In Greece, there are many souvlaki and gyro joints all over the country and on nearly every corner. Then there are tavernas, small eateries that specialize in grilled meats that go beyond souvlaki and gyro, serving pork chops, biftekia, sausages, lamb chops, whole roast lamb on the spit, kokoretsi and kontosouvli. Kontosouvli another rotisserie offering where large chunks of pork are marinated then skewered and secured by a rod/spit and slow-roasted over an open charcoal pit.
Each Easter I like to add a new recipe or two to the usual fare served at Easter and this year the new addition was Kontosouvli. Beyond requiring a rotisserie to make it, the ingredients needed are accessible to most, affordable, easy to prepare and the end result is juicy pork meat that’s shaved off the main body of meat, served to your guests until more of the meat is ready to be eaten.
Kontosouvli is not one of those meat dishes where there’s a defined start and finish to the meat. The exterior meat gets cooked, slightly crisp and it begs to be sliced-off and eaten. Continue to cook until the new outer layer is well-cooked and slice-off some more! This is a backyard offering, a party offering and I’d recommend serving this alongside some other meats (as the whole Kontosouvli is not ready at one time).
There’s little prep required other than to cut-up your meat and prepare the marinade. The meat used here is my favourite of the pig – the pork butt. Also known as the Boston Butt, this cut comes from the upper shoulder from the front of the pig and it may contain the blade shoulder. When ordering a pork butt, it’s best to order a boneless cut and make sure the butcher does not give you the shoulder…a much different cut. The pork butt has fat contained in the meat (the shoulder cut’s fat is around the meat) and this fat melts away as the meat is cooked…leaving you with tender, succulent meat.
The marinade I chose for Kontosouvli is grated onion (an excellent meat tenderizer), some garlic, red wine, sweet paprika and salt and pepper. That is all! The large pieces of pork butt get tossed int the marinade and are refrigerated overnight until you’re ready to fire-up your gas or charcoal rotisserie and soon, you’ll have discovered a new party favourite to serve for family and friends.
(serves a large party/group of about 10)
approx. 6lbs. of pork butt
1 medium onion, passed through a box grater
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. of sweet paprika
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tsp. ground pepper
3 tsp. of sea salt
extra-sea salt for final seasoning
- In a large bowl, add your grated onion, garlic, paprika, oregano, red wine, salt and pepper and stir to mix. Now your pork butt into large chucks, about the size of your palm and place in the marinade and toss until well-coated. Cover and place in your fridge overnight.
- The next day, prepare your rotisserie. If using a charcoal pit, you’re looking for a medium heat (be able to count to 7 when placing your hands over the embers). If operating a gas grill, remove the grates and place a tray with water under where your rotisserie will operate. The drip pan with water will keep your grill clean, prevent flare-ups from occurring as the fat renders).
- Take your marinated pork meat out of the fridge and allow to return to room temperature. Skewer the meat onto the spit and secure at each end and ensure your gas or charcoal grill has a medium heat. Season the meat with some coarse sea salt and place your Kontosouvli over the heat. If using gas grill, you may lower the lid as well. Check/replenish drip pan with water every half-hour (charcoal grill doesn’t need) one and after about 1 hour, you’ll begin to slice-off some of the outer layer of meat.
- Continue to slice-off meat as the Kontosouvli cooks, squeeze some lemon juice on the meat and sprinkle with dried Greek oregano. Serve with good crusty bread and Tsantali Makedonikos Red.
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