Recipe: Souvlaki

Souvlaki 01

For ages, I thought Souvlaki was just a Greek version of the Donair, except with grilled chunks of meat rather than the slices cut from those huge rotating cylinders of meat that always look rather like somebody stole a spare thigh from the local morgue. In fact, Souvlaki, in Greek cuisine are simply grilled skewers of meat and, while they can certainly be served Donair-fashion on pita bread with sauces and toppings, they may also be eaten out of hand as is, or come with fried potatoes, rice, or other sides. If asked, I probably would have guessed that lamb would be the most popular souvlaki meat in Greece but Wikipedia tells me it is actually pork and it is pork souvlaki I am making for today’s post… 

The Ingredients

  • 3/4lb. Pork cut into smallish, bite-sized cubes;
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil;
  • 2 tbsp. bruised fresh Rosemary needles;
  • 1 tsp. chopped Garlic;
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground Black Pepper;
  • ½ tsp. Salt;
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice;
  • Tomatoes … optional.

You can use any cut of pork you like but I like the lean pink sort, preferably with a separate edge of fat. I chose nice loin chops for this recipe.

The Method

Souvlaki 02

Mix the cubes of pork with all the remaining ingredients except the tomatoes (if using), and set aside to marinate for several hours.

Souvlaki 03

Next, thread the meat on to suitable skewers, saving the remaining marinade for basting. I don’t often mix meat and vegetables on the same skewers because of the different cooking times but I am including tomatoes here. They stand up to quite lengthy grilling times, if you are reasonably careful, and they also look quite attractive interspersed between the cubes of pork.

Souvlaki 04

The skewers will take about 15 minutes or so to cook over a moderate high flame (depending on the size of the chunks). Turn frequently, basting as needed, until the meat is golden and charred in just a few spots.

Souvlaki 05

If you wish, you can burn some wood chips and extra rosemary sprigs alongside the skewers (although this only works if you are cooking with the barbecue cover down). On a gas grill, it helps to capture some of the smoky goodness of a real fire.

Souvlaki 06

When I cook pork this way I almost always serve it ‘fast-food’ style in pita bread. Here, the meat is served over some of our home-grown Mesclun mix, and topped with chunks of raw tomato and onion, and a nice Tzatziki Sauce sweetened with a little extra sugar. This is one of my favorite barbecue suppers!

 

 

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