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.
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)
- Trim excess fat from your pork butt and cut into uniform pieces.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice on your souvlakia with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and dried Greek oregano.
- Serve with some crusty bread or try some homemade pita bread and Tzatziki.
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