Upgrade Your Skewer Game For Easier Grilled Shrimp

Since the Persians first started making shish kebabs hundreds of years ago, the art of eating meat on sticks has become a culinary practice the world over. Whether you stack your skewers with chicken, beef, seafood, veggies, or any countless combination of ingredients, this is one of the most convenient ways to chow down. And skewering food doesn't just make for mess-free munching — it can also make cooking food a whole lot easier. For example, it can be a pain to grill shrimp since they're so small and cook so quickly. Take too long trying to fish a fallen shrimp out from the charcoals and the rest of the crustaceans will end up burnt. But with a skewer, you can cook multiple shrimp at once and ensure they get an equal char. To really grill like a master, use two skewers to stake the shrimp instead of one.


As you may notice when you first hold a skewer of shrimp above the grill, when you try to flip the stick over, the shrimp tend to maintain their orientation and spin so that the uncooked side stays facing up. Even worse, a shrimp may slip off the end of the kebab. To combat this unfortunate scenario, use another skewer to add extra stability. Now that the shrimp don't have a single axis, they can't rotate without some external force.

Proper skewering technique

After you've safely defrosted your shrimp and everything has been cleaned and seasoned, grab some skewers and get ready to start poking. How many shrimp go on each skewer will depend on how you want them cooked. The farther apart the shrimp are, the more well done they'll be. Skewer the shrimp through the base of the abdomen, on the opposite side of the tail. To fit more onto the skewer, make sure all the shrimp are facing the same direction. Make sure to leave enough room at the end of the skewer so that you can safely handle it or grab it with tongs while you're grilling. Then, poke another skewer through the bottom half of the abdomen, as close to the tail as you can get while still giving the skewer enough meat to cut through. Check that everything is secure, and start grilling. This skewering method can work for other grilled food too, like prawns, large cuts of meat, or even slippery vegetables.


Before placing your shrimp kebabs on the grill, drizzle them with olive oil to stop them from getting stuck to the grill. Afterwards, the shrimp are ready to be included in your favorite recipe, like these delicious grilled shrimp tacos.

Choosing the right skewer

Using a quality skewer is crucial to making well cooked, tasty kebabs, and that goes double with a two-skewer operation. Skewers are typically made of either wood (usually bamboo) or metal. Bamboo skewers are single use and can be tossed away, which makes them convenient for crowds. However, wood skewers have to be soaked in water before use so they don't catch on fire, and run the risk of having splinters that may get in your food. Metal skewers, on the other hand, are conductive and provide a secondary heat source to whatever is cooking on them, which is why they are generally preferred by professionals. Just don't forget to use gloves when handling the hot metal.


If you do opt for metal skewers, brush them down with olive oil so that you can slide morsels on and off of them effortlessly. Also, make sure your skewers stay nice and sharp. Otherwise, forcibly threading them through food can make a real mess of things. Once your skewer tips start to dull, it's time for a new set. As kebab chef Shamim Popal told Food & Wine, a wide, flat skewer is best "as it helps retain the juices while also cooking the meat evenly for any minced meat." For extra comfort, you can even invest in a set of skewers that have wooden handles.