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What to Brush on Steak and Shrimp Kabobs When Grilling

author image Maria Christensen
Since 1997, Maria Christensen has written about business, history, food, culture and travel for diverse publications, including the "Savannah Morning News" and "Art Voices Magazine." She authored a guidebook to Seattle and works as the business team lead for a software company. Christensen studied communications at the University of Washington and history at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
What to Brush on Steak and Shrimp Kabobs When Grilling
A wide variety of flavors complement surf and turf kabobs made with steak and shrimp. Photo Credit Jag_cz/iStock/Getty Images

Grilled steak and shrimp kabobs cooked outdoors are an easy and healthy way to enjoy a surf and turf meal in the summer without overheating the house. Both steak and shrimp take well to a variety of simple marinades such as oil and herbs, as well as more exotic offerings such as Asian-inspired spicy, seasoned yogurts.

Oil Selection

When you want the full flavor of the meat to shine through, begin by seasoning the meat with a high-quality oil. Sprinkle the kabobs with salt and pepper, then brush liberally with extra-virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil. Grapeseed oil is suitable for cooking at higher temperatures and has a significantly lighter taste than olive oil. Flavored oils, such as oil infused with chilies or herbs lend a spicy, piquant flavor to your surf and turf.

All-Purpose Marinades

The easiest way to prepare steak and shrimp kabobs is to use one marinade for the entire skewer. You can marinate the meat for the kabobs before threading on skewers, but don’t reuse the marinade as per Foodsafety.gov. If you make your own marinade, set some aside for basting the kabobs while cooking. For a quick turnaround from grill to table, baste the kabobs with prepared barbecue or teriyaki sauce while cooking. For lighter fare, brush with low-sodium soy sauce or sherry mixed with orange and lime juice.

Shrimp Marinade

To complement and contrast the flavors of the meat and fish, brush a different marinade on the shrimp than you use for the steak. A simple basting of fresh herbs, lemon juice, cracked pepper and olive oil complements shrimp; dill, basil, oregano and fennel pair equally well with its delicate flavor. If you’re in a hurry, bottled Italian vinaigrette combines a variety of oil, herbs and spices for a fast, ready-to-go basting liquid. Asian flavors provide a flavorful glaze for grilled shrimp -- experiment with combinations of soy sauce, fish sauce, cocnut milk, lemongrass, garlic, and ginger.

Beef Marinade

Accompany shrimp basted with Asian flavors with steak brushed with a Korean barbecue sauce for an savory contrast. Curry sauces enhance beef, and can be purchased premade. Mix turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, garlic and pepper with plain yogurt for basting for a simple, Asian-inspired dish. For a fast, rich baste that enhances the flavor of beef, try lightly brushing the steak with balsamic vinegar, cracked pepper and sea salt.

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