Cookbook Review: Kebabs by Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

04/18/2017 11:56 am ET Updated Apr 19, 2017

I know. The picture says “uncorrected proof” but the proof was just fine. No errors and lots of recipes.

Oh, you say, there is an error. The title is “kebabs” but it should be “kabobs.” Only in America. Everywhere else it is kebab and kebab it will be here.

If you are like me, you do kebabs only once or twice a year on the grill. Usually for a party. And you tend to grab the same things each year. Maybe, it turns out, the wrong things, like those cherry tomatoes that dissolve.

Authors Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh are, in real life, husband and wife. Derrick is food writer and Sabrina is a food stylist, a perfect marriage. Here they have assembled 75 recipes from the US Barbeque Belt and from around the world. It turns out that just about every culture has discovered the magic of fire+food+stick.

There are five chapters plus an introduction. The chapters offer you recipes by type of food:

  • Beef
  • Pork and Lamb
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Vegetable and Fruit

Now, I will admit that ordinarily I tend to skip over the introduction but in this book it is an important and informative section. My kebabs, perhaps like yours, were often victim to over-cooked veggies and tough, dried out meats. Those tomatoes would always dissolve on me. So, the introduction here tells you want to do, what not to do, and how to achieve excellent combinations that are tender, flavorful and successes you will return to.

The introduction offers secrets for the perfect kebab: what to select, what size to cut the meat to, what skewers to use, how to thread the kebab on that skewer, how to use ground meats, and how to successful pair veggies and meat. These are simple yet important guidelines to great kebabs. It turns out that a great kabab does reflect a little cooking science to get it all “just right.”

What are some of the recipes that await you? Here’s a baker’s dozen of the most inventive ideas from those five chapters:

Balsamic and Brown Sugar Steak and Onion [I assume you are now convinced to buy this book] Citrus Horseradish Beef Fig and Pork Tenderloin Cumin and Blood Orange Pork Sweet and Sour Pork Jalapeno, Mint and Red Onion Lamb Raspberry and Sriracha Glazed Chicken Wings Cranberry and Hoisin Turkey Bacon-Wrapped Chicken with Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce Citrus and Cilantro Shrimp Tequila Lime Mahi Mahi Mexican Corn Lemon Garlic Mushrooms Nectarines with Basil Sauce

These are lovely ideas for your grill and your tummy. It’s a contemporary book so you can see the sriracha and cilantro in play, plus there is adobo and harissa on these pages. We often grill because, heating up time aside, it’s a fast way to prepare food and lots of it, a benefit if you are feeding a crowd. Following these recipes, you get the added complement of boosted flavor, a truly new level of sophistication that will probably send you back to the grill for Round 2.

In fact, for a great summer party, you can could prepare a few of these recipes — your own baker’s dozen? — and present a kebab feast that will appear on Instagram forever.

Kebabs just came on sale April 1, just in time for the grilling season. This summer, go with sophistication. Go kebab with this lovely guide.

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