08/30/2012 10:49 am ET Updated Oct 30, 2012

Grill Shish Kebab Labor Day Weekend or Anytime


I love skewering food.  (I have also been known to enjoy impaling ridiculous people with a sharp barb or two, but that’s not nice and I shouldn’t brag about it, as my mother will be sure to tell me if she reads this post.)   Anyway, food-on-a-stick is great fun to eat.  Chicken grilled on a skewer, also known as chicken shish kebab, is easy to make and delicious -- a lovely summer dinner with couscous and green salad. It's a wonderful meal for Labor Day or anytime.


You can easily double -- or triple -- this shish kebab recipe for parties.

Years ago a cousin gave me a Moroccan Jewish cookbook with a recipe for barbequed chicken.  Maybe recipe is too strong a term for the directions, which include “1 bunch” each of parsley and coriander.  I adapted the list of ingredients to work for chicken shish kebab and have used it ever since as my favorite summer chicken dish. For grilling, we use an old Weber kettle with charcoal -- nothing fancy.  Even a tiny hibachi grill would do.   


I love this cookbook, even though it gives me only hints on how to prepare most of the dishes described.

Chicken Shish Kebab – 2 servings – Total cost $8.54 for 2 / less than $4.30 per serving


  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 large or 2 small lemons
  • approximately ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, chopped (when looking for cilantro, check the label or smell it -- it looks a lot like Italian or flat-leaf parsley.)
  • ⅓ cup chopped onion (I prefer sweet onion – sometimes called Vidalia or Walla Walla), plus another ⅓ - ½ onion cut into half moons or small pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper



Bamboo skewers cost me only $1.79 for 100. (Note that you'll need plastic wrap -- a liquid measuring cup is optional if you can eyeball amounts of lemon juice & olive oil.)

  • 2 cutting boards -- or use 1 cutting board, first for onion, then for chicken (see safe handling rules for chicken)
  • 2 knives -- or 1 first for onion, then chicken 
  • Measuring spoons
  • 1/3 cup measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • 3-4 skewers (I use 12” disposable bamboo ones. Re-usable metal ones are fine too.)
  • non-reactive dish or pan at least 12 inches in length (to accommodate skewers)


For step-by-step directions (including pictures), click here.