How to Skewer Food for Grilling

Cooking food on skewers - from chicken strips to shish kebabs - is a grilling tradition. With a few simple guidelines in mind you'll get great results every time.

Tips for Skewering Food:

  • If you grill often, consider investing in a set of flat metal skewers. These can be used year after year, require no soaking, and are easier to use than wooden ones. The flat edge keeps foods from turning.
  • Most skewered food should cook over medium or medium-low heat, with the bottom of the skewer off the grill, away from the heat. The idea is to gauge your cooking times so food cooks evenly, and if you keep the bottom of the skewer off the heat, you can use it as a handle when the food's ready. An overly hot grill can also char wooden skewers.
  • Wooden skewers should be discarded after use.
  • Try these skewered entrées: Beef Kabobs with Papaya Seed Green Tea Sauce and Fruit and Vegetable Shrimp Kabobs.

How to Skewer Food:

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes before using them, so they don't start fire.
  2. Prepare your food for the skewers by making sure it's trimmed properly and bite-size. The general rule is: the smaller the better. The longer the food takes to cook, the less viable it is for skewering.
  3. If you're making shish kebabs, with several different ingredients together on the same skewer, make sure all the food is trimmed to cook as fast as the quickest-cooking ingredient. If your skewers contain cherry tomatoes, for example, make sure the onions, peppers and meat are cut very small so they'll cook at the same rate as the tomatoes.
  4. Thread the food onto the skewers at its deepest part. If you're cooking something wide and flat, like a butterflied shrimp, consider using two skewers so it won't spin on the skewer.
  5. Cook your skewers over medium to medium-low heat, with the bottoms of the skewers extending past the edge of the grill.
  6. Try to move the skewers as little as possible, both when preparing them and when cooking. This will help ensure that the food doesn't loosen once it's been pierced.

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