As in:

verb kebabs on a skewer and grill for 30 minutes.

An automatic translation from my native language to English suggests words "string" or "thread", but I haven't ever seen them used in this context.

  • If it helps, these are skewers
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 12:22
  • @WS2 Yeah, I know what a skewer means, I guess. Is there something wrong with my question?
    – jojman
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:13
  • 15
    Well, skewer exists as a verb, as well as a noun. e.g. "Having skewered the kebab meat, I put it under the grill."
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 14:32
  • You could check at Writer's Dictionary - "To Put Something on a Skewer". If you have other questions that start with "what is a word for", they can probably be answered at Writer's Dictionary
    – John
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 1:00
  • 1
    While the suggestions below are great, it might well depend on the situation it is used. If done roughly then I would be inclined to use impale
    – Kickstart
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 11:24

5 Answers 5


A quick survey of some of my cookbooks suggests that thread is the most typical for times when the meat is not being formed around the skewer:

From Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean, "Caucasian Marinated Pork Kebobs"

One hour before serving, remove the meat from refrigerator, drain, and thread on the skewers.

From Jay Harlow's The Grilling Book, "Satay Pork" and "Pork or Chicken Spicy Kebabs":

Thread the meat onto skewers and grill over a hot fire ...

Thread the strips onto small bamboo skewers and grill ...

Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow, Mediterranean: Food of the Sun, "Coriander Lamb Kebabas with an Almond Chanterelle Sauce" and "Skewered Lamd with Red Onion Salsa" (note: British publisher):

Thread the lamb cutlets on to four metal skewers and cook ...

Spear the lamb cubes onto four small skewers ...

Good Housekeeping International Cookbook, "Sates (Skewered Broiled Pork)"

Meanwhile, onto each skewer string about 9 pork cubes.

Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything,
"Skewers of Swordfish, Tuna or Other Steaks", "Grilled or Broiled Salmon Kebabs", "Spicy Chicken Thigh Kebabs", "Chicken Satay", "Grilled or Broiled Beef and Vegetable Kebabs", "Grilled Skewered Lamb Chunks (Shish Kebab)", "Grilled Fruit Skewers with Ginger Syrup":

Thread the swordfish onto 6 skewers, alternating with pieces of onion, mushroom, bay leaf, and bacon. ... If you have a large rosemary bush, use long branches to skewer swordfish chunks before grilling, ...

Skewer the fish, then spoon the marinade over it.

Thread the meat onto skewers and grill or broil about 4 inches from the heat source ...

Thread the chicken onto skewers without crowding.

Arrange the vegetables and meat on separate skewers (the vegetables need a little more time to cook).

Thread the lamb onto 3 skewers and the vegetables onto 3 others.

Put the fruit on 6 skewers and brush it lightly with the ginger syrup.

This was a quick survey. ... I'm currently rearranging the room with my cookbooks, and these were the most likely candidates from the bookshelves that weren't currently blocked by other things.


To Skewer is a verb, but you would not say "skewer kebabs on a skewer". "Skewer the kebabs and grill for 30 minutes" would be fine.

See the verb definition here:

to fasten or pierce with or as if with a skewer

However, from a quick search of six kebab recipes (from the UK), they all used "to thread":

e.g. "Thread the chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms and peppers onto 20 wooden skewers, then cook on a griddle pan for 7-8 mins each side or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and golden brown."

  • 4
    The advantage of thread or any verb other than skewer is that it allows the noun skewer to be used with an adjective and/or number. That's handy in a recipe.
    – Chris H
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 12:45
  • 8
    I'd actually recommend "skewer the (met and/or vegetables) and grill..." as it's not a kebab until after the ingredients are on the skewer.
    – Joe
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 12:56
  • From my experience (NY, USA) I think that skewer is the best choice for OP's situation. If you thread the meat then it sounds like something you would put on a Christmas tree; like threading Kix cereal.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Dec 22, 2015 at 17:39

You can "skewer" the kebabs, as skewer is an acceptable verb.

a. trans. To fasten (meat, etc.) with a skewer; to pierce with a skewer or skewers. Also const. together, up, upon.


Your translator's thread the kebabs is a good choice.


To put something on a skewer: one can simply say skewer, the noun meaning the spike, can be used as a verb. "Skewer this for me please." "He fell into the pit and skewered himself." "Spike" can also be used for a noun or a verb. All are used in colloquial speech, and in literature, and considered correct.

"Impale" is usually a verb, not a noun, if that is more what you are looking for.

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