Bourbon Ginger Beef Kebabs

A ginger-loaded, sweet and savory marinade caramelizes beautifully around the tender beef on these flavorful kebabs. Mildly-spicy poblanos, sweet red onions and earthy baby Bella mushrooms are welcome additions, making these kebabs a festive entrée.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 4
Image of Bourbon Ginger Beef Kebabs


For the Bourbon Ginger Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 5 tablespoons finely-grated fresh ginger (using a micro plane or a ginger grater)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Kebabs:

  • 2 pounds beef tri-tip
  • 3 poblano peppers
  • 1 1/2 large red onions
  • 12 large baby Bella mushrooms
  • 8 10-inch-long bamboo skewers, soaked in water

To make the marinade, combine the sugar, sesame oil and soy sauce in a saucepan. Heat on a cooktop over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the bourbon, ginger and salt. Allow to cool and reserve.

Cut the tri-tip into 16 equal pieces, ideally in the form of 1 1/2-inch cubes. Place the beef in a gallon-size zip-top freezer bag and add the marinade. Remove the air, seal, and refrigerate for 4 hours.

As grilling time approaches, fire up the grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

Prepare the vegetables. The goal is for the cut vegetables to be no larger than the pieces of beef, so that the beef on the kebabs is in solid contact with the grill grates when cooking.

First, cut off the two ends of each onion. Quarter the onions through the ends. Discard the outer layer(s). Separate the remainder into pairs of layers with the layer pairs still tight together. (You will not be able to use the very center layers of the onions.) Cut these pairs of layers into squares just a little larger than 1 inch until you have 12 squares of layered pairs for your kebabs.

Stem and seed the poblanos, removing the inner ribs as well. Cut the poblanos into 12 squares the same size as your onion pieces.

Clean the mushrooms and discard the stems.

To assemble the kebabs, start by threading a cube of beef onto a pair of skewers. We use pairs of skewers to keep the individual pieces from rotating independently. Add a piece of poblano and a paired square of red onion, aligning these with the cube of beef. Taking the time to align all the pieces allows you to more easily grill the kebabs on four sides for even browning. Slide on a mushroom, passing it through the skewer from the top and out the bottom. Continue by adding another piece of beef, then vegetables until you have a kebab with four pieces of beef and three groupings of vegetables. Assemble the remaining three kebabs.

Discard the marinade.

Grill the assembled kebabs over direct heat, turning to brown all four sides, about 10 minutes total cooking time. Target finished temperature for the beef is Medium at 140°F. Remove from the grill at 135°F.

Ginger Bourbon Beef Kebabs gilling on the Hybrid Fire Grill