This is the first known kebab recipe printed in the U.S. It appeared in the anonymous cookbook titled The Cook not Mad or Rational Cookery published by Knowlton and Rice in Warrentown, N.Y. in 1830. It is interesting to note that the second addition was published in 1831 and is considered the first cookbook published in Canada. This recipe is #298 titled A Moorish method of cooking beef as described by Captain Riley, the shipwrecked mariner. It is also interesting to note that a number of the other recipes were copied from the first American cookbook American Cookery by Amelia Simmons published in 1790.
Recipes of the time did not provide quantities or cooking details, so some interpretation was required. “Mr. Willshire’s cook had by this time prepared a repast, which consisted of beef cut into square pieces, just large enough for a mouthful before it was cooked; these were rolled in onions, cut up fine, and mixed with salt and pepper; they were in the next place put on iron skewers and laid horizontal across a pot of burning charcoal and turned over occasionally, until perfectly roasted, this dish is called cubub”.
1 to 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak
1 medium onion
Olive oil for brushing
Salt to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Peel and cut the onion into pieces and place the onion in a food processor. Process the onion until it is mush. Place the meat and onion in a zip-top plastic bag. Zip the bag almost closed, expel as much air as possible, and zip the bag fully closed. Kneed the bag to evenly coat the meat with onion. Marinate refrigerated for 6 to 8 hours.
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over a hot fire. Skewer the meat, then brush off excess onion. Onion left between the pieces of meat will add flavor. Brush the meat with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill directly over the fire for 2 minutes on each of the four sides (8 minutes total).