Shish kabob FAIL!

There’s a reason why my blog isn’t called “The Weekend Chef”. It’s because cooking isn’t exactly my forte. I can put together a few things, and more and more often my “experiments” are turning out to be edible, but I still have a lot (OK, most) to learn. I attempted to make shish kabobs for the first time ever, and it was less than successful. But let’s back up a bit first.

We decided to take a family trip to my mother-in-law’s cabin to see how the winter had treated it, do a little cleaning and just get some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. I had also hoped to do a little fishing with the telescoping pole I got last fall.

Upon arriving at the lake, it was soon clear this would be a no-go. There was still too much ice.

I was very happy to see some new plant growth in the yard.

There’s already plenty of clover, which is one of my favorite wild edibles. Naturally, I ate some. (Disclaimer: Eating wild edibles is done at your own risk).

Now on to the shish kabob fiasco. I picked out a few green birch sticks and stripped off the bark. It’s a good idea to use green sticks so that they don’t burn.

Here’s one of the fireplaces/”grilling stations” at the cabin.

I put down a platform of dry wood.

I then built a fire with feather sticks and progressively larger pieces of split birch. I built it big at first to create good coals.

Then I outfitted the sticks with what was intended to be lunch: beef cubes with coarse sea salt (Brazilian style), seasoned potatoes (salt, pepper, garlic and basil) and tomatoes.

I placed the kabobs over the fire and kept a close eye on them, rotating them periodically.

When the food looked done, I took the kabobs off and laid them out on the table.

The verdict?

  • Beef: Waaay too salty, but otherwise OK. I was supposed to sprinkle the coarse sea salt onto the beef 30 minutes prior to cooking, but instead I applied the salt to the meat and then packed it into a plastic bag which could be transported to the cabin. Most of the salt ended up dissolving in the beef juices while in the bag, so the meat got way too salty. This was a stupid mistake. I should have just brought the salt with me and sprinkled it on before cooking. Lesson learned.
  • Potatoes: Underdone. Well, one piece was full cooked. ๐Ÿ™‚ The seasoning was good, but what good is that if the food is not cooked thoroughly? Next time, I will be sure to cook the potatoes longer. I really should have known better with this one, because I cook potatoes in the kitchen, and they come out just fine.
  • Tomatoes: Came out OK, except they were too salty because of the excess salt from the beef.

It’s a good thing we also brought sandwiches with us. ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the future, I will put each ingredient on a separate stick. I will start with the potato stick first, then after a while put the meat stick over the fire and then later the tomato stick. I’m pretty sure it will come out OK next time, because I know exactly what I have to do to fix what I did wrong. Anyway, I’ll be trying this again soon, probably at my campsite, so stay tuned!

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10 comments on “Shish kabob FAIL!

  1. Ron says:

    Well, outdoorcooking is a skill on its own and one I myself am still working on and experimenting with.
    I suggest you skip the salt all together. Cooking over a woodfire adds plenty of flavour by itself, giving the food that typical salty, smokey taste. Potatoes are best prepared separately, because they take longer.
    If you combine beef, pork, paprikas and onions on one skewer, that should be very tasty and you can hardly go wrong. Maybe throw in a wild, seasonal salad and some potatoes (wrapped in tin foil and rolled in between the coals).

    And there are some very good and handy outdoorcookbooks out there. Why try to re-invent the wheel, when you can learn the basics from others?

    10 points for trying, 10 points for learning the lesson and 10 points for bringing backup food!!

    • Thanks for the comments, Ron. Coarse sea salt used on meat in the South American style is very different from using finely ground salt the way we usually do. It’s really, really good, and is usually not overpowering at all. I think I will still try the coarse salt next time, but the time after that I won’t use any salt at all to see how it comes out. Of course I knew that the potatoes would take a long time to cook, but I had read an online recipe that said you could just put raw potatoes on and it would work. Should have trusted my experience/gut feeling.

      Anyway, it’ll come out much better next time! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Life is all about learning, so that’s not failure!

  3. OZme says:

    Seems you anyway had fun and I think that all counts.
    One tip for skewing potato with other things. Boil it half way befor hand, or use leftover cooked potato.

    When I do this type of cooking, I like to mix juniper or pine needles in fire to fuse smoked flavour. Well it actually became “smoke grilled” and works on any kind of meat.

    • Yep, we sure did have fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I thought about boiling or parboiling the potatoes first, but the recipe I found online didn’t mention that. I should have been smarter here, because I have experience cooking potatoes in the kitchen, and they come out just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for the juniper/pine needle tip!

  4. Matt Skeen says:

    As your survivalist skills far surpass me, I will take the opportunity to offer culinary advice. I say: ditch the potatoes. Or wrap em in foil. Replace with mushrooms and onions, maybe green peppers. My brother and I got some Turkish cooking swords for kebabing, but I like the sticks. Looks like fun.

    • Hey bud! Great to see you’re reading and commenting!

      I will definitely try different ingredients in the future, as you recommend. First, however, I simply must get the steak, potatoes and tomatoes right. Otherwise, I’d feel like I’m giving up. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Again, very glad to see you here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Sticks65 says:

    yum looks like fun ๐Ÿ™‚

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