I have been through my share of shish kabob skewers. There are small bamboo skewers that you can usually convince your butcher to give you for free. Just make sure you soak them for an hour or two in water before putting them on the grill. Well, unless you like eating charred trees – then knock yourself out. I have tried round, steel skewers that work wonderfully until you try to turn the food – then it happily spins around, making it impossible to flip anything. And removing half-cooked meat and vegetables to finish them off in the oven is at best annoying and tedious, at worst unsanitary and dangerous. Not to mention my husband’s need to feed family from fire (can you almost see him beating his chest?).
My mother, in one of her many acts of kindness, sent us some beautiful curved skewers. They looked amazing with all the kabob ingredients on them – so beautiful in fact I took a picture.
And then the fun started. My husband tried to fit them on the grill. Since they are curved, they don’t stack nicely next to each other. They do not play nice at all. And forget trying to overlap the circle openings with each other. Flipping them was impossible as there was not a cool handle, just a very ornate curlicue that was impossible to grab with wither tongs or oven mitts. It was a natural disaster. Finally, after 4 waves of kabobs hit the grill, we were ready to eat! But unfortunately, we could not figure out how to get the delicious-looking morsels off the skewers without letting the skewer’s metal cool down. Our dinner was late, cold, and infuriating.
If the appearance of your grilled kabobs is terribly important to you, let me suggest a few ideas. First, get over yourself and microwave your cold, kabob morsels once you can remove them from the skewers. Or offer your family oven mitts to use, and enjoy watching them clumsily gnaw on their dinner. Watch carefully though, and make sure you have ice on hand to soothe scalded tongues and lips. Personally, I chose to do a little research and found some beautiful, stainless-steel skewers that are straight and square to keep food from spinning. They also have a handy-dandy disc that assists in removing the cooked food. The handles still get warm, but you can leave them hanging off the edge of the grill and grasp them easily – because they are actual handles! Your family will love eating a healthy, grilled dinner without resorting to circus antics. And keep your curled skewers for light, room-temperature fare – you can easily fit 1-2 on your grill and have plenty for appetizers.
Curved Kebab Skewers – Sur la Table – www.surlatable.com
Stainless-Steel Sliding Skewers – Williams-Sonoma – www.williams-sonoma.com