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hosting a casual outdoor engagement party

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  • rubys Jul 12, 2011 10:12 AM
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i'd love some advice for planning this party. my friends who are getting married, for whom i am throwing this party for 30, requested mediterranean. so, lamb and chicken shish kebabs, green salad, tabouli, hummus, etc.

my question is: can i grill the shish kebabs ahead of time and serve them room temp, or should i grill them during the party? will they dry out if i do it ahead? i won't have the time to grill during the party, i have friends helping but...not sure if i can count on anyone to do the grilling. thoughts?

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  1. Sounds like fun. I'm not sure about the lamb, but I have in the past grilled strips of chicken on skewers until they were just barely done, and then transported them to a camp-out. (refrigerated, of course). Threw them on the grill (campfire grate) for just a few minutes before serving to warm them up and get a touch of outdoor flavor on them. Maybe your friends could do that? Might want to brine the chicken first to guard against dryness.

    The reason I originally did this was after a previous camp-out incident where the fire didn't want to cooperate and the chicken did not want to cook. Bleh under-cooked chicken. Never again.

    1. You could pargrill the kebabs and finish them off in the oven, which would free you up to entertain when everyone arrives and handle the potential issue of not being able to find someone to grill for you.

      I would also toss all the components in a little oil before skewering. Helps preserve their appearance a bit.

      5 Replies
      1. re: inaplasticcup

        ^ Love this!^ What do you like to marinade with? I love using lots of citrus and a bit of oregano.

        1. re: lilgi

          I like your idea for a Mediterranean theme. :)

          I'd probably do a little salt and pepper, garlic, lemon juice (but not too much on the red meat because I find too much acid cooks it and makes it look a little ashy), paprika, a pinch of sugar, oil and chopped fresh mint for the lamb and parsley/oregano for the chicken.

          What kind of veg do you put on your kebabs?

          1. re: inaplasticcup

            With cippolini onions and bell peppers because always I have those on hand, but I'll add cherry tomatoes too even though they get mushy. Shrooms too if I have them, just your basic stuff.

            I hear ya on the red meat, but the citrus works really well with pork as well as chicken, maybe the exception to the rule. When it comes to those two meats we really overdo it with the marinade and seasonings, love it this way.

            1. re: lilgi

              Hard to find cippolini around here, but what a great idea for kebabs.

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                A shame they're not that available by you; they're a breed apart from onions; just delicious, especially in recipes that require slow cooking/roasting. You should speak to the store managers by you, and if they don't acquiesce, beat em up!

      2. Why not brown the kebabs on the grill and promptly wrap them in heavy duty foil and heat in oven until serving time.

        1. You could precook little appetizer-sized kebabs and put out a hibachi, let the guests toast their own for a minute or two on the grill. People enjoy participating when it's quick and easy.

          For the chicken, dark meat is moister and more forgiving than white. Less likely to dry out.

          Remember to make some of the kebabs meatless for the vegetarians.

          1. lamb and chicken are both fine at room temp.. IT IS NOT GOOD FOOD SAFETY to par-cook chicken. sorry. simply don't do it. cook them off before the party and keep them wrapped in foil. take care not to overcook, and they will continue to cook a bit more when taken off the heat. if you want to pop them in a hot oven for a few minutes when guests arrive, that's up to you.

            1. ok thanks for all your help. how many shish kebabs per person? how much meat should i get? 30 - 35 people. thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: rubys

                That ultimately depends on how much other food you're serving, but half a pound per person is a good rule of thumb, imo. :) Good luck!