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Want to Jazz Up Your Grill Skewers? Try These Ingredients

Grilled skewers with pineapple, seafood, and a sweet sauce.
AnastasiaLyskova/Shutterstock

Skewers are such a simple way to put together a meal on the grill, but you don’t have to stick to chicken and the same old vegetables. Mix in some new options for more flavor and texture!

It’s tough to pass up the simplicity of dropping some quickly chopped-up chicken and whatever veggies you have handy in your fridge onto some skewers to make a quick dinner.

Great Value

Blue Donuts 24 Pack 12 Stainless Steel Skewers

This 24-pack of basic stainless steel skewers will ensure you have enough skewers on hand to cover every inch of your grill.

But after a while, it can get a little boring. With a substitution or two, you can break out of your old routine and pack in some serious flavor. Here are ten fun flavor-enhancing ingredients to add a little jazz to your kebabs.

Lemon

Lemon is an often overlooked flavor booster. Before you reach for complex sauces and spices, give the humble lemon a chance!  Squeezed lemon juice adds a little tang to each bite, and there is so much you can do with it.

That tang is a great compliment to chicken kebobs. You can boost the flavor by starting with a lemon and garlic marinade, but you can also just slap the lemon right on there to grill—once you pull it off the grill squeeze the lemon over the rest of the kebab for a burst of flavor.  You can also add a few lemon wedges to any seafood kebabs, too.

Scallops

Grilled scallops skewered resting on a rectangle white plate.
wong yu liang/Shutterstock

Speaking of seafood, chicken, steak, shrimp, and veggies are usually top picks for skewer season, but we really recommend giving scallops a chance! Next time scallops go on sale, grab some to throw on the grill. These sweet bivalves offer a subtle taste of the ocean, and each tender, buttery bite adds so much flavor to meals.

You can even make a fancy seafood combo by combining scallops, shrimp, and lobster tail as they cook in the same amount of time. Don’t forget the lemon wedges at each end.

Lime

Just like lemon, lime wedges make a fantastic addition to skewers, and if you don’t believe us, you’ll have to try for yourself. Need a nudge to give lime a chance? Try out this delicious recipe for honey-lime sriracha skewers, which use this key ingredient.

Level it up by adding a few small bite-size lime wedges right on the skewer. Right before indulging, pull the lime off, and squeeze on a bit of warm and sweet lime juice.

Pineapple

Grilled skewers with chicken, pineapple, and peppers.
BBA Photography/Shutterstock

Lots of folks toss pineapple rings on the grill for a smokey sweet treat, but if you’re not adding it to your skewers, you’re missing out. This grilled fruit adds a subtly tart and oh-so-sweet flair to just about any protein option of choice.

Try marinating steak or chicken (and pineapple in a separate bag) in teriyaki sauce, then thread the pieces onto the skewer. Pineapple juice is a natural meat tenderize and marinading with it adds more to the experience than just pineapple flavor alone! The sauce, combined with the fruit and the protein, is a match made in heaven.

Brussel Sprouts

Classic skewering veggies typically include onion, peppers, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes, but brussels sprouts don’t always come to mind. Slice your brussels sprouts in half (lengthwise), then skewer each sprout from end to end.

You can take it a step further by weaving a strip of half-cooked bacon as it adds a briny bite to these bitter veggies. Be sure to add olive oil and season the sprouts before tossing them on an open flame.

Bacon

Bacon is always a fantastic way to add a bit of saltiness to a dish for further enhancement. Try adding bacon to your skewers next time you plan on making kebabs. If you need a little inspiration, here’s a delicious recipe for bacon-wrapped chicken bites to get you started.

Corn on the Cob

Vegetable skewers with corn.
zi3000/Shutterstock

Grilling corn is a fun way to add a little sweet crunch to your meal, but you can take that fresh vegetable to another level by skewering it as well. You’ll want to cut your ears of corn into one-inch-thick pieces, and carefully thread each piece onto your skewers.

Skewered corn goes well with other hard veggies and thick sausage bites like andouille. Add butter, salt, and pepper and enjoy each charred bite.

Strawberries

If you need a quick and delicious way to use up strawberries, keep the heat outdoors by grilling these sweet berries. Thread the fruit onto skewers (after washing and removing the leaves), then lightly brush the strawberries with a mild-flavored oil like vegetable or avocado oil.

Place the skewers on the clean preheated grill and cook them up until grill lines just start appearing, or until the fruit softens up a bit. Keep the lid up the entire time. You can dip these in Nutella, or drizzle a bit of maple syrup on top and serve with a scoop of vanilla bean. The sweetness of the fruit combined with the smokey overtones the grill provides is a treat!

Lobster

For all the seafood lovers out there, lobster is another tasty option that grills well. You can usually find raw lobster tails in the seafood section at your supermarket, and once they go on sale, be sure to get a few.

Remove the raw meat and cut them into bite-size pieces, then thread them onto skewers. Remember, you can also add raw scallops and shrimp if you are hoping for a fancy seafood trio. Baste with olive oil and grill them with the lid up, turning each skewer often.

Squeeze over a little lemon juice and dip each mouthwatering bite in melted butter before indulging.

Halloumi Cheese

Skewers loaded with halloumi cheese and tomatoes.
Oksana Mizina/Shutterstock

If you haven’t had the opportunity to grill up a few slices of squeaky halloumi cheese, we highly recommend giving it a try. Its high melting point makes it perfect for a hot grill.

For the inside scoop on grilling halloumi, check out our guide here. To use it for skewers, you follow the same steps, except you cut the cheese into cubes. Drizzle it with oil, grill on the skewers, and for an extra treat serve with watermelon or tomato-basil sandwiches.


As you can see, kebabs are made for so much more than chicken and veggies. So, in the name grilling season, be sure to give some of these tasty combinations a try.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »

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