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tongs and spider skimmers

What are Tongs & Spider Skimmers?

Tongs are versatile kitchen utensils consisting of two arms joined by a pivot near the handle, often with scalloped or serrated ends. They’re used for gripping, flipping, turning, and serving various foods. In Mexican cooking, tongs are instrumental in grilling meats like carne asada or flipping tortillas on a comal (flat griddle). They also aid in assembling tacos, handling hot peppers, or serving delicate items like tamales or empanadas without damaging their structure.

Skimmers, on the other hand, are long-handled, flat, perforated utensils resembling large spoons. They typically have a mesh or perforated bowl that allows liquids to drain through while lifting solid ingredients from hot liquids or oil. In Mexican cuisine, skimmers are vital for removing foam or impurities while simmering broths or making traditional dishes like pozole or birria. They’re also employed for retrieving items from hot oil during the preparation of churros or frying other delicacies, ensuring food is lifted safely and efficiently without excess oil.

How Useful are Spider Skimmers and Tongs?

Precision and Control

Tongs, with their firm grip and adaptable design, provide chefs and home cooks with unparalleled precision and control when maneuvering hot and delicate ingredients. Whether handling sizzling peppers, tortillas on a comal, or searing meats, these tools ensure safety and dexterity in the kitchen.

Flipping Tortillas

The dexterity of tongs in effortlessly flipping tortillas on a comal or skillet is pivotal in achieving the perfect texture and flavor. This simple yet crucial action ensures even cooking, preventing burns, and accentuating the authentic taste and aroma of Mexican tortillas.

Efficient Frying

Removing Fried Foods

The spider skimmer, equipped with its mesh basket, emerges as a champion in efficiently removing fried foods from hot oil. Its design allows for optimal drainage of excess oil, resulting in delectably crispy dishes such as churros or flawlessly cooked crispy pork carnitas.

Maintaining Oil Temperature

Utilizing a spider skimmer to swiftly remove food particles or debris from the frying oil helps maintain consistent temperatures. This action prevents burning, ensuring that each batch of fried food attains the desired texture and taste.


Both tongs and spider skimmers seamlessly integrate into a diverse array of Mexican recipes. From handling sizzling fajita ingredients to deftly maneuvering delicate churros in hot oil, these tools showcase their adaptability across various dishes, contributing to the authenticity of Mexican cuisine.

Tips for Efficient Use

Choosing the Right Tongs

Guiding readers towards tongs with a locking mechanism and heat-resistant materials ensures durability and ease of use. These features are essential for safe and effective handling of hot ingredients.

Utilizing Spider Skimmers

Advising on the selection of skimmers with fine mesh for improved oil drainage and emphasizing the importance of shaking excess oil off food before plating helps home cooks achieve optimal results in their cooking endeavors.

Integration into Mexican Recipes

Traditional Recipes

Tongs and spider skimmers play pivotal roles in numerous iconic Mexican recipes:

  • Carne Asada: Tongs are instrumental in handling and flipping marinated meat on the grill, ensuring even cooking and optimal flavor development.
  • Enchiladas: Tongs aid in rolling and assembling enchiladas while the spider skimmer efficiently removes the crisped tortillas from hot oil.
  • Churros: Spider skimmers delicately maneuver churros in hot oil, while tongs assist in flipping and handling these sweet delights with finesse.

By seamlessly integrating these tools into these recipes, home cooks can achieve professional-grade results and authenticity in their culinary creations.


Tongs and spider skimmers, despite their seemingly humble appearance, stand as unsung heroes in the realm of Mexican culinary craftsmanship. Their versatility in deftly handling hot ingredients, flawlessly flipping tortillas, and facilitating efficient frying techniques embodies their indispensable role in authentic Mexican cooking.

Introducing these tools into the kitchen not only ensures safety, precision, and efficiency but also empowers aspiring and seasoned home cooks alike to master the intricacies of Mexican cuisine with confidence and finesse, thereby enriching their culinary journey with authentic flavors and textures.

These tools, whether wielded in the preparation of traditional dishes or modern culinary experiments, uphold the essence of Mexican gastronomy—precision, efficiency, and the pursuit of delicious flavors, ensuring a harmonious marriage between heritage and innovation in every dish.