How to Smoke Kabobs and Shish Kabob Recipe

shish kabobs on cutting board
To smoke kabobs, you will first cut up a variety of meat and vegetables into small, similarly sized pieces. After marinating and seasoning your meat and veggies, thread them onto metal or wooden skewers, leaving around 1 inch at either end. Smoke your kabobs at 225°F, rotating them every 30 minutes until your meat reaches the desired doneness and the veggies are soft.

What is the Best Way to Smoke Kabobs?

Kabobs are a summertime staple, and they’re especially great when you can smoke them!

Tools Needed to Make Kabobs on a Smoker

  • Charcoal or wood chips
  • Kabob metal skewers
  • Sharp knife
  • Smoker

How to Prepare Kabobs for Smoking

It is important to marinate or season the kabobs ahead of time to add flavor and ensure the meat is tender. Marinate your meat for a few hours before smoking. A classic kabob marinade includes a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs, along with soy sauce, honey, and garlic.

Cut the meat and vegetables into small pieces and thread them onto the skewers – you should cut your kebabs into 1-inch to 1/2-inch cubes and try to ensure that the veggies have a similar size.

Prepare the Smoker

Preheat your smoker to your desired temperature (usually 225°F to 250°F).

Pick your favorite wood chunks and add them to the smoker. Choose wood that complements the type of meat you’re using. For example, beef goes excellent with hickory or mesquite, and pork is complemented wonderfully by fruitwood like apple and cherry.

Allow the smoker to preheat for at least 15 minutes. Next, you will place the kabobs on the smoker grates and close the lid.

Smoke the Kabobs

The cooking time will depend on the type of meat and the desired level of doneness. For example, chicken kabobs will take about 1 to 1.5 hours to cook (and they have to reach a safe internal temp of 165°F), while beef kabobs can take 2 hours (but you can pick your desired doneness).

You can baste or spritz the kabobs with a liquid (such as apple juice or oil) to add moisture and flavor as they smoke. If you wish to spritz the kabobs, only do so every 30 minutes when rotating the kabobs (which ensures even cooking), and close the smoker’s lid right away to trap the smoke inside.

Rest the Kabobs

Once the kabobs are cooked to the desired level of doneness, remove them from the smoker and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

You can cover them with foil or a dish towel to keep them warm. This resting time allows the juices to redistribute and makes the kabobs easier to cut and eat.

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steak shish kabob on grill

Smoked Shish Kabobs Recipe

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Total Time: 2 hours


You’ll never get the same flavor from a store-bought beef kabob as you do from grilling your own! This recipe is a surefire way to impress your guests at your next backyard barbecue – and it can work both as an appetizer and as a main course. This smoked shish kabob recipe combines the best of summertime: fresh veggies, smoked meats, and intense flavors.


Units Scale

Equipment Needed

  • Meat thermometer
  • Traeger Pellet grill or smoker
  • Wood chips/Wood chunks
  • Wooden skewers (or metal)


  • 2 (1-pound) New York strip steaks
  • 1 large red onion, peeled
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1 pineapple, whole
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


  1. Preheat the smoker to 165°F.
  2. Cut the vegetables: take the mushrooms, bell peppers, and pineapples and cut them into chunks. Don’t worry about the pieces not looking perfect.
  3. Cut the meat into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Take some wooden or metal skewers and start composing the kabobs according to a pattern: add meat, then onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, and finally, pineapples.
  5. Brush the assembled kabobs with olive oil and rub pepper and garlic salt on them.
  6. Place the kabobs on the grill grates and let them smoke for about an hour.
  7. Raise the temperature of your smoker to 400°F and let the kabobs smoke for another 30 minutes, turning them after 15 minutes. Smoke until the internal temperature reaches 145°F.
  8. Get the kabobs out of the smoker and let them rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving them next to your favorite bbq sauce. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Rest Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes


  • Serving Size: 2 kabobs
  • Calories: 713kcal
  • Sugar: 26.7g
  • Sodium: 118.8mg
  • Fat: 43.6g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 38.9g
  • Fiber: 5.8g
  • Protein: 43.2g
  • Cholesterol: 167.4g

How Long Should Kabobs Be Smoked?

The time spent smoking kabobs depends on the type of meat you are using and the desired level of doneness. Here are some general guidelines for smoking different kinds of meat when smoking at a temperature range of 225°F-250°F:

Type of MeatTime to Smoke
Beef4-5 hours
Chicken2-3 hours
Seafood1-2 hours
Pork3-4 hours

Always ensure you’re using a meat thermometer so that the kabobs are cooked to a safe internal temperature (that would be 165°F for chicken kabobs).

Best Temperature to Smoke Kabobs

The ideal temperature for smoking kabobs is around 225-250°F. This temperature range will allow the kabobs to cook slowly and evenly, which will help to preserve their moisture and keep them tender.

Measure the internal temperature to ensure the meat reaches the desired level of doneness.

What are the Benefits of Smoking Kabobs?

There are a few extra benefits to smoking kabobs, as opposed to grilling them. Smoking involves using low temperatures and smoke to cook and flavor food, while grilling involves directly exposing food to high heat from a grill or other heating element.

The benefits of smoking kabobs include:

  • Smoking can add flavor to foods, as the smoke penetrates the food and imparts a distinctive taste.
  • Smoking can help to preserve food, as the low cooking temperatures and the presence of smoke can inhibit the growth of bacteria.
  • Smoking can help to tenderize tougher cuts of meat.

Best Wood to Use to Make Smoked Kabobs

If you’re looking for a strong flavor that stands out against the other ingredients in your kabob, mesquite might be your best bet. It has a robust, smoky flavor that other wood chunks can’t beat.

Oak may be ideal if you want something milder but still flavorful enough to stand up against your kabobs. It gives off a light smoky scent with hints of vanilla sweetness that won’t overpower other ingredients in your dish.

What are the Best Meat Cuts to Use for Kabobs?

If you want to make delicious kabobs, it is essential to choose a cut of meat that takes heat well and becomes tender even when being cut into small pieces. No matter what type of meat you use, choosing fresh meat is essential to optimize flavor and texture.

  • For chicken kabobs, some good cuts include boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs because they are relatively lean and cook quickly on the grill.
  • For lamb kabobs, you can use the leg of a lamb or lamb shoulder, which are both flavorful and tender cuts.
  • For pork kabobs, you can use pork tenderloin or pork loin.
  • For shrimp kabobs, any large, peeled, and deveined shrimp will work.
  • For steak kabobs, you have sirloin, ribeye, or skirt steak. These cuts are flavorful and have a good balance of fat and protein.

Best Kabob Side Dish Ideas

We all love kabobs, but a great side dish can elevate your kabobs to new heights. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Cucumber Yogurt Salad – This cooling, creamy salad is made with diced cucumbers and yogurt, and it’s a great way to balance out the richness of grilled meats.
  2. Fattoush Salad – This traditional Middle Eastern salad is made with various vegetables, herbs, and toasted pita chips. It’s light, refreshing, and goes well with your kabobs.
  3. Grilled Vegetables and Feta Skewers – What’s better than kabob skewers? More vegetable skewers as a side dish! Pick your fave combination and place it on the grill with your kebabs.
  4. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad – This savory, salty and sweet salad features maple syrup and sun-dried tomatoes that are bursting with flavor.
  5. Tabbouleh – This fresh, flavorful salad made with parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, and bulgur perfectly accompanies the rich taste of kabobs.


Alexandra is a passionate writer who loves everything related to food: from buying local produce and sourcing the best ingredients to finding the perfect spice mix and sauce to complement each dish. She loves getting together with friends near a campfire and grilling up some barbecue goodness while having quality conversations - no screens allowed.

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