It certainly can't hurt to soak wooden skewers before you cook kabobs in the oven, or on the grill for that matter. Almost every cookbook in the land advises soaking them for anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours, with 30 minutes about average. But if you have the soul of a food scientist inside you, you might want to experiment with not soaking the skewers -- because it may not make any difference.
Grilling Expert Says "No"
Grilling expert John Willoughby thinks soaking doesn’t matter. He’s been the editor of “Cook’s Illustrated,” “Gourmet” magazine, and publications coming out of America’s Test Kitchen. In an interview with the Wilmington, Delaware, “News Journal,” he said not to bother with soaking. The little tips of the skewers are just going to burn anyway, he noted.
The Metal Skewer Option
If you are still worried that thin, flimsy skewers might char and leave your kebab ingredients scattered, you have several choices. You can continue to soak them, or you can switch to thick wooden skewers that won’t disintegrate, or to metal skewers.