A Shish Kabob Party Fit for a Caveman

Wednesday September 5, 2012

We like to make shish kabobs at our house, but my kids will frequently complain about one or more of the items included on the skewer.

When I saw an idea online for a Build Your Own Shish Kabob Party, I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the end of summer.  The kids could make their own creations and hopefully put some healthy stuff on a stick.


Prior to the party, I made the three marinades (recipes below) — one for chicken, beef, and shrimp, and cut up my veggies.   I also included some pork sausage and cut up hotdog.

Everyone had fun building their own bob(s).


We put out baby wipes to clean-up the sticky fingers then sent folks inside to wash up with soap and water.   I made a point to explain to everyone (especially the kids) that you had to treat all the food as if it contained raw meat (due to cross-contamination) and not to lick or put fingers in the mouth.


It took a while to cook all the kabobs (we had 20 people eating), so we had to eat in shifts, but I don’t think anyone minded very much.


The cooked kabobs were delicious and everyone enjoyed his or her own creation.


After everyone had a chance to make their own kabob, we had a ton of meat and veggies left over so we skewered the rest, as well as cooked some in tinfoil boats and cooked it up so that there was more available for anyone wanting seconds or thirds.

How to Host a BYO Shish Kabob Party

Slightly adapted from this Food Network recipe.  Only a few changes needed to keep it Paleo.

Note: to serve our party of twenty, I doubled all the amounts from what is listed below, using two pounds of each type of meat.

The Protein


Dijon Balsamic Steak


  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, stemmed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

Note: I omitted the rosemary as my hubby doesn’t care for it.

Place meat in a ziplock bag.

Combine all the marinade ingredients — whisk by hand or  use an immersion blender (what I did), and then pour over the meat.

Seal the bag and allow to marinade 2-4 hours.


Citrus Tarragon Chicken


  • 1 orange, zested, then juiced, or 1/4 c. orange juice
  • 1 lemon, zested, then juiced
  • 1 lime, zested, then juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, or 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

Note:  I subbed 1/4 cup Orange Peach Mango Juice (what I had) instead of the orange and I didn’t zest anything.  I also used dried tarragon after misplacing the fresh tarragon I had bought.

The original recipe called for canola oil — extra light olive oil is a Paleo-friendly substitution.

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken in a ziplock bag.

Marinate chicken for 2-4 hours.



 Lemon Garlic Shrimp


  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bay leaf (fresh or dried)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes or 1 tsp chili powder or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pound (16 to 20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined

Notes:  onion could be substituted for the shallot.

I skimped on the chili powder and I think that was a mistake — I worried it would be too spicy for the kids but by only using half what the recipe called for, it lacked some of the flavor.

Combine marinade ingredients and pour over shrimp in a ziplock bag.

Marinate for ~2 hours.

Additional Meats

In addition to steak, chicken, and shrimp, I also included 1 lb of pork sausage and 1/2 lb of hot dog.

I pre-cooked the sausage by boiling it for 5 minutes, then turning off the heat, covering the pot and letting it rest in the hot water for another 10 minutes.

Veggies + Fruit


We used:

  • Zucchini
  • Onion
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Baby Red Potatoes*, boiled until cooked
  • Pineapple

Everything should be cut into bite-sized skewerable chunks (except the tomatoes).

*Note:  while potatoes are not considered Paleo, I included them for my non-cavefolk friends.   If you do potatoes, be sure to wash and boil them for 10-15 minutes so they will be pre-cooked. 

When doing the prep work, I started with the steak, so it would marinade the longest, then the chicken, then the shrimp.   I cut up my veggies just before serving.


If you are using wooden skewers, you need to let them soak for an hour or so before cooking.   Otherwise they will burn!  Set them in a baking dish filled with water to soak while you do your other prep work.


Pre-heat grill and set to medium heat.  Cook kabobs directly over heat source for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning 1/4 rotation every 2 to 3 minutes, or until the meat and/or fish is cooked throughout.

Everything was delicious and as one friend commented, “If this is Paleo, who wouldn’t want to eat like this?”

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11 Responses to A Shish Kabob Party Fit for a Caveman

  1. 1
    brenda says:

    Thanks, that was a wonderful way of explaining every thing. Brenda

  2. 2
    Kim says:

    We had kabobs on Friday night and made the Citrus Tarragon Chicken – all thought it was yummy!

    I’m curious – how did you keep straight whose kabob was whose once they got on the grill?

    • 2.1
      Kendra says:

      The Citrus Tarragon was definitely the big winner for us as well.

      As to whose kabob was whose.. that wasn’t my dept. I just took whatever was leftover and looked good 🙂

  3. 3
    Russ says:

    We did both the chicken and the steak. We LOVED the steak. Medium rare was definitely better than medium to medium well and the marinade taste really popped at medium rare.


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  6. 6

    […] lunch (or dinner?) we’ll be Building our own shish kabobs! This blog site has some delicious Paleo-friendly recipes for […]

  7. 7

    I love this idea! We used this idea for my daughters birthday, and they turned out great.
    Thank you so much for sharing

  8. 8

    […] well considering it was our first time doing any type of kebabs on our barbecue. I found the idea here. I only did chicken and hot dogs since it was a small group, and mostly […]

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    […] is meat, veggies and some skewers. Here are some ideas for those who want to get a little fancier. Kabob Party; Lime and Basil Beef […]

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    […] and that would be compliant for me as well. A bit of Pinteresting later and I had decided on build your own kabobs. This is perfect for our Sounders group, as we have big carnivores (me) and those who much prefer […]

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