Skewers have been a cooking tradition since the early Stone Age. Yep, stabbing food with a stick and cooking it over a flame is a prehistoric throwback. (Makes sense, right?) And if something has endured for 300,000 years, it must be good.
The best part about skewering: The options are endless. Red meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, cheese, even bread are all worthy of a spot on the spear. Skewering is a particularly great choice when cooking for a group with different palate preferences. Each individual can mix and match ingredients and control portion size.
Plus, skewers are super fun to eat and easy to manage on the grill. Getting an even-on-all-sides sear can be achieved with a simple spin.
Below you’ll find recipes for our favorite skewers to toss on the grill.
Right on skew: 11 skewers and kabobs to rock your barbecue
- Grilled jerk chicken skewers with mango salsa
- Lemongrass pork skewers with peas and rice noodle salad
- Honey, lime, and Sriracha chicken skewers
- Korean short rib kebabs
- Middle Eastern lamb kebabs
- Grilled shrimp boil skewers
- Turkish köfte
- Salmon and asparagus kebabs
- Spiced sweet potato and bacon skewers
- Grilled halloumi and vegetable kebabs
- Grilled bruschetta skewers
Skewers can feature all sorts of ingredients, but sometimes you can’t quite fit a whole dinner onto a bamboo stick. That’s where this tasty recipe comes in. It pairs zesty lemongrass pork with two types of pea pods and vermicelli noodles for a complete, satisfying meal. It’ll have you begging “satay, stay!”
Beef up your next grill session with a taste of Korean barbecue. Make sure to thinly slice the short rib to take full advantage of the kalbi-inspired marinade, and ensure maximum exposure to the heat.
José Andrés and his team at popular D.C. restaurant Zaytinya offer their traditional take on this Middle Eastern all-timer. A simple yogurt-based marinade yields plenty of flavor and exceptionally tender cubes of lamb.
Two summer culinary pastimes converge with this easy-to-prepare spin on a coastal classic. Shrimp and kielbasa do the heavy lifting but a squeeze of citrus and a heavy hand of Old Bay seasoning are essential.
If you want a change of pace from your standard burger bash, consider köfte, one of Turkey’s most popular street foods. Head to your local hardware store and grab a few bricks to prop up the ground lamb skewers on the grill (and keep them around for making brick chicken later in the week).
Salmon fillets can be unwieldy when barbecued, but cut into bite-sized pieces and placed on a stick, they turn effortless.
Here, the classic combo of soy sauce and brown sugar offers a perfect sweet and savory balance and a beautiful caramelization on the fish. Alternate with slivers of fresh asparagus spears for a nice crunch and a vibrant visual touch.
For a taste of sugar and spice and everything nice (including bacon, which is always nice), try these autumn-flavored skewers. Make it a meal with some easy skillet cornbread or a salad chock full of seasonal fall ingredients.
These vegetarian skewers will expand your grilled cheese horizons. Sturdy and salty Greek halloumi doesn’t melt over a flame, it just gets soft, chewy, and irresistible. Pair it with your favorite veggies and you won’t miss the meat.
When it comes to cookouts, bread is usually relegated to bun duty — but here it takes center stage along with juicy, blistered cherry tomatoes and a schmear of cheesy pesto. If you haven’t already, here’s an opportunity to try baking your own fresh loaf of sourdough.
Our prehistoric ancestors were onto something: Eating food on a stick is just more fun. (C’mon, you can’t deny it.) Not only do skewers make you feel like a kid again, they’re super versatile and hella easy to whip up when barbecue season calls. Chop, thread, grill, done!