How to Make Beef Shish Kabob Marinade


You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing a marinade for beef shish kabobs.

Opt for a simple olive oil, rosemary and garlic blend; a more complicated Middle East marinade with an array of spices such as allspice, cinnamon and cumin; a Korean barbecue marinade; or a red wine marinade, among many others. Or for simplicity's sake, use bottled salad dressing or a prepackaged salad-dressing herb-and-spice mix along with oil and vinegar.

Ingredients for an Asian-Inspired Marinade

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup diced green onions
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cloves minced or finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  • Although you can skewer the beef either before or after marinating it, be sure to cut it into cubes before putting it into the marinade to expose more surface to the flavorful liquid.

Ingredients for a Wine-Based Marinade

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped or minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon each dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup


  • Use a red wine you would serve for drinking with the beef. So-called "cooking wines" don't match the complex and authentic flavor of real wine.


No matter which marinade you use, the procedures remain the same:

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl until they're well mixed.

Place the beef and the marinade in a glass baking pan, sturdy plastic bag such as a freezer bag, or a stainless-steel pan.

Stir and toss the beef until all sides are coated with the marinade.

Refrigerate the beef for at least 1 hour, overnight or up to five days. Cover it if you use a glass or stainless pan.


  • Never reuse marinade to make a sauce for the beef unless you boil it for at least 1 minute to kill any dangerous bacteria.

Tips for Cooking Shish Kabobs

  • Use separate skewers for the beef and any vegetables. This allows you to control cooking times more precisely, placing the meat on the grill a few minutes after you place longer-cooking potatoes and a few minutes before placing shorter-cooking zucchini.
  • Cook the beef until it reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read meat thermometer to help kill any harmful bacteria.
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