Looking for cookout inspiration? There's a whole universe of meat-on-a-stick out there! Take a global grilling tour and get fresh ideas for dinner, courtesy of these five skewered specialties.

Shish Kebab — This term has become the catch-all for grilled skewered food. The cross-cultural specialty is claimed by cuisines in South Asia, the Caucasus and Russia (where it's called shashlik), the Balkans (cévak), the Middle East and beyond.

Shish kebab

Yakitori — These tiny Japanese skewers are usually grilled over hot coals and basted in sweet-savory sauce. Yakitori, which means "grilled fowl," typically showcases all parts of the chicken, but the repertoire has grown to include other foods, from eggplant to steak to salmon.


Satay — This Southeast Asian street food, originally from Indonesia, is usually a snack-size serving of marinated meat, shrimp or tofu threaded onto a bamboo skewer and grilled. Satay is traditionally served with a sweet peanut dipping sauce.


Souvlaki — A skewered Greek specialty, souvlaki is usually made with chunks of marinated lamb, chicken or pork. The meat is often served on a platter with rice, or in a pita with onions, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and a dollop of yogurt-based tzatziki.


Shawarma — Similar to gyro (Greece) and doner (Turkey), this stack of skewered meat (chicken, lamb or even turkey) is a mega kebab. The meat roasts on a vertical spit, basting in its own juices. It's sliced to order and often served in a pita.

-- By Gabriella Gershenson