What Middle Eastern-style meal would be complete without skewers of grilled shish kabob? While its name still evokes the exotic locales of places such as Turkey and Arabia, shish kabob spread across Asia to Europe, America and Australia, becoming a truly global dish.

Every shish kabob cook has his or her own favorite recipes, but here are 5 of the most frequently seen variations. Experienced cooks suggest using stainless steel skewers rather than wooden ones to avoid getting splinters in the food. Oiling the stainless steel skewers also will help get the entrée onto the plate when it’s time to serve.

Chicken Shish Kabob.

Chicken has become one of the more popular meats for shish kabob, especially in southern Asian recipes from India and points east. White meat chicken is cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes and threaded onto skewers, alternating with an array of vegetables as varied as the cook’s imagination. Since the meat for shish kabob is typically marinated in advance, cooks have the opportunity to come up with creative flavor combinations. Some like to use a single tense flavor such as teriyaki sauce, sometimes with a little ginger to give it some “kick.” A Japanese “yakitori” version mixes sake, soy sauce, molasses and grated onion, while a tropical island recipe uses pineapple juice mixed with brown sugar, soy sauce and dry mustard.

Beef Shish Kabob.

Beef has become another preferred meat for shish kabob. Cooks prefer to use sirloin for beef shish kabob because it grills well and holds up on the skewer. Teriyaki sauce is a popular marinade for beef shish kabob, while other cooks opt for red wine, flavored oils or the traditional olive oil mixed with a firecracker array of peppers or with cumin, the spice that gives Indian curry its zing. Beef shish kabob is most often matched with traditional vegetables: mushrooms, onions, green peppers and tomatoes.

Shrimp Shish Kabob.

While it can be difficult to use fish in shish kabob, shrimp is the perfect seafood for a skewer. In fact, the Australian “shrimp on the barbie” dish often turns out to be a shrimp shish kabob. Shrimp shish kabobs are about the easiest to make, because they can be grilled by themselves without vegetables, simply brushed with melted butter or teriyaki sauce. A simple recipe for shrimp shish kabob marinates a pound of shrimp two hours in olive oil with lemon, garlic, chopped and parsley pepper. Then it’s grilled for five minutes and delivers mouth-watering taste to eager diners.

Fruit and/or Veggie Kabobs.

Vegetarians can get into the act as well when it comes to shish kabob. In fact, some cooks love nothing more than to fill a skewer with squash, onion, mushroom, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini or other veggies, brush everything with teriyaki sauce or butter, and then grill and enjoy. Even chunks of fruit can be made into shish kabob, usually served with a sweet dipping sauce.

Lamb Kabobs.

Lamb shish kabob is the classic interpretation of this dish. In fact, shepherds in the Middle East probably originated the recipe. To make traditional lamb shish kabob, cut lamb into 1-1/2-inch cubes and marinate in olive with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano or mint. Alternate meat on the skewer with chunks of onion, tomato, pepper and mushrooms. Grill until the meat is medium well and the vegetables are tender-crisp.