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How do you prevent skewers from burning?

August 25, 2023 4 min read

How do you prevent skewers from burning? - Maria's Condo

Whether you're preparing succulent kebabs or a variety of veggies for a BBQ, using skewers can be a fantastic way to grill. However, a common issue many outdoor culinary enthusiasts face is the skewers burning. This guide aims to provide solutions and techniques to prevent skewers from burning, ensuring your grilling experience is hassle-free.


1. Understanding the Skewer Material

The first step in preventing your skewers from burning is understanding the material you're using. The type of skewer you choose can have a significant impact on how it withstands heat.

1.1 Bamboo Skewers

Contrary to what one might assume, bamboo skewers are not the same as wooden skewers. Bamboo, a type of plant, is more resistant to fire than most types of wood. While bamboo skewers can still ignite and burn when exposed to high heat, they are less likely to do so compared to their wooden counterparts.

1.2 Wooden Skewers

Wooden skewers, although widely used, are prone to burn when exposed to high temperatures. If not properly prepared, wooden skewers can quickly turn to ash, causing your food to fall through the grate and onto your charcoal or wood.

1.3 Metal Skewers

Metal skewers, typically made of steel or aluminum, are naturally resistant to burning. They are more expensive than both wood and bamboo skewers, but they are reusable and could save you money in the long run. However, they lack the added flavor that wood or bamboo skewers can provide.

2. The Importance of Skewer Thickness

The thickness of your skewers can also affect their susceptibility to burning. Thicker skewers are less likely to burn than thinner ones. This is because their larger volume requires higher temperatures to burn than thinner skewers. Although you might need to spend more on thicker, heavy-duty bamboo skewers, it's a worthwhile investment to help you create delicious grilled kebabs without the fear of them burning.

3. The Technique of Skewering Food

When preparing your kebabs, try to cover the entire skewers with food. Leaving any part of the skewers exposed increases the risk of it catching fire. The food acts as insulation for your skewers, protecting them from the direct heat of the grill. Even if the very ends of the skewers burn and turn black, the rest of the skewers should remain intact.

4. Moderating the Use of Cooking Wood or Charcoal

The amount of cooking wood or charcoal you use can influence the likelihood of your skewers burning. More cooking wood or charcoal generates more heat, which may ignite your skewers. To prevent this, start with a small amount of cooking wood or charcoal, adding more as needed. If your grill has a thermometer, use it to monitor the internal temperature and determine when to add more cooking wood or charcoal.

5. The Soaking Method

A commonly recommended method to make your bamboo or wooden skewers more resistant to burning is by soaking them in water or fruit juice before adding food.

5.1 How to Soak Skewers

To soak your skewers, fill a large dish with water or fruit juice and add your skewers. Ensure that the skewers are completely submerged. You can place a heavy object on top of the skewers to keep them underwater. Allow them to soak for at least an hour, or even overnight for best results. After soaking, remove the skewers from the dish and add your food.

5.2 The Benefit of Soaking

Soaking doesn't make the skewers hold a significant amount of moisture, but it creates a moist exterior that protects them from burning. However, it's worth noting that some people find soaking unnecessary as it may not completely prevent the skewers from charring.

6. Flipping Kebabs Carefully

When grilling kebabs, flipping them is essential to ensure even cooking on both sides. However, you must be cautious when flipping your kebabs to avoid breaking the skewers. Avoid grabbing the ends of the skewers as they are more likely to break due to high heat exposure. Instead, use a pair of tongs to carefully lift your skewers by the middle and flip them.

7. Utilizing a Grill Basket

Using a grill basket is another effective technique to prevent your skewers from burning. Instead of placing your kebabs directly on the cooking grate, place them in a grill basket. The metal basket acts as a barrier between your kebabs and the grill, reducing the chances of your skewers burning. However, you need to ensure your grill basket is large enough to accommodate the length of your skewers.

8. The Aluminum Foil Technique

A lesser-known trick to prevent skewers from burning is using aluminum foil. This technique involves covering a part of your grill grate with a double layer of foil, leaving room over the coals for the food while the skewers rest over the aluminum foil. This method allows your food to cook without your skewers burning and also enables you to turn your skewers without burning your hands.

9. Storing Soaked Skewers

For frequent grillers, you might find it beneficial to soak the entire package of bamboo skewers all at once. After soaking, drain them well, place them in a sealable plastic bag, and store them in the freezer. They'll keep just fine, and you'll be able to get your kabobs on the grill faster.

10. Reusable Metal Skewers

If you prefer a more straightforward approach, consider investing in metal skewers. They will never catch on fire and are reusable, saving you time and money in the long run. However, remember that metal skewers become very hot, so use heat-proof gloves when removing them from the grill.

While grilling using skewers can be a fun culinary endeavor, it can be frustrating if your skewers burn. By understanding the type of skewers you're using, preparing them properly, and using the right grilling techniques, you can prevent your skewers from burning and enjoy a hassle-free grilling experience.


  1. Cutting Edge Firewood
  2. Cook Plant Meditate
  3. WikiHow
  4. MyRecipes
  5. The Spruce Eats
  6. The Calgary Herald

Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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