinly sliced lengthwise: yellow squash, zucchini
1 each, seeded, quartered: yellow bell pepper, red bell pepper
1 14.5-ounce can chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 12-ounce box couscous
Soak 12 wooden skewers in water 20 minutes. Combine mustard, honey, lemon juice, thyme, 2 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper to taste in a food storage bag; add pork. Seal; turn to coat. Let stand at least 30 minutes.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat; add garlic and onion. Cook until soft and slightly browned, 4 minutes. Add tomatoes; heat through. Season to taste. Set aside.
Prepare grill for medium-high heat. Thread pork onto skewers. Grill pork, squash and peppers until browned on one side, 5 minutes; turn. Grill until done, 5 minutes. Remove peppers, zucchini and squash to cutting board; dice. Add to tomato mixture. Heat over medium heat, stirring, to heat through, 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Meanwhile, combine chicken broth and butter in medium saucepan; heat to a boil. Add couscous; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover; let rest 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Put couscous on a platter; pour sauce over. Place pork skewers on top.
Yield: Serves 6.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 540 calories, 26 percent calories from fat, 15 grams fat (4.2 grams saturated), 95 milligrams cholesterol, 890 milligrams sodium, 58 grams carbohydrates, 42 grams protein, 4.7 grams fiber.