Published July 1, 2006.
Are all metal skewers created equal?
Testing skewers initially seemed a bit far-fetched: How much "performance" difference can there really be between one pointed stick and another? But once we'd surveyed the field—and tried out the designs with our recipes for Grilled Shrimp and Grilled Onions—our attitude changed. It really is possible to buy bad skewers.
First of all, forget what most grilling books say: If you're cooking over very high heat, bamboo skewers will burn and break apart—no matter how long you soak them in water beforehand. We had better luck with metal skewers. They may cost more, but they're reusable and they can handle the heartiest kebabs without bending or breaking.
Not all metal skewers are created equal, however. We had a tough time flipping food on round skewers--the skewer itself turned just fine, but the food stayed in place. Flat skewers proved much more effective. Double-pronged skewers turned the food, but some were flimsy and most had a tendency to twist out of their parallel configuration. Other models took the sturdy concept too far, with bulky skewers that severed shrimp in half.
Our choice: Any flat skewers will do, although we found one set we particularly liked for its price and thickness.