Souvlaki (Σουβλάκι)

This is a recipe update from July 2008. Souvlaki is probably the best known as most popular Greek offering. It is made and enjiyed by Greeks in their home and it appears on practically every Greek restaurant and taverna’s menu.

Here, I present to you the pork souvlaki. For best results, marinade the pork the night before and soak your wooden skewers in water overnight as well. Each summer, the queries on my blog spike up with hungry folks looking for THE souvlaki recipe, this may be your answer.

I like some cold beer with Souvlaki or a Retsina (a Greek table wine spiked with pine resin). For beer, I urge you to try a Mythos beer, made in the style of the strict Bavarian rule of water, hops, barley, malt and yeast.

As for restina, this resinated wine has been both a boon and hindrance to the advancement of Greek food & drink. There are good restinas and there are bad restinas. It is often said to match the wine to the food, both being of equal caliber. Therefore, skip the bottle-capped restinas and try some of the premium brands.Try the Papagiannakos Retsina from the Attki (central Greece). This wine is made with with Savatiano grapes and it’s a pleasure to eat with Greek taverna fare.

I don’t think this blog can go on much longer without including a recipe for souvlaki. You’ve all had it at Greek restaurants and tavernas, at the diners owned by Greek families and at practically every eating establishment in Greece.

To truly enjoy a souvlaki, one should try it in the home of a Greek. Here, I marinade pork butt into tender grilled morsels.

I find pork butt or a trimmed pork belly to be the most flavourful and there’s just enough fat in the cut to heighten taste and keep the meat moist. You may certainly use a leaner cut of pork but the butt (shoulder) or belly is my preference.

Souvlaki is what I served at my Birthday party as the meat portion of the evening. As I was serving an array of dishes, I cut the pork into small, bite-sized pieces. When in Greece, you’ll notice the souvlakis are smaller than what we see here at Greek restaurants, where the souvlaki and accompaniments are made into a dinner.

In Greeece, souvlaki is more of a street food. Within each block of a city, a small souvlaki and gyro shop will be present with few seats and lots of spots for patrons to stand up, eat a few “kalamakia” (sticks), with some Tzatziki, a beer and some bread.

This marinade is simple, it’s got good taste and you can certainly apply it to chicken or lamb souvlaki.

Pork Souvlaki
(serves 4)

1 boneless pork butt (shoulder, approx 1 kg.)
1 medium onion, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping tsp. salt
1 heaping tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable (or canola) oil
1 heaping tsp. dried Greek oregano
wooden skewers (soaked overnight)

  1. Trim excess fat from your pork butt and cut into uniform pieces.
  2. In a large bowl, add your remaining marinade ingredients along with the pork pieces and toss to mix and coat all the meat. Place in the fridge for at least 5 hours and for best results, overnight.
  3. Place your wooden skewers in a shallow baking dish that’s filled with water. Allow the wooden skewers to soak overnight (so they don’t disintegrate when grilling).
  4. The next day, a couple of hours before you are going to grill your souvlaki, allow the pork to come to room temperature and then start skewering your meat (it’s easier when your meat’s at room temperature).
  5. Pre-heat your gas grill (or prepare your charcoal grill) and when you have a medium-high heat, grill your souvlakia for 3-4 minutes a side and then keep warm until all the souvlaki are cooked.
  6. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on your souvlakia with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and dried Greek oregano.
  7. Serve with some crusty bread or try some homemade pita bread and Tzatziki.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010 – 2011,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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126 Comments for “Souvlaki (Σουβλάκι)”

Dhanggit

says:

this is so “masarap” peter.;can you send some over here :-)

btw, i heard over the news last night that there were fires again in some cities of greece due to extremely hot weather..this saddened me reminded me of last years fire :-(

ΛΑΜΠΡΟΣ (Lambros)

says:

Goodmorning Peter !!!
Great recipe for souvlaki !!! As you can see we dont cook them home at all because we can find them anywhere … I have never taste this sauace but i think it will be great !!!

Peter G

says:

Mmmm..a recipe true to my heart! Its so true, you can get them anywhere in Greece but I love prepping them at home. In Australia they’re preferably made with lamb and I actually prefer them like that. We always serve souvlakia at Greek bbq’s along with biftekia, paidakia, etc…a never ending feast!

Cakelaw

says:

Delicious looking souvlaki – much better than you can buy here. I would not have guessed that prok butt was the shoulder!

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining

says:

Oh Peter what are you doing to me??? The regret of missing this birthday party will haunt me for a while!
Souvlaki is one of my favorite Greek foods. At least now I can make it at home! I can’t wait to try it…now to find some happy pork butt. LOL!

Sam Sotiropoulos

says:

Peter, nice looking platter of souvlakia! Pork shoulder is our preference as well, both for souvlaki and kontosouvli. For the third time… I wish I had been at the party! :)

kittie

says:

mmmm – pork souvlaki? I have only ever tried them with lamb, but this sounds like a lighter alternative, mmm…

Bellini Valli

says:

The best souvlaki I have had personally is still in Kastraki in the heart of Meteora…never tried it with pork though…I could be easily swayed.

Marianna

says:

hehe souvlaki… ya I guess it is a must have on your blog…yet at the same time it’s nice you’ve delayed on this to allow ppl to discover the less famous/popular Greek dishes! Peter, seriously, it’s always such a pleasure to check your blog especially ever since I came back from Greece…it sends some sunny memories through my computer screen!!!

Leah

says:

I’ve never had souvlaki but this looks so amazing, Peter! I adore Tzatziki….wow, now I’m going to be craving Greek food all day.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js

says:

Finally, a recipe for SOUVLAKI! I’m jumping for joy!

*I’m going to make souvlaki, I’m going to make souvlaki, I’m going to make souvlaki!*

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

Pork butt – that sounds so funny, but I get the point, I prefer pork shoulder chops above pork loin too, much, much more flavor!!!!

Peter M

says:

Dhanngit, salamat…come over…I'll make you some souvlaki from "babui"!lol

Lampro thanks but you've never had Tzatziki????

Pete, anything from home is best. As for souvlakia in OZ, it interesting that lamb is preferred there for souvlaki and gyro.

Cake, indeed..pork butt = shoulder.

Judy, what was I to do…put a gun to your heads? You should have taken my recommendation after I showed you the great lunch spot. Next year?

Sam, me to kalo, next year and isn't pork butt the best?

Kittie, the most popular souvlaki in Greece is made from pork.

Sticky, you're most welcome.

Val, practically all souvlaki in Greece is from pork and now more chicken souvlaki is popping up.

Marianna, Greeks love souvlaki but the stigma that we eat this all the time is plain FALSE. On to other dishes as you state.

Oh Leah…I can't believe you've never eaten souvlaki…jot down the recipe & try it this weekend.

JS…how about a cartwheel or two? lol

Nina, the loin is too lean…dry end result, IMO.

Núria

says:

Hola Chico! Your birthday was a non-ending party!!!! :D

Your Souvlaki reminds me of pinchos morunos but with a different marinade… equally delicious :D. Pork is a good choice for me.

glamah16

says:

Missed a few posts.Busy times. Your parties offerings look wonderful. Cant believe you havent postedabout Soulvaki. BTW : My trip to Toronto was cancelled:-(. See youin the fall maybe.

kat

says:

Oh, this is certainly going on my next weekly menu! I’m always looking for good new ways to cook pork. Can’t wait to try it.

Jan

says:

Mmmmm – I could eat that right now! Looks really lovely Peter.
I couldn’t get ‘Greek’ oregano where I am in the UK but I got a bag from Greece, so I’m all set to make that now!
Souvlaki-licious!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

says:

Grilled pork just rocks. But I am like some of the others here,I have only ever had lamb souvlaki (come to think of it gyros are also lamb with beef)…I am wondering if I am living in a parallel universe. That would explain A LOT! LOL! :)

Happy Birthday again! Glad you had a good one!

Allen

says:

Mmmmm …. pork in all its wonderful glory — your souvlaki is enticing. We have a new Greek restaurant opening in our neighborhood and I’m so excited for it to open its doors. I blame this on you and Peter G – you both have me salivating for Greek food!

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Mike of Mike's Table

says:

I love souvlaki but have never made it myself. This looks delicious to me. My growling stomach says I really need to start learning more about Greek food…and go on a vacation to Greece.

Natashya

says:

Pork souvlaki is my fave souvlaki, the more garlic the better.
I will take a couple of skewers, lots of tzatziki, some salad and a beer or three.
Your grill marks are excellent, mark of a true grilling craftsman.

Peter M

says:

Thanks Meghan!

Nuria, souvlaki and pinchos are similar, indeed.

Glam, sorry to hear biz in TO got cancelled. I guess you heard the company you deal with just got sold?

Hi Jaden…this should do the trick for ya!

Jenn, nothing wrong with lamb or chicken, it’s just that pork souvlaki is the usual in Greece.

Allen, try it out and if it sucks…you come back here and make your own.

Mike, Greek food is amazing and not difficult.

Natashya, I love a gal that enjoys beer!

Pam, long live pork butt!

Dragon, no leftovers. ;(

Lori Lynn

says:

I’m glad the party is still going on…

I very much like how you finish the souvlaki, with the lemon, salt and oregano. And since my palate was just cleansed, I can REALLY taste it!

annamtl

says:

I have a pork tenderloin in the freezer and guess what I am doing this weekend? It will be a fine time for swine!!!! hehehe
How does it feel to be dictating what people eat? Oh, the power you have…use it wisely! :D

Elly

says:

LOL, I was thinking the same thing about having souvlaki in my blog. I <3 souvlaki (of course) and just ate about 6 skewers of it at my theo's this weekend for a birthday party (nevermind the steak I had for dinner… ;) Looks great, of course, Peter.

Astra Libris

says:

Any recipe containing the phrase “1 heaping tsp. dried Greek oregano” immediately captures my immediate attention… :-) Thank you for educating me so that I can now try fixing this at home! I’m so excited!

Lulu Barbarian

says:

Bah! It must be nice to use a shoulder cut for souvlaki. I’m always cooking for fat-phobic people who insist on pork tenderloin. Which grills up like wood chips unless you have a magic wand. I don’t have a magic wand.

Any suggestions? (I already marinate the blasted stuff.)

Grace

says:

souvlaki is my go-to dish at all greek restaurants. it’s almost always delicious–there’s just something about it that sends me to a happy place. :)

Peter M

says:

Helene, you certainly may but I found the meat a little dry with the tenderloin.

Lori Lynn, that last touch really makes the difference…bread and souvlaki…yum!

Thank you Gloria!

Anon, you’re welcome.

Anna, lol…I don’t dictate anything but I offer up what I feel to be delicious food. You may use pork tenderloin but I find it dries out.

Maria, thanks…this batch tasted great.

Elly, I had to eventually get around to souvlaki…it was bound to happen.

Astra, enjoy…it’s a great recipe.

Lisa, thank you…now you can have it at home.

Thanks Kevin…move over Danforth!

Lulu, treat yourself to your own batch of souvlaki…made with potk shoulder…a little more work but hey…it’s better than eating wood chips!

Grace, everyone was “happy-happy”…moist, succulent meat.

Foodycat

says:

I’m Australian, so I am another “Hey, wow! Pork!” person. I love lamb souvlaki, so I have to try pork as well!

ΕΛΕΝΑ

says:

Greek people can’t live without souvlaki, we make souvlaki with every kind of meat and also souvlaki fish (I’ve tried this at my vacations – perfect!!)
We can find souvlaki everywhere, but homemade souvlaki is really better.
Yous looks great Peter, so well cooked!!!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm)

says:

I often leave comments on your site, Peter, but either you delete them, or they never get to you?????? I commented on this this morning. Just wanted to say – I also prefer the pigs butt and shoulder.

Janulka

says:

Hi Pete! Of course – there is no family meeting, event – anything, without a souvlaki! But seriously – I do not think a lot of Greek make souvlaki at official family events – only if there is a football match or any “simple” occasion. At least we do so.
There is no Olympiacos match without souvlaki first. And this is actualy the one and only thing, my husband loves to prepare. We buy our souvlaki at a certain butcher, and only the “small cut and squared”… I hope to have soon the opportunity to make photos of – to show you what I mean. We love souvlaki and we usually order 40 to 60 pieces (we want it worth to turn on the grill – ha-ha-ha)… Enjoy!

farida

says:

Although I don’t eat pork (except for pepperoni:)) I think this dish looks very appetizing and tantalizing:)

I think the recipe would be great with lamb too, right? Yum!

Anonymous

says:

KaliMera Peter:

glad to see a marinade that does SOAK the meet in red wine and lemon juice. Your preration is authentic and on point. When I take them off the grill I lather them with some lardolemono sauce.
GREAT BLOG

DEMETRI FROM MAINE

Anonymous

says:

I’m new to this site. Awesome recipes. Peter, I live in northern California. Can you tell me if regular Oregano is a good substitute to Greek Oregano?

Peter M

says:

Foody, whatever meat you prefer is quite fine.

Elena, it’s true, souvlaki is everywhere in Greece but nothing like homemade.

Nina, I don’t delete them, perhaps the anti-spam lettering didn’t take?

Janulka, I have yet to like any of the prepared souvlakia from the butcher’s there.

Farida, this marinade would indeed work well with lamb.

Geia sou Demetre and thanks for dropping by and liking the marinade.

Nikki, you’re gonna luv it!

Anon, regular oregano is fine. The Greek is just more pungent.

kat

says:

Peter – We made these last night & they were to die for! We only changed the cut of meat using boneless country style ribs instead because we didn't want so much meat. Thanks for the fabulous recipe, I'm writing a rave review of it right now. Hope you are having a great time in Greece.

San Francisco Photos

says:

When I lived in Greece as a young kid I used to eat souvlaki all the time. Yum, yum yum! I haven’t had any here in the states as good as I got them in Greece.

says:

Oh, Peter, another delicious winner! Thank you. I wish I had more pork, I’d make it again today. Just perfectly seasoned and tender,

says:

Yum Souvlakis!!!! I haven’t had a great one since I moved from Cyprus 20 years ago… I can’t wait to visit again, I’ll drive straight to that place and buy a couple :)).. Yours looks great and juicy, will try it this weekend. Thanks

says:

Delicious! And your photo is soooo inviting. The pork butt and pork belly are certainly the best choices as they will remain moist and not dry out.
I’ve had this out, of course, and once when I was in Greece, but have never made it myself. You are giving me great incentive to make this fabulous Greek dish.

says:

Your pork souvlaki is famous! Kat commented when I made your ladorigani that the souvlaki was her go-to dish! What’s updated about the recipe?

says:

Oh one of my very favorite things in the world….this looks wonderful. I am going to try your recipe on one of the next sunny days…hopefully by the weekend!

says:

Thank you, Peter. My husband will love me more now, because I have found such a great recipe. Pork is his meat of choice, too. I went to subcribe my e-mail – but nothing happened. Will you please get back to me when this is fixed. I would very much like to get your new posts when they come out. I am really glad you reposted this old standby. These are the basics that everyone cannot get enough of.
:)
Valerie

Demetri

says:

Long time first time! I have to hand it to you because your marinade is perfect. Too many receipes call for an acid and this changes the compexity of the final product. I make a lartholemono sause and slather the meat as it comes off the grill.
Three cheers to you for a great marinade!!
demetri

says:

Peter, we have just finished dinner – this souvlaki is absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much – this recipe is so going in the “keeper” file!

says:

[…] Harvey’s Hamburger (Home Version) Jul 24th, 2010 | By Peter Minakis | Category: BBQ, Beef, Canadiana, Featured, How To, Main, Meat, Sandwich, Spices [Translate] Growing up in Canada and the US, one is never too far from a burger joint. I can’t think of any friends who didn’t enjoy a hamburger – be it at home or out with family or friends. One of my earliest memories of a eating hamburgers was at McDonald’s….long time ago when they were actually good! There’s Burger King, there’s Wendy’s, there’s even A & W! Before during after the era of the franchise burger joint also existed the independent – the family-run (usually Greek) burger joint that would offer hamburgers (some pre-made source) or their homeburgers and even a souvlaki! […]

Merryn Galluccio

says:

Oh yum – thanks Peter. It’s wonderful when you post a link to a past blog and readers can enjoy them all over again. Love how you have used grated onion rather than lemon juice. I just hope we can wait 5 hours to enjoy them!

Merryn Galluccio

says:

Excellent indeed. I marinated these on Friday night and really enjoyed them simply cooked on the indoor griddle as wet weather eliminated the barbecue preference. Just wonderful! Had the remainder for Sunday lunch on a pita wrap with salad and tzatziki. This has now become a ‘must do’ every 2 or 3 weeks.

says:

Peter, just out of curiosity, how many people would this serve? I am assuming 1 pound is about 4 people, at a 1/4 lb a piece? I wanted to try this excellent recipe for a party this weekend, and want to get it right! thank you Peter!

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