Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
January 8, 2023

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Hand-to-mouth eating evokes a primal and soulful reverberation that knife and fork eating cannot match. This is where the approachable simplicity of meat on sticks shines with an instant consumer connection.

Appetizer meat sticks can provide tableside social interaction or be used as an approachable way to introduce sauces/dips that will be cross-utilized and featured on other parts of the menu. Snack-sized meat sticks can provide quick on-the-go sustenance, act as a fun bar snack or menued to inject life into a shoulder daypart. Entrée meat sticks open the door to create pairings with new dynamic side-dish offerings or use existing sides creating an enticing meat stick bundle. The same could be applied to seafood or vegetable-centric sticks.

Tap into global cultural plays and trending flavors to create a signature variation. Most every culinary region has a distinguishable version of meat on a stick. Here are thought starters within six formats of skewered meats:


  • Primo Beef Kabob: Beef filet mignon + truffled demi-glace butter
  • Lamb Souvlaki: Lamb leg ribbons + whipped Kalamata feta


  • Butter Chicken Meatball Skewer: Mini chicken thigh/breast meatballs + tomato curry cream sauce
  • Calabrian Plant-Based Beef Meatball Kabob: Mini Calabrian chile plant-based “beef “meatballs + sun-dried tomato pomodoro


  • Gaucho Skewer: Ranch dressing spice-seasoned flank steak strips + red chimichurri
  • Sriracha Pork Burnt Ends Yakitori: Smoked Sriracha pork belly burnt ends + yuzu-soy glaze


  • Breakfast Sausage and Chorizo Stick: Rotating pieces of breakfast sausage and chorizo + country gravy
  • Blue Maple Sausage Stick: Blueberry-turkey sausage link + maple glaze


  • Aleppo Beef-Lamb Kafta: Ground beef and lamb + Aleppo chile-mint jelly glaze
  • Jerk Chicken Kafta: Ground jerk chicken + lime-roasted yellow bell pepper-mango sauce


  • Cider Bourbon Venison Skewer: Venison loin strips + bourbon-apple cider glaze
  • Sweet-Savory Buffalo Kabob: Buffalo tenderloin strips + green peppercorn-orange marmalade glaze
  • Huckleberry Elk Skewer: Elk tenderloin strips + juniper-caramelized onion-huckleberry glaze



About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.