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Chenjeh kebab in Iran
Fruit skewers with chocolate sauce, in Madrid
Seafood skewers sold in South Korea: mun-kkochi (octopus skewers), sora-kkochi (horned turban skewers), jju-kkochi (webfoot octopus skewers)

Skewer is a term for a thin metal or wood stick used to hold pieces of food together,[1] and also for food items prepared or served on skewers. Skewers are used while grilling or roasting meats and fish, and in other culinary applications.

In English, "brochette" is a borrowing of the French word for skewer. In French-influenced cuisine, en brochette is a term for food prepared or served on skewers, generally grilled. Skewers are often used for kebab dishes originating in Middle East and Muslim cultures.


Metal skewers are typically stainless steel rods with a pointed tip on one end and a grip of some kind on the other end for ease of removing the food. Non-metallic skewers are often made from bamboo; however, any suitable wood may be used. Prior to grilling, wooden skewers must be soaked in water to avoid burning. A related device is the rotisserie or spit, a large rod that rotates meat while it cooks.

Examples of skewered foods[edit]


A large variety of dishes cooked on skewers are kebabs (meat dishes of a Middle Eastern / Muslim origin), or derived from them. Examples include Turkish shish kebab, Iranian jujeh kabab, and Chinese chuanr. However, "kebab" is not synonymous with "skewered food", and many kebab dishes such as chapli kebab are not cooked on skewers. On the other hand, English speakers may sometimes use the word kebab to refer to any food on a skewer.


Dishes, other than kebabs, prepared with skewers include the indigenous Peruvian anticucho, the French brochette, Portuguese espetada, Italian arrosticini, Japanese yakitori or kushiyaki, Vietnamese nem nướng, and Korean dishes such as jeok and dak-kkochi.

Appetizers and hors d'oeuvres may often be skewered together with small sticks or toothpicks; the Spanish pincho is named after such a skewer.[2] Small, often decorative, skewers of glass, metal, wood or bamboo known as "olive picks" or "cocktail sticks" are used for garnishes on cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. Many types of snack food, such as candy apples, banana cue, or tanghulu, are sold and served "on a stick" or skewer, especially at outdoor markets, fairs, and sidewalk or roadside stands around the world.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "skewer". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989. 
  2. ^ Barrenechea, Teresa (1998). The Basque table : passionate home cooking from Spain's most celebrated cuisine. Boston, Mass.: Harvard Common Press. ISBN 9781558325234. OCLC 797821047.