soaking, kebab, sticks, skewers, grill

Daily Wisdom: Soak Your Skewers

Chicken and vegetable broth can impart more flavor.

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TODAY'S TOPIC: SHOULD YOU SOAK SKEWERS BEFORE GRILLING?

THE GIST

When it comes to preparing kebabs, there are differing opinions on whether or not to soak skewers in water before throwing them on the grill or in the oven. While many experts say it's necessary to prevent burning, others argue that since most of the surface is covered with food, it's fine to use them straight out of the package since they will be ready by the time the ends start to char.  

EXPERT INSIGHT

I recommend soaking in water for 20 to 30 minutes: It’s an easy habit that doesn’t have a negative impact on the nutrient composition or the food safety of what I’m cooking. If you choose not to soak wooden skewers before cooking, be warned: flimsy ones will burn both on the grill and in the oven. This is why it is important to purchase thick bamboo or other sturdy wooden skewers that can hold up to the heat. Still, keep an eye out and if you do find the food starting to heavily char on the grill (which is dangerous since carcinogenic compounds can form), then slightly turn down the heat or move them to a lower-heat area on your grill.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Skewering is an easy way to incorporate delicious and healthy protein, fruit, and vegetables into a healthy eating plan. To impart more flavor, soak wooden skewers in chicken or vegetable broth. Otherwise, invest in metal ones that will last longer; just be sure to handle them with care as they can get extra hot.