Picks and skewers feature numerous uses, which is why professional and aspiring chefs regularly use them. From decorating, serving, and stirring to cooking and grilling, food sticks carry lots of responsibility in successfully presenting orders.

With so many picks and skewers out in the market, knowing the differences and benefits of each kind will help you find the best food and drink picks for your event. This buying guide highlights the variety of cocktail picks and food skewers you can use to help you stick out from the crowd.

Picks Vs. Skewers

Food picks are great for “picking” food, especially for smaller items like sliced fruits and vegetables, mini sausages, or cubed cheeses. Picks are most commonly used to plate and display bite-sized appetizers, allowing individuals to easily grab the dishes they’d like to enjoy.

Skewers are meant to hold foods together and are typically used to grill or roast proteins. Since they’re often used over high heat, skewers are made from metal or wood. Depending on the size, picks and skewers are best for certain uses:

  • 4-6 inches: A great length for presenting bite-sized appetizers on platters or adding garnishes to drinks served in rocks glasses or cocktail coupes.
  • 7-9 inches: An appropriate length for holding together sandwiches or including garnishes to cocktails served in Collins glasses or highball glasses.
  • 10-12 inches: An ideal length for fondue, kabobs, or grilling various meats or seafood.

Why Use Picks & Skewers

Picks and skewers are multi-functional tools that extend from bar counters and restaurant kitchens to bakery display cases and at-home kitchen cabinets. Skewers are mainly used for grilling kabobs and vegetables, holding together sandwiches, dipping sweets into fondue, or roasting marshmallows when making smores. Whereas picks serve a wide range of uses, such as garnishing cocktails, presenting easy-to-grab appetizers, labeling finger foods, or decorating personal desserts. Take a closer look at our collection of decorative appetizer picks and skewers to learn more about how to elevate your food presentations:

Types Of Picks & Skewers

You can find picks and skewers in numerous styles and materials. Whether for grilling at a backyard barbeque or adorning cocktails at your bar, it’s important to use the proper picks and skewers. Below is a breakdown of the different kinds of food skewers and picks available to help you choose the best option for your establishment or event.

Material

  • Plastic: Features different colors to match any event or restaurant aesthetic. Usually recyclable.
  • Wood: Allows for friction between the skewer and the pierced food, keeping it in place. Should be soaked before being used to cook over high heat. It’s biodegradable, making it a great eco-friendly alternative.
  • Bamboo: Provides some friction between the skewer and the pierced food. Tends to char when cooked, unless soaked beforehand. It’s biodegradable, allowing you to dispose of it in a nature-friendly way after use.
  • Stainless steel: Provides little friction between the skewer and the food. Flat metal skewers are the solution to preventing food from rotating on the stick. It’s reusable, providing a durable and long-lasting option.

Toothpicks

toothpick in meatball

Toothpicks have a simple look and are the most popular type of picks. These picks are not only used in foodservice establishments but are also found in many homes. A variety of toothpicks come individually wrapped for hygienic safety. Other kinds may be multicolored to add a fun touch to the plating presentations without too much complexity.

Food Markers

vegan food marker in foodFood markers provide a way to hold foods together while also presenting labels on the handle of the picks to clearly distinguish dishes. Ideal for party platters or buffet tables, these marked food sticks easily allow you to differentiate between gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian plates or the cooks of meats.

Paddle

paddle pick with garnish in cocktailWith handles on the stem, paddle picks and skewers allow for easy grabbing of kabobs or bite-sized treats. The additional space on the picks works well for customizing with business logos or restaurant names. Paddle skewers tend to be slightly wider than traditional skewers, offering extra stability when holding food.

Knotted

knotted pick with blackberry in drinkKnotted picks and skewers display an elegant touch to food presentation without too much distraction. Twisted top picks are commonly used to plate bite-sized appetizers at catered events or decorate cocktails at bars. While known for its eye-catching look, the knot on the skewers act as a handle for a firm grip of treats and a stopper for the pierced food.

Grill

Grill skewers are typically made from wood or metal to withstand high temperatures from barbecues. Grilling skewers are longer compared to other skewers so that they can securely hold multiple pieces of meat or veggies.

 

Decorative

feather skewer in cocktailDecorative picks let you make a statement and effortlessly enhance the look of food platters or mixed drinks. With endless possibilities of themes and designs, ornament picks are available in various lengths to customize your party platters, charcuterie boards, or beverages.

Disposable Skewers Vs. Reusable Skewers

Reusable skewers are durable and can be used numerous times, making them perfect for homes or restaurants that frequently use skewers. Although pricier than single-use skewers, good-quality reusable skewers are an investment that facilitates cooking in the long run. Reusable options tend to be dishwasher-safe but require care since they are thin and can fall through some of the dishwasher's compartments.

Disposable skewers are simple for guests to throw out after use, allowing them to work best for hor d'oeuvres platters or keeping handhelds together. Single-use picks and skewers are ideal for parties and large events as they’re easily disposable and prevent people from “double-dipping” their picks into the food platters.

Picks & Skewers To Make Your Mark

Much more than just a plastic or wooden stick, picks and skewers are essential tools in your kitchen or bar as a convenience for employees and customers. Skewers can hold together your club sandwiches and grilled kabobs, while food picks add a fun twist to your appetizers and cocktails. Before making a purchase, remember to think about what you intend to use the skewers for so that you select the best food picks for your catered event or cookout.