Shish Kabobs on Charcoal Grill

shish kabobs on charcoal grill on direct heat - 500x620

Gourmet Seasoned Shish Kabobs on Charcoal Grill

Jeff Baygents
This fantastic seasoned shish kabob recipe will answer your most detailed questions about how to cook them on the grill or in the oven.
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Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins
Servings 5 skewers
Calories 416kcal


skewers for kabobs 12-16 inches long


Main Ingredients

  • lbs. boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts Usually 2 breasts. Alternate options: beef or pork
  • 2 medium sweet onions
  • 1 medium Squash green or yellow
  • ½ lbs. mushrooms whole
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper

Optional Marinade Ingredients

  • Optional Marinade: 1/4 cup oil peanut or olive oil are best
  • Optional Marinade: 3 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • Optional Marinade: 1 Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • Optional Marinade: 1 Tbsp. Onion Powder

Spices (mixed into a small cup)

Wet Ingredients


Preparing the Meat

  • Cutup the meat in large chunks as illustrated. As an example in cutting sizes, for chicken, you might get about 6-8 pieces per breast.
    Cutting chicken into chunks
  • THIS STEP ONLY IF MARINATING: Add the cutup meat chunks to a bowl for marinating. Then, add in the earlier listed "Optional Marinade Ingredients". Cover the bowl and place it in the fridge for about ½ to 1 hour. Then, discard the marinade.
  • Either start the charcoal grill or the preheating of the oven.
  • Place the cutup meat into a very large mixing bowl.

Preparing the Vegetables and Skewers

  • Cut the bell pepper in 8 pieces, discarding the seeds and interior contents.
    Cutup Bell Pepper, 8 pieces.
  • Regarding squash, you can optionally cut off some of the exterior skin. Cut the squash in slices about ½ to ⅔ of an inch thick and add them into the bowl.
    Cutting squash
  • After removing the ends, cut the tomatoes into 4 pieces and add them into the bowl.
    cutting tomato into 4 pieces
  • After peeling the onions, cut them into 4 pieces each and add them into the bowl.
    Cutting up the onion
  • Rinse off the mushrooms rather well and place them into the bowl.
  • Now, pour in the "Wet Ingredients" (oil & Worcestershire Sauce). Toss/mix everything to become coated.
    adding oil to food items
  • Make the spices mixture in a small container or bowl.
    all spice items available
  • Pour the spices mixture into the bowl of meat and vegetables and toss/mix everything to become reasonably coated with the spices.
    adding spices to food items
  • Prepare each skewer with meat and vegetables. Alternate 2 different vegetables and 1 meat chunk, and then repeat. After you've added about half the skewer, you'll want to pull them together. Leave at least 1-inch on the skewer end.
    adding food items to skewer
  • As you prepare each skewer, place them onto a large (ungreased) baking sheet. This will be later inserted into the oven or carried outside to the grill.
    skewers ready for cooking
  • If you have any excess vegetables or meat, you can finalize them as a partial skewer.
  • Now, perform only 1 of the following cooking options.

Cooking Option 1: On The GRILL

  • Be conscious of the skewers heat and how it retains heat. Use an oven mitt or other heat protection every time you need to turn, grab, or hold a skewer.
  • Initially, the skewers are placed on the hot grill on indirect heat.
    skewers on a grill with indirect heat
  • Next, close your grill top for about 6 minutes. For kettle grills, the top and bottom vents should remain open.
    Grill top is on/closed
  • Turn the skewers and, this time, place them on direct heat for approximately 4 minutes with the cover closed/on. Watch for managing any flare-ups for any needed adjustments.
    using grill's direct heat (charcoal trays are on outer sides).
  • Now open/remove the grill cover. Turn the skewers about every 3 minutes until the meat is done. This may take a remaining total of about 12-15 minutes. Remove skewers when done.

Cooking Option 2: Broiling In The OVEN

  • Preheat the oven broiler (make the temp around 425° to 450° Fahrenheit) and have a shelf in the middle.
  • Be conscious of the skewers heat and how it retains heat. Use oven mitts or other heat protection every time you need to turn, grab, or hold a skewer.
  • About every 3-5 minutes, turn the skewers so a different side is facing the top heat. This may be repeated about 4-6 times, until each "side" is browned or slightly browned a bit. It might take about 25-30 minutes total.

After Cooking – SERVE the Shish Kabobs

  • Serve the Shish Kabobs. To eat, use a large serving fork and push off about 1/4 of the food items from the skewer end. Then, repeat the process until the skewer is emptied.
    post grilled in a serving bowl 2 - small


Regarding the optional marinade, I have not experienced a notable change in marinating the meat when it’s chicken.  But, with beef or pork, there was a good change with those items when marinated.  All three types of meat are very good without any marinating.  I’ve been asked if you cut back on the spices or oil if you do marinate the meat and that answer is “No”.
Regarding some vegetables becoming too mushy on the skewers, tomatoes are the biggest culprit.  If you compress the items together on the skewer, at least the softer vegetables, like tomatoes, won’t fall off during the cooking process.  I have experimented cooking them separately and it avoids them getting too soft.  However, the loss of the melded flavor of those vegetables, alongside other items on the skewer was too great, in my opinion.  So, I continue to skewer all vegetables knowing this.
When you add a mushroom, you’ll want to skewer it down the center (through the mushroom stem). When you add an onion, some of the layers might start to fall apart, especially at the start of the piercing. You can just do your best to pierce them through the layer centers. There might be some unusable pieces.
For rectangular grills, both vents on one side should be open, e.g., top cover left and main charcoal cavity left side. If you’re losing some noticeable heat (or air for charcoal burning), open up both sides. And, of course, if you’re very familiar with how your grill handles ventilation and you have your own preferences, it’s more important you go for it.


Calories: 416kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1202mg | Potassium: 1648mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 17195IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 141mg | Iron: 3mg


Overview of the Ultimate Shish Kabobs on Charcoal Grill

This particular recipe has been perfected over a 15 year period. It’s very flexible in that it can use any of 3 meat types: chicken, pork, or beef. This focuses on shish kabobs on charcoal grills. However, it also has guidance on those rainy or cold days for an indoor oven. And, it also has an option for a marinade. I rarely do the marinade for time’s sake but it’s definitely adds to this already superior flavor.

Frequent questions are answered and shish kabob grilling tips are given via the preparation and cooking instructions such as:

  • Do you grill them on direct heat or indirect heat?
  • Do you cover the grill or leave the top open?
  • How long do you need to cook shish kabobs?
  • How big do I cut the meat and vegetables?
  • How do I serve a skewered meal?
  • Can squash be included?
  • Can it be cooked in an oven?
all items ready to begin prepping - 300x200
all items ready to begin prepping
adding spices to food items - 300x300
adding spices to cutup food items
adding food items to skewer - 200x350
adding food items to skewer
shish kabobs on charcoal grill on direct heat - 200x275
shish kabobs on charcoal grill
post grilled in a serving bowl 2 - 275x275
post grilled in a serving bowl

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