Spicy pork kebabs can be fast enough for a weeknight
There are few meals more primally satisfying than charred meat on a stick. Whether turned on a spit or threaded onto a skewer, the meat browns at the edges and sucks up the smoke, emerging, at its best, crisp, tender and very juicy, to be seasoned with salt and eaten with great relish.
Any kind of meat works, but one of the best and most versatile is brawny pork shoulder (also called pork butt for reasons having to do with archaic language, not anatomy).
It’s marbled with white veins of collagen and fat, and, if you cook it low and slow for many hours, it will turn spoonably soft, collapsing into a pile when you touch it. (Think pulled pork, drenched in sticky, spicy sauce and scooped onto a fluffy roll.)
If you cook it fast and hot, just until the outside singes but the inside stays just a little pink, you’ll get firmer meat that’s just as succulent, if slightly chewier. And this is how it goes with these pork kebabs, seasoned with cumin, fennel, coriander and plenty of garlic and chile.
These kebabs are easy to make and fast enough for a weeknight. You can marinate the pork for as little as 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Best yet, everything for the marinade is thrown in the blender, meaning you don’t have to chop. Nor do the spices need toasting or grinding. The grill takes care of the toasting, and the blender bruises them enough to release their flavor without eliminating their crunchy texture.
If pork isn’t on your menu, the marinade works with any chunks of
meat (chicken thighs, beef, lamb). You can even try it on dense fish like swordfish or salmon. Just watch carefully so nothing dries out. High, direct heat is your friend.
And if you’re grill-less, you can broil the meat, in which case you don’t even need to thread the pieces on skewers. Lay the meat out on a rimmed baking sheet, and flip it halfway through cooking.
Be sure to garnish with slices of onion and herbs. Their bright freshness is a fine way to highlight the smoky depths of the char.
Whole spices, green chile and garlic infuse the pork for these spicy kebabs, but the marinade can also work on just about anything.