With summer knocking at your door, it’s time to fire up the grill and go wild. Sure, everyone loves the occasional corn on the cob, spicy chicken wings, and mouthwatering ribeyes, but don’t underestimate the power of kebabs and other skewers. They are not only a feast to the eye but to your tummy, too. To master the perfect skewered meat, veggies, fish, and fruit, you need to follow these 7 easy steps.
1. Choose the Right Skewers
When selecting the perfect skewers, you’ll come across a surprising number of options. There’s bamboo, stainless steel, flat, round, and so many other choices to make. Generally speaking, bamboo skewers are better suited for grilling smaller items like chicken bites. Don’t forget to soak the skewer in water for about two hours before arranging it over the fire. If you’re grilling larger meats and veggies, it’s best to use a sturdy metal skewer so it can carry both the heat of the grill and the weight of the ingredients. Plus, they are really easy to clean.
2. Chop and Dry the Ingredients in Advance
Making the perfect plate of skewered meat and veggies takes time and preparation. Prep your ingredients in advance by chopping the meat, veggies, fish, and fruits into equally sized pieces (that are bigger than the slats in your grill grates). Before cutting the meat and before putting it on the grill, pat it dry. This will create a beautiful brown crust.
3. Marinate and Season Generously
Before arranging the meat on your skewers, marinate it generously. You can use a dry rub or prepare a liquid marinade to soak the meat cubes. Let it sit at least for half an hour, and don’t be shy to experiment with several different marinades.
4. Keep Cooking Times in Mind When Skewering
There is a right and a wrong way to thread skewers. The right way is to combine ingredients with similar cooking times. That way everything will cook evenly. The second most important “secret” is to leave some space between ingredients so everything can cook evenly (¼ to ½ inch is perfect). If your meat cubes get too crowded on the skewer, the heat can’t circulate evenly, and you’ll end up with food that is overcooked at the end and undercooked in the middle.
5. Build Hot and Cool Zones in the Grill
To have perfectly cooked skewers, make sure to build a fire with hot and cool zones in your charcoal grill (if you have a gas grill with more than one burner, you can achieve the same result). Start the skewers in the hot area to get them crusty and sizzling, and then move them to the cooler zone to allow them to cook through.
6. Check the Meat Temperature
While many self-proclaimed grill masters ignore the use of thermometers, it’s still the safest way to ensure your meat is properly cooked at the right temperature. Perfection is worth every bit of effort to achieve it, wouldn’t you agree? The USDA advises pulling beef off the grill when it reaches 145°F degrees, seafood at 145°F, and chicken at 165°F. Veggies and fruits are done when they are tender to the touch and seared outside.
7. Pair the Skewers With Simple Sides
Don’t go overboard on the sides for your skewers. As long as the tastes complement each other, even a single side ingredient is enough to bring out the perfect flavor. You can go traditional with corn on the cob or tap into your adventurous side and pair pork skewers with grilled peaches, for example. You won’t regret it!
Finding Common Ground for Successful Coparenting With an Ex
With divorce not being nearly as uncommon as it may have been for past generations, many ex-spouses today find themselves in a position where they have to navigate the difficult path of coparenting. Although it can be difficult to put one’s own feelings aside and focus on what’s best for the child or children, there are certainly ways to develop proper cooperation and raise well-adjusted and happy individuals.
Cooperating for the Kids’ Sake
Although it’s not uncommon to hear that divorce is bad for kids, that is a generalization that isn’t always correct. Children, in many cases, tend to suffer more from having to witness parent-parent conflicts. Even if the romantic aspect of a relationship has ended, it’s still necessary to develop strong coparenting skills and maintain support and cooperation in order to raise mentally-strong kids. It’s important to avoid undermining one’s ex in front of the child or getting into conflict with the co-parent to avoid causing symptoms in the child such as anxiety, depression, or acting out.
Finding Common Ground
It’s more than likely that the romantic issues that lead to the divorce or breakup will continue to leak into the ex-partners’ joined parenting efforts. There are several ways to manage this, starting with communication. It’s advised to create a structured approach to managing only parental concerns, be it through an email chain, a weekly phone call, or voicemails. Parents should work on regulating their emotional responses towards the ex-partner, use a low-conflict mode of communication, such as email, and actively focus on the wellbeing of the children.
Coparenting Can Help Ex-Spouses Adjust
Divorce is a major life decision and a big adjustment for both parties involved. When working on improving their coparenting skills for the wellbeing of a child, the ex-spouses can also have an easier time handling the post-divorce adjustment. Even if the relationship can’t be perfect, it’s important to continuously work on it becoming manageable and low-conflict.