Rum and Molasses Marinated Beef Kebabs with Grilled Cantaloupe Recipe

From urban rooftop green spaces to rustic north woods cabins, there will be grills fired up throughout the Land of 10,000 Lakes over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. And while you may be excited at the prospect of revisiting your favorite burgers and brats, this unofficial start of summer deserves a little more. Here is an idea to ramp up your grilling repertoire not only this weekend but throughout the summer as the savory sweet marinade could also work equally well for chicken or pork so you can experiment and mix it up. These kebabs have a decidedly tropical flair, notes cookbook author and meat expert Bruce Aidells, who created this recipe for Real Food, so you could embrace the theme by pairing with rum cocktails or punch garnished with pineapple. Serve the skewers with the classic side dish of black-eyed peas or black beans and rice. Baked sweet potatoes round out the meal with coconut pudding or coconut cream pie to follow.

Plan ahead as marinating for 12 to up to 24 hours is recommended if you can—but that is how you layer in rich flavor, tenderize the meat, and also have some of your dinner made ahead so you can sit back and enjoy dinner as much as your guests. You could even mix it up at home, keep it cold in the cooler on the way, and dine in style at the cabin. No worries if the fish aren’t biting.

Rum and Molasses Marinated Beef Kebabs with Grilled Cantaloupe

Makes 4 Servings


  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil


  • 2 pounds sirloin steak, cut in 112-inch cubes
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into 112-inch chunks
  • 112 pounds firm cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, and cut into 112-inch cubes
  • 1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


1. For the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until blended.

2. For the kebabs: Place beef in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag. Pour over remaining marinade and shake until coated. Place bag in a bowl or pan and refrigerate 12 to 24 hours, occasionally turning and shaking.

3. Remove beef from marinade. Pour marinade into a saucepan, bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, and set aside. Thread meat on skewers, alternating with onion. Thread cantaloupe onto separate skewers.

4. Build a medium-hot charcoal or gas fire. Brush cantaloupe skewers with marinade. Lay all skewers over fire, turning every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent charring. Lightly cook cantaloupe 2 to 3 minutes and remove from skewers to a warm platter. Squeeze lime juice over cantaloupe. Cook beef 6 to 8 minutes until medium-rare. Remove beef from skewers and place over cantaloupe. Brush with reserved marinade and serve.

Nutrition info (per serving): Calories 504 (138 From Fat); Fat 15g (Sat. 4g); Chol 147mg; Sodium 1284mg; Carb 22g; Fiber 2g; Protein 62g

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Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.