Life Long Cooking Lessons from an Old Friend

I’ve always loved cooking. Cooking outdoors was even better, and I even started cooking outside over a campfire well before I was ever allowed to use an oven. Since the family went on frequent camping trips even before I was old enough to join Cub Scouts, time around a cooking fire was very deeply instilled into my childhood, and many life experiences that would follow.

This love of camping, cooking, and eating well over the fire led me to becoming an excellent cook, and loving the process. Every guy likes to say he’s a master at grilling or tossing some kebobs on the grill – but there’s a huge difference between a bad one, an average one, and a great one.

From the Midwest to the Appalachians to the Rockies to my years in Alaska, there was a lot of outdoor cooking and it rarely took long before I became one of the cooks at any cabin or campsite get-together.

One of the wonderful things about that position is you get to meet a lot of people. Sami was someone cut from the same cloth. He was passionate about food, and would rattle on about the connection of food and community, food and friendship. It was a philosophy that made sense to me, and Sami was always good company…and one of the few people I ever met who was clearly my better at a grill or around a fire.

steak kebabs on the grill
Steak kebabs on the grill

Kebab Mentoring for Midwest Recipes

Whether it was learning traditional kebab recipes from Sami, sharing how we did it grilling in the Midwest, or exchanging recipes every which way, cooking has brought a lot of joy in life.

And it’s hard to argue with a good protein, a good bit of grilled meat, and a lit grill or outside campfire. Add friends and your favorite beverages and it was always a good time.

As with many in their early 20’s, this was a time of a lot of socializing and that open eagerness to learn new things. Previously for me kebabs were good, but they were something added to the side of the main dish whether those were steaks the size of a roast, actual barbecue chicken, or whatever else was on the menu for that get-together.

Random stories, skills, and bits of trivia have always held high value for me. So when a story would come of learning an old family recipe in a place I had yet traveled to, explanations of how different a dish the word “kebab” could mean depending on style of cooking or location, when that all came together while cooking, I was hooked.

Food at Its Finest

“How can a yogurt marinade work for grilling meat?” was one of many naïve questions I asked at the beginning. Hey, to someone with no experience cooking Middle Eastern or North African styles of kebabs it was a question that made a lot of sense.

There’s also a journey behind all the information on this site, and all the things I’ve learned, such as:

  • How the wood you burn impacts favor
  • The various ways to make smoking work
  • So many different marinades for various kebabs
  • Why certain vegetables are better than others by certain meats

And a lot more.

This site will focus on kebabs and outdoor grilling or campfire cooking whether in a backyard firepit, a grill/smoker on the back porch, a kitchen, or roughing it at a tent campsite in the middle of nowhere. Wherever a little fire and cooking sounds like great idea, every bit of knowledge I can share to help you make those experiences better is what I’m going to focus on.

Whether it’s picking the right skewers, learning new cooking styles, or getting the perfect backyard setup, that’s the kind of thing I’m here to share with readers. When you mind all the small details until they become second nature, then having good times will be that much easier and happen that much more naturally.

After all, everyone knows that: Meat + Fire = Kebab Time!

My Dad taught me at a young age that nothing tastes better than food over a campfire. Grandpa said the same about a grill…though he also said the same about a fish and a frying pan, but that was Grandpa 🙂

So let’s celebrate all the good and wonderful things that food represents!

What I Want This Kebab Site to Be

I know it’s a long road to go from a brand new site to where I want this website to eventually be, but I love food, my memories of cooking and grilling so often over the years, and for too long I haven’t shared that passion online because of endless warnings about how rough a niche it was or how hard it was to break in.

And while I value my time, this isn’t about a niche. It’s about an amazing array of skills that I’ve acquired over 25+ years of cooking with fire in about every way imaginable. It’s about years of intensely soaking up various kebab styles, recipes, and open fire information from people with very different backgrounds but plenty of skill to spare.

This isn’t about recipes, this is about all the wonderful things I associate with food and the amazing things food can represent in our lives.

So I want this site to eventually be one of the best sources online for the best skewer materials, spices, cooking techniques, food & drink matchings, and more. This will be the place where you can learn all the details to go from bad to average, average to good, good to great. Find those details that make all the difference before your next grill out!

If in Doubt, Break the Skewers Out!

At the end of the day cooking should be a great experience whether you’re cooking for friends, passing on a lifetime of cooking/travel knowledge to your little nephews, or deciding to start a fire in the backyard fire pit. Being prepared for every occasion, and mastering the grill enough to be the de facto grill master whenever a get-together of any size gets going.

Or if you find yourself in a very quiet place where the only sound is the wood of the fire crackling, some insects buzzing, and your tent is pitched in a place where the skies are clear and the stars as brilliant as you’ve ever seen them…then you can make a meal fit for a king or queen with a couple trusted kebab skewers and your favorite meats and vegetables ready to go.

So thanks for stopping by, and trust me when I say a year from now this site will be something to behold and hopefully a place that shares so many of the lessons I’ve learned from friends, family, acquaintances over the years. And maybe even my old friend Sami will somehow catch sight of this and remember those “old days” over the fire as fondly as I do!

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