How to Cook Chicken Kebab Skewers
With many of us now cooking for smaller more intimate gatherings, there’s never been a better time to fire up and cook some small kebab skewers for a quick and easy meal. Rather than waiting for hours for your spit roast to cook, kebab skewers will be ready in just 15 minutes, making it the perfect mid-week meal, or that cheeky “working from home” lunchtime cook.
Step 1: Get the spit ready:
I like to use natural mallee root charcoal when cooking a spit. It’s easy to light, doesn’t have any chemicals or accelerants and gives your food a beautiful flavour.
Unlike when you cook a roast on a spit where we typically recommend 1kg of charcoal for every 1kg of meat, with kebab skewers, you’ll need enough charcoal to cover the area of the spit where you’re placing the charcoal. You’ll only be cooking for 15 minutes maximum so a single layer of charcoal about 5-7 cm thick is all you need.
The first thing I do is to spread the charcoal out on the base of the spit so I know I have enough to cover the number of skewers I’m cooking. I then bunch it back up into a mound and light it using the Flaming Coals Charcoal Starter wand.
If you light the charcoal from multiple angles, your coals will be hot and ready to go in 5 minutes.
Step 2 (or pre-do before lighting your charcoal): Dice, season and skewer the chicken
Personally I prefer deboned skinless chicken thigh to chicken breast. I find chicken thigh has a nicer texture and therefore tastes better to me. If you prefer chicken breast, it’s the exact same process. Slice the chicken into small slithers no larger than 3cm (a little smaller is preferred) and no more than 1cm thick. This will mean that you will need to slice either your chicken breasts in half to make them thinner or if you’re using thighs, slice just the thick part in half.
Once the chicken is sliced and diced, put it in a large bowl, drizzle some olive oil over the top and mix through. Then sprinkle a generous amount of your favourite gyros rub. We love the Flaming Coals Greek Gyros rub! Mix it through and keep adding more rub until all surface areas of the chicken are coated.
Finally, thread the chicken onto the kebab skewers, but be warned! The skewers have a sharp pointed end and will poke a hole in your hand if you’re not careful. I may have done this on more than one occasion (sad face). While it is important to pack the chicken onto the skewer tightly so it rotates evenly on the spit, leave at least 7cm from each end of the skewer without any chicken. This is to ensure an even cook because you’ll never get the heat from the charcoal all the way to the ends.
Step 3: Cooking the skewers
At this point, your charcoal is hot and your skewers are prepped so the only thing left to do is put the skewers onto the spit and turn your motor on.
To maintain moisture (and add flavour), I like to baste the skewers at least twice during this short cook. My go-to basting mixture is olive oil, lemon juice (50/50 ratio) and a pinch of salt. While basting, make sure you have either a small coal rake or long-handled tongs just in case you get a flare-up from the oil dripping on the charcoal. Personally, I like a little flare-up to char the outside of the chicken a little, but leaving the spit unattended is definitely not recommended just in case it doesn’t die down by itself and you need to manually disperse the coals.
It’s fairly simple to cook small chicken skewers and know when they’re ready, however, because I never like to leave anything to chance (either over or undercooking chicken) I always use a quick read thermometer to pierce the chicken and take its internal temperature. The “safe” temperature for chicken is 75C.
Step 4: Heating your pita bread
Once I’ve removed the chicken skewers from the spit, I like to put the grill on the spit and heat the pita bread for a minute. It’ll burn really quickly so do not take your eyes off them.
Step 5: Creating your masterpiece
A traditional souvlaki has lettuce, tomato, onion and tzatziki (and fried chips if you’re in Greece!). I’m not a huge fan of onion so I chopped up lettuce, cherry tomatoes, Lebanese cucumbers and red capsicum. You can add whatever salads, or lack thereof, as you like. Just don’t overfill the pita bread otherwise you’ll never be able to roll it up and you’ll make quite a mess. Have a roll of paper towel handy is my suggestion
by: Rhiannon Peterson