Food on a Stick
Who doesn’t love food on a stick? Kabobs have become a staple in the world of backyard grilling, but undoubtedly, putting hunks of meat on sticks and cooking them over a fire has been going on for some time. Homo erectus first began controlling fire around a million years ago, and bones found in their fire pits indicate that they were cooking meat in them.
Over the years, skewers have developed to become more than just a stick and have a surprising amount of options. But which is best? Bamboo or metal? Flat or round? Rigid or flexible?
Bamboo skewers are a popular choice because they’re inexpensive, disposable, and biodegradable. They will burn in the high heat of your grill so it’s best to soak them in water for at least 15 minutes before using them. They cool to the touch much quicker than their metal counterparts and bamboo skewers come in smaller, paddle-handled sizes that are perfect for hors-d’oeuvres.
Bamboo skewers do have their drawbacks, however. Besides the potential to burn in high or extended heat, they can splinter when you load them with your meat or vegetables which could be hazardous if gone unnoticed. Also, bamboo skewers traditionally are round which can cause some of the food to turn on them when you’re trying to flip them.
Metal skewers are costlier than bamboo, but they’re reusable and can last for many years. Metal skewers can handle high heat, and in fact, because metal is such a good conductor of heat, food cooks from the inside out as well as outside in. They usually are flat which means food won’t rotate on them, and metal means less friction so food slides onto them easily when loading them for the grill.
Metal skewers come in different styles that range from ones with farm animals on the handles to ones that look like medieval sword replicas, but if you’re looking for the best functionality, plain with curved handles for easy control work best. Decorative ones tend to have thicker metal handles which will stay hotter than the food does so you won’t be able to put them on your guests’ plates anyway.
Metal skewers can also come in a thick but flexible wire that does have its advantages. More food can be loaded onto them and their flexibility allows you to utilize more of your grilling surface. However, they are more difficult to clean and the food tends to rotate on them while you’re flipping the skewer.
Double metal skewers are an option as well, but you’re forced to cut your kabob ingredients into larger pieces and it’s just as easy to use two skewers for those times that you want bigger kabobs. Some metal skewers come with food pushers on them which are movable metal pieces that help push the food off after it has cooked on the skewers, but a fork works just as well without the added cleaning difficulties.
Some Helpful Tips
Most meats, fruits, and vegetables are delicious when skewered and cooked over a flame, whether marinated or basted with your favorite sauce or cooked naked to allow their natural sugars to caramelize. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, potatoes, and even fruits like pineapple or mango grill well and can be delicious vegetarian meals on their own, or add a few chunks of chicken, steak, or shrimp, for a healthy and complete meal.
By cutting your ingredients in a uniform size, they can cook evenly, and if you keep them around 1-1 ½ inches, your kabobs won’t be charred on the outside and raw on the inside. To reduce the chances of your kabobs sticking to your grill, pour oil on a paper towel or cloth and use tongs to wipe the oil on the grill. If they do begin to stick, don’t pull on them! You’ll just lose half your food. Instead, use a metal spatula to loosen them before you turn them.
Whether you choose disposable bamboo or reusable metal skewers, cooking kabobs on the grill is a simple, fun, and healthy way to cook your favorite foods on your Paradise Grills Direct outdoor kitchen.
Call Paradise Grills Direct today at 800-691-7155 and get grilling!