The 2 Essential Tips You Need When Grilling With Skewers This Summer

Meat and veggie kebabs
Meat and veggie kebabs - Rudisill/Getty Images

Every summer bucket list includes a good ol' fashioned cookout, but why stick to the same ol' burgers and hot dogs? Make this season the summer of skewers by serving your ingredients on a stick, kebab-style. Using skewers is a great way to spice up your normal grilling routine, but make sure you know these two essential skewering tips before you take a stab at it.

Now that you're taking skewering seriously, say goodbye to the traditional wooden kind and bypass those fancy metal versions — instead, go for something a bit more flavorful. Our first tip is to experiment with sticks of rosemary and other flavorful options as replacements for your old bamboo skewers, putting some emphasis on the skewers themselves. Of course, you can't forget about your ingredients, especially how to prep them. Our second tip advises you to marinade and season your ingredients before skewering them to avoid a grilling disaster and to keep your flavor intact.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Tip 1: Spice Up Your Skewers

Meat kebabs on rosemary skewers
Meat kebabs on rosemary skewers - Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

While wooden skewers are traditional and metal skewers are reliable, neither enhances your kebabs' flavor, nor do they kick your food's presentation up a notch. Instead, try replacing your old skewers with rosemary stalks, which not only look fancier but infuse your ingredients with extra flavor as your kebabs cook. This trick is effective because the rosemary stems are strong enough to hold your protein and veggies, plus they provide an extra herbal, smoky flavor.

If you're going for a sweeter taste — say you're making fruit or dessert kebabs on the grill — you can use sugar cane stalks as replacement skewers. They'll have a similar effect as the rosemary, transferring their taste into your ingredients, both from the inside and through their smoke. You can also use sugar cane with proteins, especially if you're using a sour marinade and want to balance it out with some sweetness. Using any combination of these will be perfect for a multi-course make-your-own kebab party.

Note that regardless of what kind of replacement you use, you'll still want to soak these new skewers in water for at least 20 minutes before putting them on the grill. This protects your skewers (and ingredients) from catching fire and also allows their smoke to fully integrate into your kebab.

Tip 2: Season Your Ingredients Before Skewering

Raw chicken with veggie kebabs
Raw chicken with veggie kebabs - Kelly vanDellen/Shutterstock

It's no secret that the key to a flavorful barbecue is all about the seasonings. Whether you're using a dry rub or a rich marinade, you'll want to make sure your ingredients are properly coated — the operative word here being "ingredients," not your entire kebab.

This tip may seem obvious, but you should avoid marinating and seasoning your kebabs after they're assembled, especially the skewer itself. Instead, season your ingredients beforehand. Your skewer should be a clean work surface and act as a vehicle for your ingredients, not as a means of sauce-carrying — after all, you're not eating the stick. While it may seem more productive to just sprinkle your seasoning over your whole kebabs or to dunk the whole assembly into a vat full of marinade, these methods aren't the way to go. Not only do you miss the opportunity to cover every nook and cranny of your protein and veggies, but by leaving sauce on the skewer, you increase the risk of burning, which will waste your marinade. Remember, when grilling meat skewers, your setup is everything.

So, instead of taking the easy, dangerous, and less flavorful way out, take the time to properly season each kebab ingredient before assembling. Each bite will have a better, more evenly distributed taste, and you'll increase your chances of reusing your skewers during your next cookout. With these tips, you can welcome this year's grilling season with kebabs for the whole family.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.