What's the key to creating perfect kebabs? Try these three simple tweaks to your grilling strategy for first-rate food-on-a-stick results.

1. Better Together?

We love the all-in-one-ness of kebabs—many ingredients, living happily side by side. But sometimes they need separate vacations. In the time it takes to fully cook pork, for instance, pineapple and tomatoes will disintegrate. In those cases, it's best to put ingredients on their own skewers.

Photo by Meredith

2. Wood or Metal?

Wooden skewers—often made of bamboo—are cheap and plentiful, but they burn easily, even with soaking. Metal skewers are sturdier and won't burn, but you'll need mitts to handle them both on and off the grill. They cost more, too.

We recommend soaking wooden skewers for 30 minutes, although some recipes may call for an hour or more. Either way, soaking won't stop the wood from burning—it just delays it a bit. If scorched skewers bother you, wrap the exposed ends with foil before grilling.

How to Grill Chicken and Kebabs for Flame-Kissed Flavor

3. Location is Everything

Leave a little room between ingredients on the skewer so the heat can do its job. Cramming on too much interferes with even cooking.

It doesn't matter if skewers are laid diagonally or crosswise on the grill. Even cooking is the goal, so it's more important to give equal access to the heat. Just don't put skewers parallel to the grate, or things will fall through the cracks.

Frustrated when food spins like a slot machine when you turn it over? Double up and secure the food with two parallel skewers. The wider the space between the skewers, the more stable the kebabs.

Try These Killer Kebab Recipes

Want more? Try 6 Delicious Foods on a Stick for Summer Entertaining