How Do You Get Meat to Stick to a Skewer?

Last Updated on May 24th, 2023

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In a word, sauces might not be the only way in which to secure the meats and other foods on the kabob skewers, but it certainly is an effective one. Truth be told, there might be more than a dozen different techniques and an indefinite amount of opinions on the topic. 

The thing about skewers is that they are designed to puncture and have the food slide off easily after cooking. Picture cooking marshmallows over a campfire; then replace that with a hot dog. Ask yourself what did you have to do to keep that dog from sliding off?

Chicken skewer before BBQ - How Do You Get Meat to Stick to a Skewer?

Why Does it Happen?

The most common reason for meat to slide off will be a slick surface and, more often than not, point the skewer down at the heat source or ground. 

The tricks are in securing the meat using various means. If your recipe does not include sauces like barbeque, consider tying small lines of rope to secure the meat in place during cooking. 

Most meats have a natural resistance to being punctured. Call it an evolutionary development by mammals’ muscles to deflect damage done by claws and teeth. 

This natural resistance will be the key. By going against the grain of muscle fibers, in effect, you will have a more secure hold on the kabob stick. 


What Makes the Meat Stick to a Skewer?

Besides small ties of points, sticky sauces, or the natural fibers’ resistance to puncture, will be in the preparation and materials used to make the skewer. 

Many chefs recommend that you soak your skewers for a minimum of thirty minutes. This will not only help prevent any chance of the wood burning but also be a main means of preventing foods from burning or falling off the skewer. 

The wood expands, and fiber hairs of the wood grains rise, similar to when a human experiences’ goose bumps’ or has the hair stand up on their arms. These small fibers are major contributors to the cooking process’s overall sticking to the skewer part. 


Is it Less Likely to Happen with a Wooden Skewer?

The thing about metal skewers is that they are slick in nature. Besides putting dinks into the shafts of the skewers, this usually equates to foods easily sliding off the pointed end. 

On the other hand, when you use the wooden variety of skewers, you will find that with a simple soaking process, food loss from slippage is brought to a minimum.

This will be the main reason you do not see ‘metal skewers’ in the outdoor sections or outlet stores. They are not ideal for more than chopsticks for backpackers or your grandmother’s needlework. 


How to Tell if There’s Too Much Meat on a Skewer?

This will be a kind of trial-and-error scientific experiment to determine the limits of the skewers being used. 

One way to tell is if the piece at the end of the skewer feels loose or slides around, swinging about the utensil, which is a sure tell that the food will not stay secured to the skewer. 

After a while, there will be a limit to the number of food items that will even fit on the skewer. To avoid putting too many ingredients on a single skewer, be conservative and remove two instead of one to be certain. 


Some Tips to Make Sure it won’t Fall Off


  • Consider tying the food onto the skewer – using simple culinary lines of twine or other string can be used to literally tie the meats on there. 


  • Soak the skewers – even overnight soaking will cause more word grains to lift, providing a more secure hold on the meets and other food ingredients. 


  • Limit the number of items – when you slide the kabob ingredients onto the skewer, be conservative and leave room at the pointy end.


  • Puncture the meat against the grain – in every meat, there is a certain way the muscle fiber runs. Going perpendicular to these will provide a more secure hold.


Final Thoughts on How do You get Meat to Stick to a Skewer

Kabobs are a wonderful way to cook up some fresh ingredients to be eaten right from the stick as an entertaining way to feed guests or family or just to cook up some meats and veggies for some recipes for the week. 

Whatever your reason for cooking with the kabob method, using a wooden skewer will be the more surefire way to make sure the food being cooked does not come free from the utensil. 

These are also fun to use when camping with friends or family. Have the kids cook up some marshmallows for s’mores or have some kabobs premade wrapped in tin foil to be placed in the fire. 


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