For the Meat on a Stick competition, I wanted something easy to make that would be memorable. I searched for a flavor profile with a nice, explosive kick. Like always, I wanted to stay MIME (Maximum Impact, Minimum Effort) with simple ingredients and techniques to make kababs like these.
73/27 ground beef from Restaurant Depot
Spiceology Honey Habanero rub
Spiceology Garlic Chipotle rub
The Garlic Farm Garlic Sea Salt with Chilli grinder
The process is simple, but there are a few steps to discuss: Skewer, season, grill, finish and serve.
A big challenge of ground beef kababs is keeping the meat from falling off the skewer. There are many established tips such as adding binders like bread crumbs, eggs or diced onions. I utilized two simple facts to keep the kababs skewered – temperature and size.
Keep the ground meat refrigerated until you are ready to shape and skewer your kababs and work with a small quantity. At the competition, I kept my meat in a cooler full of ice and only pulled out enough to make a few skewers at a time.
Each kabab was small, about 2 ounces and less than 3 inches long. On miniature bamboo skewers, they were light enough to stay on without problems. Bigger and heavier kababs are more likely to fall apart and fall off.
I did not pre-season or marinate the meat. Once skewered, I covered heavily and liberally with a 50/50 mix of Spiceology’s Honey Habanero Rub and Chipotle Garlic Rub.
If you are using multiple pre-made rubs, mix them in a bowl ahead of time. Layering two rubs independently on the meat doesn’t seem to have the same effect or flavor.
I think for smaller kababs seasoning externally works just as well as mixing in ingredients and spices into the meat, with significantly less effort. Pick your favorite rubs for this step; it’s easy to experiment. This is a crucial step in your flavor bomb.
Grill over direct flames on the Green Egg. I did close the lid initially, once kababs were placed. This allowed the kababs to cook, set, and, importantly, helped them adhere to the skewers. It takes about 6-7 minutes per side. Near the end, open the dome and let the flames flare up to get a little extra char on the surface. A can of olive oil spray can help with this too, but try not to make a real bomb here!
Instead of salting early, I opted for a finishing salt. A finishing salt is applied after cooking, just before serving. It allows one layer of flavor to stand out initially, while the seasonings build up as you chew. This changing flavor profile is what gives you the taste explosion of the Kababombs.
I used the Garlic Sea Salt with Chilli by The Garlic Farm, which was ground onto the kabab just before serving. This is a hard find in the US, but the ingredient list is simple if you want to improvise. I often use Falk Salt crystal flakes for finishing as well.
It’s worth mentioning: serve hot! Remember, fat renders at about 120-130 degrees, and that’s when it will be the juiciest. People asked how I “glazed” the kababs, but it was really the rendered fat. If you wait and the kabab cools down too much, the fat will start to solidify again. This will change the texture and taste, especially with a high fat content. Small sized servings are easy to eat whole and hot, so the juices burst with each bite. Now you, too, can create and enjoy the full experience of the Kababomb!