If you’ve always skewered meat for the grill without giving the size or shape of the pieces much thought, this pointer, from our latest cookbook, Milk Street: The New Rules, is for you. Chunks of meat are fine, but strips are better. Thin strips of meat threaded onto a skewer will cook faster than larger pieces. And, just as important, they provide plenty of surface area for applying flavorful rubs and sauces.

In our Thai Grilled Pork Skewers (Moo Ping)—a take on a ubiquitous Thai street food—that means thin strips of pork, around 1/8 inch thick, get a nice coating of a marinade made of garlic, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oil and white pepper. When it comes time to grill, more of the meat is exposed to the coconut milk we use to for basting, just as they do in Thailand.

To cut strips of meat so thin, we also partially freeze the pork before slicing. And to guard against overcooking, we thread the meat somewhat tightly together.

We also use thin strips, rather than chunks, in our ever popular recipe for Moroccan Ginger-Lemon Chicken Skewers, as well as a new recipe for Chili-Red Pepper Chicken Kebabs (Tavuk Sis), which you can find in The New Rules cookbook.

From steaming, not boiling, for better soft- or hard-cooked eggs to charring vegetables to tame bitterness, the book is full of simple but mighty cooking tips for dishes you may have assumed needed no improvement (ahem, skewers). Try this tip for skewering meat next time you’re at the grill and find our new cookbook here.