Souvlaki – Grilled Pork Skewers

Souvlaki - Grilled Pork Skewers

Souvlaki – Grilled Pork Skewers

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 a bit like a dead man’s leg.

In actual fact, however, Souvlaki, in Greek cuisine, refers to any grilled skewers of seasoned meat. They can certainly be eaten Donair-style in Pita bread with sauces and toppings, but they can also be simply eaten out of hand, or served as a main course with sides like rice, or potatoes, and other vegetables.

If you had asked me to guess, I probably would have said that Lamb would be the most popular meat of choice in Greece. I am informed, though, by Wikipedia no less, that Pork comes in as the number one Souvlaki meat, and that is what I have used for this recipe.

The Method

Pork Marinating with Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Rosemary
Pork Marinating with Olive Oil, Lemon Juice and Rosemary

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

Marinated Pork on Skewers with Tomatoes
Marinated Pork on Skewers with Tomatoes

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 Grilling
Souvlaki Grilling

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.

Rosemary providing smoke for Grilling
Rosemary providing smoke for Grilling

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 served Donair style
Souvlaki served Donair style

When I cook pork this way I almost always serve it ‘fast-food’ style in pita bread. Here, the meat is served over some 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!

Your Recipe Card:

Souvlaki – Grilled Pork Skewers

Souvlaki is a Greek favorite with many variations. Here, skewers of Pork are marinated with Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon Juice before grilling.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Garlic Paste, Lemon Juice, Pork, Rosemary
Servings: 4 Skewers
Author: John Thompson

Ingredients

  • 3/4 lb. 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;
  • Cherry Tomatoes … optional.

Instructions

  • Mix the cubes of pork with all the remaining ingredients except the optional tomatoes, and marinate for at least two hours. Reserve the marinade.
  • Thread the Pork cubes on to skewers, interspersing with tomatoes if desired.
  • Grill the skewers over a moderate flame, basting with the marinade and turning as needed, for about 15 minutes, until nicely browned.
  • Serve immediately.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!