Portuguese Shish Kebabs Recipe – Estepadas


I guarantee these Portuguese Estepadas (Shish Kebabs) is sure to be a crowd pleaser and will leave you time to enjoy the company of the day.  Besides, what could be better than avoiding a sink full of dishes!  This recipe below is the perfect meal for an outdoor party (beside the pool if you are that lucky or even at the park).  Just a little planning ahead, and you can celebrate the day with friends and family without having to spend all day stuck inside the house watching the fun through the window.

You are probably more familiar with the Turkish name for these, Shish Kebabs.  Estepadas came into this country through Christopher Columbus, who it is said was rather fond of beef that had been marinated in wine and skewered on a stick to roast.  Like shish kebabs, these were the perfect meals for nomadic travelers.  They also make a great meal for a crowd, especially when you want to be part of the crowd and not just the cook.

This recipe, comments, and photos are courtesy of Cynthia Detterick-Pineda of Andrews, TX.


Shish Kebabs


If you live in the Southwest and do not have an outdoor grill, you may be looked at as an outsider.  While many places in the United States, and even around the world, might pull their grill out when the first sunny, warm spring day comes along, many of us out here grill all year round!  There can be two inches of snow on the ground, torrential rains pouring down, or even winds that would knock down the sturdiest of men, and we are out there firing up the grill.

I am not going to even cover the argument as to which is better, gas or charcoal.  They are even promoting electric grills now, but somehow that just does not seem like grilling to me.  If you are going to turn on an electric burner, then why not do it inside, under the air-conditioning (I live in a place where you are already hitting 100 degree temperatures before the end of May).  So whichever you prefer; gas, charcoal or even electric, just get out and enjoy the simplicity of grilling and spend some time with family and friends.



Portuguese Shish Kebabs Recipe:
Prep Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Portuguese
Keyword: Estepadas Recipe, Portuguese Shish Kebobs Recipe
Beef Cubes:
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, extra-virgin
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 fresh jalapeno chile peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lean beef (such as sirloin steak or London broil), cut into 1-inch cubes
Tarragon Chicken:
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly-ground
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • * If you cannot find fresh tarragon, you can substitute Mexican mint marigold, oregano, or thyme.
Garlic Shrimp:
  • 1 to 2 pounds fresh shrimp (21-25 count or larger), peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup butter, melted
Vegetable (these can be your choice):
  • 3 large bell peppers, cleaned and cubed (I like to use a mix or green, red and yellow)
  • 1 pound mushrooms, washed well
  • 5 to 6 small onions, cut into quarters
  • 2 pounds summer squash (zucchini, crookneck, and Mexican all work equally well)
  • 1 large fresh pineapple, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 10 or more baby red potatoes that have been parboiled
  • 4 ears fresh corn, husk and silk removed and cut into 2-inch thick slices
Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Portuguese Shish Kebobs Instructions:
  1. Advance Preparation:  On the day before you plan to grill, prepare the beef, chicken, and their individual marinades.  Place the beef and chicken in the freezer only while you prepare their marinade ingredients.  Allowing the meat to freeze partially will make cutting easier.

  2. On the day you plan to grill, prepare the shrimp, garlic butter, and the vegetables.

  3. Prepare Balsamic Vinaigrette:
      Place the prepared Balsamic Vinaigrette where the mixture can be brushed over the shish kebobs (espetadas) before and during grilling.

  4. Roasted green chile peppers and bacon can also be added to the meats offered.  The bacon is wrapped around the skewers to add both flavor and fat to help with cooking.  The long green chiles, which have been roasted and peeled, can be wrapped into the skewer as well prior to cooking if you want to add a little more spice.

  5. Grilling the kabobs

  6. When ready to grill, fire up the grill to a medium high coal (for gas grills keep the burners on about medium).  If you have a rotisserie then use it!  You can place up to ten Espetadas in the basket of a rotisserie

  7. Place the skewered beef and chicken (with vegetables) over medium hot coals and grill for approximately 20 minutes, turning frequently and brushing with the Balsamic Vinaigrette.  Allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until the meat is done so that the juices run clear.  Remove from Grill.

  8. Place the skewered shrimp onto the hot grill and cook approximately 2 minutes on one side; turn and cook another 1 minute or until shrimp exterior have changed from translucent to pink.  Remove from heat.  NOTE: The garlic butter mixture will be brushed over the shrimp just prior to placing them on the grill, adding more while grilling if desired.  Remove from grill.

  9. One of the easiest ways to serve this type of meal is to place all the ingredients out “buffet” style.  Supply bamboo skewers that have been soaked overnight and allow guest to “build” their own Espetadas. The meats should be kept separate from the vegetables.

  10. The Garlic Butter (for the shrimp) and the Balsamic Vinaigrette marinade can be used both before and during grilling.  Do not use the marinades that the meats have been in this would allow cross contamination and allow bacterial growth. 


  12. Side Dish Ideas:   Since you have made a meal that contain beef, chicken, shrimp, and vegetable, a side dish such as a salad can complete the meal.  Grilled Jalapeno Poppers also go well with this meal, especially as an appetizer while waiting for your shish kebob to grill.

Beef Cube Instructions:
  1. In a medium-size bowl or a large re-sealable plastic bag, combine the red wine, olive oil, crushed garlic, salt, and black pepper.  Whisk until combined.  Add the chopped jalapeno chile peppers and the cubed beef, making sure the marinade coats all.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate overnight (if you need to make this on the same day, allow at least 2 hours to marinate).

Tarragon Chicken Instructions:
  1. In a medium-size bowl or a large re-sealable plastic bag, whisk together the zest and juices of the orange, lemon, and lime, and the crushed garlic, tarragon leaves, soy sauce, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Add the cubed chicken, toss to coat and place in the refrigerator overnight.

Garlic Shrimp Instructions:
  1. In a small sauce pan over low heat, melt the butter with the crushed garlic, stirring frequently.Allow to cook on low for 20 minutes to allow the butter to capture the garlic flavor.  Place the butter mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

Balsamic Vinaigrette Instructions:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  While continuing to whisk, slowly drizzle in the balsamic vinegar.  Continue whisking until it is well combined.  Place the bowl where the Balsamic Vinaigrette can be brushed on the kebobs before and during grilling.

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