Should I Soak Wooden Kebab Skewers in Water Before Cooking?

Kebab meat skewers
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Question: Should I Soak Wooden Kebab Skewers in Water Before Cooking?

I always hear about having to soak wooden skewers prior to grilling or broiling. Do I have to do this extra step? I am a busy mom and sometimes just don't have the time to soak them. What happens if I don't soak my skewers in water before cooking? Will it harm my family?

Answer: There is a debate in the cooking community about whether it is necessary to soak wooden skewers in water prior to grilling or broiling in the oven.

Some say it's absolutely needed and others claim its a wasted step. So, who should we believe?

I can tell you that when I use wooden skewers, I always soak them. Soaking them can prevent them from catching on fire, which ultimately leads to all your meat and veggies falling to the bottom of the grill. It also prevents splintering of the skewer -- no one wants to eat a kebab and get a splinter in their tongue! Yes, the ends of the skewer will probably become charred, even if you soak them, but this gives the dish a little aesthetic character in my opinion!

An alternative to soaking skewers would be to use stainless steel or metal skewers. They do not require any soaking and can be reused. Stainless steel skewers can be found easily online and in stores. Look for them in the kitchen utensil aisle or in the warmer months, they are usually located by the grill accessories. I do warn that they are more expensive then wooden skewers, but in my experience, worth every single penny.

Plus, they are cost effective because you can get years of use out of them. Cooking sprays work well with this type of skewer, making removal or sliding of the meats and vegetables easy. No more tugging and breaking the skewer while doing so! 

Kebab Recipes

Here are some ideas for some easy kebab recipes.

Remember that wooden or stainless steel skewers will work, no matter what type of kebab you are making. For kebabs using heavier types of meat and vegetables, I would definitely use stainless steel skewers because they are easier to work with while grilling. Turning skewers can be difficult with wooden skewers when threaded with heavy meats and veggies. I have had wooden skewers break while turning. Of course, stainless steel ormetal skewers will not break while turning.

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