Therefore, when I walk through the meat section of a grocery store and I see per-seasoned and skewered souvlaki, I shake my head every time. I have no idea why anyone would buy this — sorry to say — “crap.”
Here’s a recipe that comes from two trips to Greece where I personally did “field research” and have perfected after many years of making repeating the same. Yes, to prepare souvlaki, it best requires a few hours of marination (which takes only planning, not effort), but if you were in a real hurry, you could skip this step and simply zest in a tiny bit (a ¼ tsp) of lemon to infuse more flavour — you’ll just give up some of the tenderness that comes when the lemon juice breaks down the pork fibers (for this reason, don’t over marinate or the pork will get ‘mushy’). The only real cooking tip is don’t salt the meat in the marinade as this will actually pull out the moisture from the meat and toughen it up. Instead, I salt it just before skewering the pork so the salt remains on the outside.
Finally, yes, you can substitute just about any protein (lamb, chicken, shrimp or even tofu) in this recipe but I prefer the juiciness of the pork.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Stand time: 2 hours
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 2½ hours
- 1½ medium (1 large) pork tenderloins
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2-3 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh Greek oregano
→ substitute 1½ teaspoons dried
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- fresh ground pepper
- Prepare the pork tenderloin by using a very sharp knife to remove any unwanted fat (though a little fat is good) as well as the “silver skin” from the tenderloin. Careful not to overly butcher your loin when doing this.
- Depending on the size of your loin, you’ll need to figure the best way, but ultimately you want to ‘cube’ it into 1½” (3cm) medallions. Depending on the size of your loin(s), you should end up with 16-20 pieces.
- Place pork medallions into a non-reactive bowl. Add enough olive oil to well-cover each piece (approximately 2-3 tablespoons). Juice half a lemon over the pork. Roughly chop the oregano and add it to the bowl. Mince the garlic and add it. Grind fresh pepper over the whole of the pork. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- After two hours, remove the souvlaki from the fridge and season it well with salt and mix again. Thread the pork onto sharp skewers.
- Pre-heat barbecue to 425ºF and wipe and oil the grates.
- Place the skewers on the barbecue and grill for 6 minutes. Turn and grill for 6 minutes more. Pork will be done when just a bit of residual pinkness remains.
- Remove and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Either serve it on skewers or remove it before plating. Serve with Greek salad and tzatziki.
Wine Pairing: Retsina is an obvious choice but any crisp wine with good acid would work well, like a dry Riesling.