"Spiedie" Tradition. "In the triple-cities area of Binghamton, Johnson City and Endicott, New York, we don't see many 'kabobs,' but the word 'spiedie' (it's pronounced 'speedy') is well known.
"Spiedies are skewers of lamb, beef, pork, chicken or venison that are sold at meat markets and grocery stores and served at restaurants. There is even an annual Spiedie Fest each August."
—Norman Hammond, Endicott, New York
Food Art. "I'm a potter and elementary art teacher, so I love the use of color in food. I dreamed up a theme party called 'The Art of Kabobs,'
revolving around painting.
"I set out prints of some of my favorite paintings and spread out the food on a rainbow table cover. For serving dishes, I chose plastic paint palettes.
The menu included a variety of kabobs:
- "Raw vegetable kabobs, threaded on multicolored plastic paintbrushes, served with dill dip.
- "Bright fruit kabobs, also skewered on paintbrushes, served with yogurt dip.
- "Mini kabobs of three kinds of cheese threaded on 'sword' picks and served with baguette slices.
"Any leftovers can go in a fruit salad or vegetable stir-fry the next day."
—Anne Bowen, Swampscott, Massachusetts
Camp Kabob. "When I was a child, family camping was a tradition. On Saturday night, as the grills and campfires were started, my mother and aunts
would set up tables covered with all kinds of meat, from beef cubes and ham to hot dogs and ring bologna, all cut to place on skewers. There would also be a
variety of vegetables and plenty of pineapple available. Each person would be responsible for filling his or her own skewer.
"Since we no longer camp, this tradition now happens on Labor Day. It's the perfect way to end summer."
—Sandra Hunsberger Myers,
Family Assembly. "Last May, we prepared 260 kabobs for our family reunion, held at a retreat in Steelville, Missouri. We had a lot of fun getting
them together in assembly-line fashion ... and it took only about an hour.
"Each kabob was put together in identical fashion: pork loin, yellow or red pepper, turkey bacon, pineapple, chicken, mushroom, ham, green pepper, pineapple, mini smoky link, sweet onion and grape tomato.
"The owners of the retreat offered to grill them for us over a big open fire pit. The kabobs were the highlight of the 3-day reunion."
Fred Yoder, Salem, Missouri
Keep these tips in mind when preparing kabobs on the grill:
- Cut foods in uniform-size pieces.
- Don't bunch up the ingredients on the skewer. Leave a small space in between (1/4 inch) so each piece cooks thoroughly.
- Choose foods with similar cooking times, or add ingredients such as cherry tomatoes near the end of cooking time.
- Turn kabobs frequently and baste. For a quick marinade, choose bottled salad dressing, barbecue sauce or sweet-and-sour sauce.
- Remove food from skewers before serving, using a fork to slide off the ingredients gently.
Readers Share Ideas for Tip-Top Kabobs
When making kabobs, I thread a skewer with all the same ingredients. That way, all the pieces on each skewer cook for the same amount of time. For
serving, I remove the food from the skewers and place in a large bowl. My family can then pick and choose what they like.
—Rhonda Crowe, Victoria, British Columbia
I use rosemary stalks from my garden as skewers when I grill pieces of chicken. First, I remove some of the leaves by sliding my fingers down the stalk.
—Leslie Collins, Linthicum, Maryland
Before my family leaves for a camping trip, I prepare kabobs to be cooked over an open fire.
—Kellie Reid, Yale, Michigan
To keep wooden skewers from splintering or catching on fire, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.
—Arcee Martin, Cascade, Colorado
To prevent mushrooms from splitting when threading them onto skewers, first cover with boiling water. Let stand for 1 minute, drain and then thread onto
—Patricia Kile, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Thread shrimp through both ends to prevent them from spinning around on the skewers.
—Sharon Wilson, Afton, Virginia
A festive way to serve fruit kabobs is to place the skewer ends into half a melon.
—Robin Spires, Tampa, Florida
A simple way to prevent kabobs from sticking to the grill is to spray them with nonstick cooking spray before grilling.
—Bea Westphal, Slidell, Louisiana
For kid-friendly fruit kabobs, I replace the metal or wooden skewers with plastic straws when serving.
—Amy Elizabeth Smith, Pittsfield, Massachusetts
My 4-year-old son likes to make his own kabobs with pretzel sticks as the skewers.
—Sarah Gates, Lake Villa, Illinois
Use frozen or jarred pearl onions instead of fresh. They thread easily onto skewers.
—Lisa DeBoer, Fairmont, Minnesota
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