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Tips and Recipes for the perfect skewer

When BBQ season swings around again, it’s always an excellent opportunity to brush up on those outdoor cooking skills, and re-visit recipes with more technique.

Like, learning how to grill skewers. They’re a great addition to any grill, and succulent skewers of marinated and flame grilled meat, seafood, fish or vegetables are always going to be a crowd pleaser but can be a challenge to perfect.

If you suffer from unevenly cooked kebabs, or dried out meat or burnt raw vegetables, discover these few tips to ensuring tasty skewers, that you’ll be worshipped for, grill after grill. 

How to Grill Skewers

Whether you choose meat, fish, seafood or vegetable skewers or a combination, there are a few points common to all, like which skewers to use, how to thread the ingredients and what coals to use for maximum flavour.

Wood or Metal Skewers?

Firstly you’ll need to select your skewers. They can be either metal or wood – and there are pros and cons for each.

Flat stainless steel metal skewers are the most reliable as they discourage the food from spinning round each time you turn them on the grill.  They should be ideally about 12 inches long. Metal skewers are also re-usable, making them an environmentally friendly choice.

Wood skewers and particularly bamboo skewers are popular and cheap – but with one big downside – they burn easily. They need to be soaked in water for at least thirty minutes first until saturated to prevent them from burning on the grill.

How to thread a skewer?

How the meat, fish or vegetables are threaded onto the skewer also makes a difference to the result.

Make sure the skewer is consistent and balanced to ensure all the pieces cook in a similar time.

Thread the cubes so that they touch but are not squeezed tightly together, otherwise, you’ll end up with an uneven cook.

What coals to use for a bbq?

Matt Arbergel from Yardbird in Hong Kong recommends using the best quality hardwood charcoal you can find with a high carbon content and to make sure it’s evenly heated before you start cooking.

Skewer Recipes

Now you’ve mastered the basic techniques it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work cooking. Here’s a selection of the best skewer recipes that’ll make the menu for meat eaters, seafood lovers and vegetarians.

How to Grill Shrimp Skewers

Shrimp are very grill friendly. Plump, juicy and chargrilled in under 5 mins they’re a great finger food to have at the ready.

Make sure to marinade them first in a combination of olive oil lemon juice cilantro hot sauce garlic salt.

The shrimps can be skewered and grilled for 2 minutes on each side before serving.

How to grill Chicken Skewers

Go for larger cubes of chicken to ensure they remain moist while grilling – at least one inch cubes.  

Marinade the chicken before cooking to make sure the end result is extra flavourful and succulent. Here are 5 easy marinade recipes to get you started.

Find the recipe for grilled chicken skewers here.

Grilled chicken kebabs


Turkey Breast Skewers

Larger pieces of meat can be cooked in strips folded over on themselves like in this succulent recipe for healthy turkey skewers in the recipe here.

How to Grill Vegetable Skewers

When it comes to vegetable skewers, look for fruit or vegetables that will stay on the skewers and cook in roughly the same time.

Bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, grape tomatoes, mushrooms, pineapple, mango, and peaches are all popular choices.

If you want to include veg that takes longer to cook, like corn or potatoes, par cook them first, then give them a final grill to pump up the flavour.

Discover the best vegetable skewer recipe here.

Or, if you want to go with kebabs for dessert try grilling up some pineapple skewers. Pineapple skewer recipe.

Grilled Fish Kebabs

Tuna, salmon and swordfish are all meaty and well structured fish that work well on the BBQ. Try this easy tuna recipe for marinated tuna, grilled until seared on the outside and pink on the inside.

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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.