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Are there skewer alternatives in BBQ?

August 25, 2023 4 min read

Are there skewer alternatives in BBQ? - Maria's Condo

Cooking on skewers is an age-old tradition, spanning across various cultures and cuisines. From Greek souvlaki to Indian tikkas, skewers have played a pivotal role in grilling and barbecuing. But what if you're in the mood for some deliciously charred kebabs and you realize you're out of skewers? Don't worry, we've got you covered. This comprehensive guide will walk you through some ingenious skewer alternatives, ensuring your BBQ plans remain unscathed.


1. Understanding Skewers

Before we delve into alternatives, let's understand what skewers are. Skewers are long, pointed rods, usually made from bamboo or metal, used to hold pieces of food together. They're often used for grilling or roasting meat, vegetables, or fruit chunks. Skewers are incredibly versatile, offering an easy and convenient way to cook bite-sized food over a fire or hot coals.

2. The Chopstick Solution

One of the most innovative and readily available skewer substitutes is the humble chopstick. Yes, those pairs of sticks used for eating in Asian cuisine can double up as skewers for grilling. However, it would be best if you soaked them in water for at least 30 minutes before using them on the grill to prevent them from burning

2.1 What foods are suited for chopstick skewering?

From chunks of chicken thighs and pork shoulder to a colorful mix of vegetables, chopsticks can handle a variety of foods. Since bamboo provides extra friction, ingredients are less likely to slip off the end or spin as you turn them.

2.2 Safety and Precautions

While using chopsticks as skewers is a nifty hack, it's essential to observe some safety precautions. Always soak your chopsticks in water before using them to prevent burning. Also, ensure to cover the entire chopstick with food to reduce the risk of burning.

3. Wooden Skewers and Toothpicks

Wooden skewers and toothpicks are other great skewer alternatives. They're usually made from bamboo and can be found in most homes. However, just like chopsticks, they need to be soaked in water before use to prevent them from catching fire on the grill.

3.1 Wood Skewer Preparations

Soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. For better results, you could soak them overnight.

3.2 Toothpicks as Mini Skewers

Toothpicks can also double up as mini skewers for bite-sized food items. They're perfect for appetizers or when you're making kebabs for kids. Remember to soak them in water before use.

4. Metal Skewers

Metal skewers are a more durable and reusable alternative to wooden skewers. They don't need to be soaked in water and are perfect for larger chunks of meat or vegetables.

4.1 Types of Metal Skewers

Metal skewers come in various shapes and sizes. Some have flat stems to stabilize ingredients on the skewer, preventing them from sliding or rotating while cooking

4.2 Using Metal Skewers Safely

While metal skewers are convenient, they can become incredibly hot during cooking. Always use tongs or an oven mitt to turn them and avoid direct contact with your skin.

5. Rosemary Stalks

Want to add a touch of creativity and flavor to your BBQ? Use rosemary stalks as skewers. The sturdy stems of this aromatic herb can be used to skewer meat and vegetables, infusing them with a subtle rosemary flavor as they cook.

6. Other Skewer Alternatives

Aside from the options mentioned above, there are several other skewer alternatives you can use. These include:

  • Aluminum Foil Packages: You can make little packets of foil to hold your food, ideal for delicate ingredients or smaller pieces that might fall through the grill grates.
  • Fruit Sticks: If you're grilling fruit or dessert kebabs, you could use sturdy fruit sticks like those from apples or pears.
  • Celery Sticks: For a healthy twist, use celery sticks as your skewers. They can add a nice crunch and fresh flavor to your kebabs.
  • Sugarcane Skewers: Sugarcane skewers can add a sweet touch to your BBQ. They're especially great for grilling seafood.

7. Grilling Without Skewers

If you don't have any skewers or skewer alternatives on hand, don't fret. You can still enjoy BBQ without them. For instance, you can make skewer-less kabobs by turning steak kabobs into an easy, weeknight sheet pan dinner1.

8. Skewer Cooking Tips

Now that we've covered the various skewer alternatives, let's look at some tips for cooking with skewers:

  • Marinate for Flavor: Marinating your ingredients before skewering them can significantly enhance their flavor.
  • Choose the Right Meat: Opt for meat that won't dry out easily when grilled, such as chicken thighs or pork shoulder.
  • Assemble the Kebabs: When assembling your kebabs, try to keep the pieces of food roughly the same size for even cooking.
  • Cook on Hot Grill: A hot grill ensures your kebabs will cook evenly and get those delicious char marks.

9. Skewer Alternatives for Other Cooking Methods

Skewer alternatives are not only useful for grilling. They can also be used in other cooking methods, such as baking, broiling, and air frying.

9.1 Oven Cooking

You can use either stainless steel or bamboo skewers in the oven. Remember to soak bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes before starting, and keep a close eye on them during cooking.

9.2 Air Frying

Air fryers are versatile cooking appliances that can also work with both stainless steel and bamboo skewers. If using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes (an hour is better) to keep them from burning1.

10. Conclusion

Whether you're in a pinch or just want to experiment, there are numerous skewer alternatives that you can use for your next BBQ. From chopsticks and toothpicks to rosemary stalks and metal skewers, you have a plethora of options at your disposal. So the next time you find yourself skewer-less, don't let it hinder your BBQ plans. Happy grilling!


Are there skewer alternatives in BBQ?
Which BBQ Skewers To Use

Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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