Do you soak bamboo skewers before grilling with them?

How to use bamboo Skewer Sticks

Unlike metal skewers, bamboo skewers do need to be soaked before you put them on the grill. Here’s how to soak bamboo skewers.

  • Fill a pan with water and place the bamboo skewers in the water. Make sure the skewers are fully submerged.
  • Allow the skewers to soak for a minimum of 10 minutes and up to 1-2 hours.
  • For a gourmet presentation and an added depth of flavour to your grilled meals, experiment with soaking skewers in wine or juice.
  • Another tip for frequent grillers: When you buy a pack of bamboo skewers – soak them all, then drain well, place them in a sealable plastic bag and stick them in the freezer. They’ll keep just fine, and you’ll be able to get your goods on the grill quicker.
  • In particular, vegetarians and vegans will find skewers helpful for holding tofu, paneer, vegetarian kababs in place on the grill.

Skewer Features to Avoid

In the ever-escalating battle for skewer supremacy (it’s a real war, trust me), manufacturers fit all kinds of bells and whistles and interesting design decisions into their products. Most of them end up making the skewers less useful. Here are a few screwy skewer quirks to skip:

  • Fancy handles, whether wood, plastic, or metal, should be avoided. Plastic and wood can’t be used over high heat, while thick metal handles retain too much heat, making all of them useless.
  • Double prongs seem like a good idea in order to prevent food from rotating. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to thread food onto fixed double prongs without bending them. Double prongs also increase the minimum size of the piece of food you can effectively skewer. I’ll just stick with using two single-pronged skewers when I need to double up.
  • Nonstick coatings are never durable, can’t be used over high heat, and, honestly, who has trouble with food sticking to a skewer?
  • Food pushers—typically a metal or plastic tab at the bottom of the skewer, designed so that you can slide it up and push food off the end—are bulky and don’t do anything that a set of tongs or a bench scraper (or, call me crazy, your fingers) can’t do.
  • Curved or flexible blades are perhaps the silliest invention among the bunch. Those with fixed curved blades are difficult to flip and make it impossible to cook your food on every side. Flexible, wire-style skewers make it impossible to turn food evenly, and look cool only to fans of Ivy’s snake sword from Soulcalibur. (P.S. You won’t look cool to anyone else as you fumble around the grill with your meat necklace.)

Video

How to Soak

If you choose to soak your bamboo skewers, you only need a pan large enough to hold them, warm water, and for at least 20 minutes. First, fill a pan with warm water and place the bamboo skewers in the water. Make sure the skewers are fully submerged. Allow the skewers to soak for a minimum of 20 minutes, and up to 3 to 4 hours.

For a gourmet presentation and an added depth of flavor to your grilled meals, you can experiment with soaking skewers in wine or juice. Just be sure to choose something that will complement the meat and vegetables you are using for the kabobs.

Another tip for frequent grillers is to soak the entire package of bamboo skewers all at once so they are ready when you are. Drain well, place in a sealable plastic bag, and stick them in the freezer. They’ll keep just fine, and you’ll be able to get your kabobs on the grill that much quicker.

FAQs

Do I have to soak skewers before grilling?

Only wood or bamboo skewers need to be soaked (when dry wood is exposed to heat or flame, it can burn). Soak your wood skewers for about 30 minutes before threading food onto them to avoid charring.

Can I put skewers in the oven?

Skewers can absolutely go into the oven. If you have skewers made of wood or bamboo, make sure to soak before cooking, as you would prior to grilling.

Can I put skewers in the air fryer?

Skewers can be used in an air fryer. Depending on what kind of air fryer you have, your primary concern will be finding a length of skewer that can fit inside the air fryer’s basket. If using wood or bamboo skewers, again, make sure to soak them prior to threading food on.

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