Favorite Things: Stainless Skewers
Grilling days never really end in my world. Like some of you, I will brave the cold well into the deep chill of winter to get my grilled meats. But dashing in and out in the cold temps is a far cry from where we are, thankfully, now–leisurely standing around the grill in the sun while the hot flames smoke and spit and char up dinner.
Grill tools can run the gambit, but there are only a few that seem truly necessary: long tongs, spatula and fork are key, and from there I’ve come to appreciate solid, strong skewers (shish) for shish kebabs. I love the stainless steel double spoke skewers I have from Williams-Sonoma, and not just because they sport an iconic pineapple. Heavy metal skewers fall right in line with heavy duty sheet pans–their heft contributes to their ability to get the job done.
My skewers hold meat and vegetables in a vice grip that won’t let go, so I can turn them with tongs and not fear much damage to the pretty thread job. The meat and vegetables stay right where I put them without twisting, which allows for more even cooking. It does take some mental will-power to resist the temptation to just grab the—very hot–end of the metal skewer with a bare hand and turn it.
Wood or bamboo skewers are not impossible, but they can burn up on the tips and make an all around mess of your well-laid grill plans. If you’re using wood or bamboo, soak the skewers in water for a good 30 minutes before threading on the meat and vegetables. This way they’ll have a fighting chance for survival when they come up against the flame.
I’ve had my pineapple skewers around for a few years and I don’t see them any longer at Williams-Sonoma, but I do see other hefty stainless options, plus new and improved skewers that I can’t wait to try, like these flexible threader skewers. Even though they are bendable (great for marinating), flexible skewers look to me to be heavy duty nonetheless.
Whatever skewers you use, get ’em out if you haven’t already. Shish kebabs are such a delicious way to cook meats and vegetables, giving you more of that flavorful surface area and a beautiful presentation.
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Wood skewers are a curse on mankind. Stainless is the only way to go.
I loved those Williams-Sonoma skewers! There are a few alternative options out there; here are a couple:
I still have the one’s my parent’s used , single skewers, with a wooden handle. They work well and bring back alot of memorie’s.
Maureen, you are a keeper of our heritage–once again, a beautiful column, charming and evocative: my Dad was a steel man–worked 64 years full time–half in PA and half in CA. One day, he picked up some scrap 1/8′ steel bar, cut them into 24″ lengths, put points on one end and a closed ‘u’ hook at the other end for a handle and lovingly brought them home to my dear Mother as a surprise. She used them constantly, of course for lahamishwe (sp???). And, now, I have them in my home. And one day, they will go to my niece and then to her sons’ families.
Have you, or will you, publish a book(s) of your columns? Your words help define who we are as shaped by our popular culture thru food and family ways and would be a gift to all the generations who follow us as they move thru time here in America and further away from Mothers, Situs (sp?) and Aunties more closely connected to the immigrant generations.
Maureen, I love your pineapple topped skewers–did you know the pineapple was the symbol of hospitality in Colonial America?
Yes, love that symbol!