Eating food off of sticks is particularly fun in the summer months, and throwing a bunch of kebabs on the grill is an easy way to make that happen. But skewers made of bamboo can split or char, and burnt splinters are not appetizing. A little soak can help, but one has to remember to soak them. To prevent an embarrassing bone-dry skewer moment, just soak a bunch ahead of time and freeze them.
Soaking your bamboo skewers in warm water does two things: makes them more pliable and helps cut down on the charring. I say “cut down,” because even a soaked skewer can burn on a super-hot grill, but placing a piece of meat or bit of vegetable on the tip can keep at least one side from burning. (You can also wrap a piece of foil around the “handle” end, though those can fall off if not wrapped tightly enough.) But a damp skewer is definitely more pliable, and just a 30-minute soak in warm water can keep your sticks from splitting.
Could you buy metal skewers and skip all this? Yes, but I’ve found it’s hard to buy enough metal skewers, particularly if I’m making a lot of skewers for a bunch of people. (Remember parties?)
To prep a bunch of skewers for later use, fill a shallow pan or dish with warm water, and let those babies soak for half an hour. Fish ‘em out of the pan, shake off any excess water, and place them in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Place the bag in the freezer, and grab the skewers as needed throughout grilling season.
G/O Media may get a commission