These delicious brochettes are great for a crowd and don’t require marinating so can be assembled at the end of a beach day.
I’m not a big kebob-lover as I find they can be cumbersome to cook, and often they combine ingredients that cook at different rates (leaving you with undercooked or overcooked something). But long ago when I was an editor at Fine Cooking magazine, we did a story with Boston chef Steve Johnson (then chef-owner of The Blue Room) where I learned a few tricks to making great kebobs (or brochettes as he called them). In particular, I loved what he did with chicken breasts – cutting them more into thick strips than small chunks so that they could be folded over for better traction on the skewer! Then he coated them aggressively with a spice rub. The chicken not only stayed put during grilling but was moist and delicious when served.  

In recreating something similar, I started with my spice rub for Barbecued Chicken Thighs but changed it up with a bit of cinnamon and ginger to give it more of a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavor. I also added plenty of salt right into the rub, so you will not have to add any additional salt.

Then I served my brochettes drizzled with Limey Dipping Sauce (below) and over Quick Limey Slaw. Delicious!

Be sure you have long metal skewers on hand for this. I think the metal skewers are preferable, but you could use wooden if you soak them first and put less chicken on each.

The recipe serves 4 but can be easily doubled.

Serves 4 

  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast (preferably Bell and Evans)
  • 1 recipe Brochette Spice Rub (below, you won’t use all of it)
  • Olive oil
  • Limey Dipping Sauce for serving (below)
  • Quick Limey Slaw for serving (double if you like a lot of slaw!)
  • Cilantro sprigs (or very roughly chopped cilantro) for garnish


1. Heat a gas grill to medium-high (or prepare a charcoal fire). Have ready 4 to 6 metal skewers.

2. Cut the chicken breasts across on a diagonal into strips about ¾ inch wide. Some will be three or four inches long, some will be shorter. (They will be the thickness of the breast – don’t butterfly the breast first; you want the strips to be thick.)

3. Put all of the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl and add enough of the spice rub to coat thoroughly. Start with about half of the spice rub and toss well. Add more as needed.

4. Make the brochettes by folding the chicken strips over and skewering them so that the skewer goes through the folded strip twice (or three times if the strip is long). Bunch up the chicken pieces fairly tightly. (Keeping them close together keeps them moist).

5. Put the brochettes on a tray and drizzle them with olive oil on both sides, rubbing a bit of oil over all.

6. Arrange the brochettes on the grill and cook without moving for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip over (turn 180 degrees) and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. Then finish by turning to cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other sides. Total cooking time will be about 10 minutes.

7. Serve on a platter garnished with cilantro, accompanied by a bowl of slaw and a bowl of sauce for drizzling. Or arrange slaw on individual plates, remove chicken from skewers and arrange over slaw, and drizzle the chicken with the sauce. Garnish with cilantro.

Brochette Spice Rub

Store leftovers in a glass jar and use on pork ribs or pork tenderloin. This rub has plenty of salt in it so you will not need to add salt when you use it.

Makes about 2/3 cup

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

1. Stir together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.


Limey Dipping Sauce

If you make this ahead, keep it chilled. Leftovers will also keep in the fridge for a day or two.

Yields about ¾ cup

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cream or milk (to thin, if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime zest, lime juice, garlic (if using), and a big pinch of salt in a small bowl. Whisk well. If you want to thin the sauce, add a tablespoon of cream or milk.

2. Stir in the cilantro, if using. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors marry.