Making Kebabs? Follow Alton Brown's Genius Grilling Advice

The key to a decent kebab on a bamboo skewer has to do with water, and Alton Brown will walk you through it.

Grilled Skewers
Photo: Mizina/Getty Images

If you're into assembling kabobs as a regular course of your grilling life, we've got some input. With the help of Alton Brown, we have the perfect hack for bamboo kabob sticks. But the question remains: should you kabob with metal or wood?

The Perils of Bamboo

Ruining a bamboo skewer, or every bamboo skewer in the house, by igniting them into full flame on the grill is easy to do. We've all been there, and we've all heard the tip about soaking a wooden skewer prior to loading it up and placing it on the grill. This is smart, if timing is not an issue.

Sometimes, you want to get food on the table in a hurry and you don't have time to soak bamboo skewers in water for 10-to-30 minutes to ensure they don't disintegrate in the flames. Thankfully, Alton Brown has a savvy tip that will prevent delaying mealtime due to skewer soaking, and you will always be ready to skewer it up.

Listen to Biscuits & Jam For Alton Brown's Tip

Brown's strategy for skipping the bamboo skewer soaking step before you're ready to cook is simple yet effective: "Keep skewers in a recycled water bottle full to the top with water. That way the skewers will always be ready for grilling. Just give the bottle a little squeeze and they'll pop right up," Brown wrote in an Instagram post that has garnered nearly 5,000 likes.

Clearly, we'll need to toast the Good Eats: Reloaded star at our next Kabob Night. Thank you for the genius intel, Mr. Brown.

Why Choose Metal Skewers?

There are multiple reasons to choose metal skewers for your next kabob encounter. Primarily, simply consider the lack of waste. Reusable metal skewers can be part of your kitchen inventory for the long haul. What we like, too, is that the selection of metal will actually aid in cooking your kabobs more thoroughly. The metal heats up and works from the inside to bring your meal along.

To properly clean metal skewers, use aluminum foil and clean the skewer so that any rust that might be starting on the surface is removed. Clean them with vegetable oil and let the oil soak a bit on the metal. Store them vertically hanging if possible in an area that does not allow dust to accumulate on the oil that you layered onto the skewer.

More Tips For Using Metal Skewers

Vegetable oil is useful when cleaning skewers, but also helps the food that you have impaled come off easier when the cooking is complete. Simply apply some oil to the metal prior to adding your ingredients.

15 Minutes After Guests Arrive
Grill kabobs and corn. Metal skewers are available at amazon.com for as little as $3 per package of six.Get the Recipes:. Photo: Jennifer Davick, Prop Styling: Amy Burke, Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

Do you plan to experiment with ground meat on your skewer? Be sure to purchase metal skewers that are flat. This will help your ground meat to hang onto the skewer better.

The skewers you purchase should be stainless steel, and it's good to have general tips about caring for stainless steel, especially if you want your kitchen toolkit to last for a long time. There are a handful of cleaning products you should never use on stainless steel:

  1. Harsh abrasives
  2. Scouring powders
  3. Steel wool
  4. Bleach and other chlorine products
  5. Glass cleaners that contain ammonia, such as Windex
  6. Tap water, especially if yours tends to be hard water (use clean distilled or filtered H2O instead)
  7. Oven cleaners

No matter your choice in skewers, we hope your grilling unfolds beautifully.

Was this page helpful?