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Skewer Review

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    Posted: 18 October 2019 at 10:42

Meat on a stick! Is there anyone who doesn’t love it? Kababs, for centuries an iconic food style in Turkey, Persia, and the Mid-East, among other locales, have become a mainstay of American backyard grilling.

That’s the upside.  The downside: why, oh why, do we use those thin, usually round, wire skewers when making kababs.  They’re just not right for the job.  Foods tend to twist and turn on them, making even cooking all but impossible. And their relatively low mass means more time on the grill, because they don’t cook the food from the inside as well as the outside. 

The right design, used all over the countries east of the Mediterranean, are skewers that are wide and flat. This design all but eliminates the problems inherent in those made of wire. I discovered their virtues a number of years ago, when, on a whim, I purchased several half-inch wide skewers at a Persian grocery.  After one use, I literally tossed my wire skewers.

Throughout the region one finds skewers of that design, particularly in Iran, where they range in width from a quarter inch to a full inch. While there are no hard a fast rules, in general, the softer the food the wider the skewer should be.  Those really wide skewers, for instance, were designed specifically for kabobs made from ground meat, such as the Persian Kabab E Kubideh.

I recently began an on-going project on Persian cookery here at Foods of the World ( so had to expand my collection of skewers, including one-inch versions.  I selected those made by GoutiMe.

The GoutiMe skewers are one-inch wide, with an overall length of 24 inches, and wooden handles---which I prefer over all-metal ones. They come 7-up, in a heavy-duty carry bag (which appears to be ballistic nylon, but that’s a guess on my part).

I was surprised, reading reviews of a different make and model, at the number of people who saw the lack of a carry bag with those skewers as a major shortcoming. “What’s the big deal,” I thought.  Frankly, I’ve been forced to change my mind. The GoutiMe bag, which has a Velcro-sealed flap and ballistic cloth carry handle, is as well built and durable as the skewers themselves. It serves as a convenient storage container, on one hand, and makes it simple to transport the skewers.

I’ve waited to review these skewers because I wanted to give them a good work-out.  After 8 or 10 cooks, with various ground and whole meats, I have only one criticism: Why only seven? I mean this is an odd number, both on the face of it, and because when entertaining, one usually has an even number of guests.  I fail to understand GoutiMe’s reasoning on the odd number.

That aside, I’m truly impressed with the quality of these skewers.  The blades are stout stainless steel, and extend into the hardwood handles slightly more than two inches, where they are firmly riveted in place with two stainless rivets. The handles appear to be maple---another guess on my part. 

I was, at first, concerned about the short extensions, and thought I’d rather see the blades insert the full length of the handles. On lower quality skewers, of similar design, the blades have a tendency to loosen, twist, and even cause the handles to crack. So far, there are none of those drawbacks to the GoutiMes.

Why the two-foot length?  In America, the tendency is to rest the skewered foods on a grate. In the Mid-East, however, the skewers merely bridge the hot coals, resting on the edges of the grill. That’s the technique I use, so wanted skewers that were long enough to do that, while the wooden handles remain outside the fire.  The GoutiMes serve this purpose perfectly.

After what I consider a fairly good trial period, there is no warping nor twisting of the blades. And their width assure that the meat stays in place, without itself turning in place, or, even worse, dropping off the skewers; a fairly common occurrence with cheaply made skewers. To be sure, when using chopped meat, there is a learning curve regarding how to load it. But after one or two attempts, you should get that down pat.  The metal mass, along with a very hot fire, cooks the kababs rather quickly, with a beautiful outside char and succulent, juicy, insides. 

Another advantage is that they clean up readily. Some warm, soapy water, a couple of passes with a plastic scrub pad, a quick rinse, and Bob’s yer uncle! It only makes sense to dry them immediately before returning them to their carry bag.

To be sure, these skewers are rather on the pricy side. Similar ones I’ve seen at a Mid-Eastern Grocery were less than half the price. But they appeared to be twice as flimsy.

My Daddy used to say, “never be afraid to buy the best; you won’t be disappointed.”  With the GoutiMe skewers I feel I’ve followed his advice, and wouldn’t hesitate to buy another set if the need arises.

FWIW, I also bought a matching set of these skewers measuring 5/8 inch in width. Everything I said about the wider ones apples to them, with one exception: there are six of them in the set. While I have, experimentally, made ground-meat kababs using them, they really make more sense for whole pieces.   


But we hae meat and we can eat
And sae the Lord be thanket
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