Skewers

Published July 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.

We got grilling with six different sets to find the best of the bunch.

Overview:

We’ve been burned by skewers before. Bamboo and wood scorches; super-thin double prongs are flimsy; smooth, rounded prongs let food spin in place when you’re trying to flip it. Still, manufacturer innovations promise improvement, so we gathered six sets ($6.85 to $29.95), including our previous no-frills favorite, and threaded them with chicken-vegetable kebabs; scallops; and kofte, a kebab of ground meat and herbs. Metal was best, but solid tab handles on one set retained heat, so serving was a burn risk; loop handles on our two favorite models dispersed heat quickly. One model’s “heat-resistant” plastic slider melted. Double-pronged skewers splayed out awkwardly, so threading them through food was a struggle. Their thickness also tore tender scallops. Curved rods occupied too much grill real estate, tangled easily, and only let us turn food 180 degrees. We’ll stick with our former champ: Not only does it have the smartest design, but it’s also the cheapest.

We’ve been burned by skewers before. Bamboo and wood scorches; super-thin double prongs are flimsy; smooth, rounded prongs let food spin in place when you’re trying to flip it. Still, manufacturer innovations promise improvement, so we gathered six sets ($6.85 to $29.95), including our previous no-frills favorite, and threaded them with chicken-vegetable kebabs; scallops; and kofte, a kebab of ground meat and herbs. Metal was best, but solid tab handles on one set retained heat, so serving was a burn risk; loop handles on our two favorite models dispersed heat quickly. One model’s “heat-resistant” plastic slider melted. Double-pronged skewers splayed out awkwardly, so threading them through food was a struggle. Their thickness also tore tender scallops. Curved rods occupied too much grill real estate, tangled easily, and only let us turn food 180 degrees. We’ll stick with our former champ: Not only does it have the smartest design, but it’s also the cheapest.

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