How to Keep Your Meats From Flipping Around on the Skewer

How to Keep Your Meats From Flipping Around on the Skewer
Photo: Prostock-studio, Shutterstock

Eating meat off a stick is a unique and elegant pleasure. Grilled, bite-sized pieces of beef, lamb, chicken, or seafood served on a skewer: convenient, delicious, and perfect for holding in one hand while you hold a cocktail (or beer) in the other.

But the stick can present a few challenges during the grilling process. If you are using a single round, wooden stick, your meat can and will rotate on its axis when you flip the skewer. This is obviously a problem, as the goal is to get direct heat — and a good sear with lots of browning — on both sides, and you can’t do that if the meat keeps sliding around. Luckily, there are two easy solutions.

Get some non-circular skewers

Without a smooth, circular axis, your meat cubes and shrimp won’t have anything to rotate around, which is why most reusable metal skewers are either triangle-shaped or flat. Either shape will keep your food still, so it won’t have a chance to spin back around when you flip the skewer over. Plus you can use them again and again, which is arguably less wasteful (please do not email me about the environmental impact of the manufacturing process for reusable skewers).

Or use two wooden skewers

If you don’t have time to order metal skewers before your next kebab sesh or are working with someone else’s setup, you can still keep your meat from flipping by using two round skewers. As Reddit user angelicusew illustrates in their Reddit post, this eliminates the single axis, making it impossible for your meat to invert itself when you rotate the skewer.

Screenshot: Claire LowerScreenshot: Claire Lower

Either tactic will keep your little meat cubes firmly in place, ensuring that they get properly seared on both sides, resulting in expertly browned, flavorful meat on a stick. (Because no one wants unevenly cooked, bland meat on a stick.)

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