These pork souvlaki or ‘meat on skewers’ have been marinating in lemon, garlic, oregano and one of my best extra virgin olive oil. Expect it to taste succulent and mediterranean. I was craving the Gyros I had eaten in Athens, Greece – very moist slices of pork carved off a vertical rotisserie and stuffed inside a folded pita. (Want to know where? Click here to read more, Greek Gyros & The Best Gyros In Athens).

The next best thing to those juicy rotisserie pork slices is to make my own pork souvlaki. Not only can pork souvlaki be served on its own, it is easily sliced into thin slices so that it can replace the meat shaved off a vertical rotisserie. Now, I can choose to have either pork souvlaki or pork gyros and who is going to stop me if I want both! However you choose to serve the kebabs, they are tasty morsels. The challenge is in cooking the pork just right so that it remains juicy and tender. Overcooked, they toughened up and dry out.  Dedicate a few minutes to watch over them carefully and they will turn out fine.This is the fourth in a series of 10 meze recipes that were inspired by my recent holiday in Greece. Click here, Greek Meze, Another Selection Of Wonderful Little Bites. For your easy reference, scroll down to the end of the post and you will find a table spread of all the 10 meze, the names of the meze and links to recipes that I have already posted.

Greek Pork Souvlaki Kebabs Skewers

Prep: 15 minutes 
Cook: 5 – 10 minutes
Inactive: 6 – 36 hours
Level: Moderately easy
Serves: ~2 – 3 for dinner or 6 as part of a meze spread.
Oven Temperature: Use Panini Grill, Oven Grill or over the Stovetop
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Might be cooked a day ahead. Cover in aluminium foil and heat through.

Ingredients

500g pork collar/pork shoulder (substitute with boneless dark chicken meat)
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
2 and 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons garlic (~ 4 garlic cloves)
Some extra virgin olive oil for brushing

Method

1. Cut the pork into 1.18″ X 0.78″ X 0.39″ (3cm X 2cm X 1cm). The idea is to cut them such that the pork cubes will cook evenly and at about the same time. A thickness of 0.39″ (1cm) is ideal as it is thin enough to ensure that the pork is cooked through.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients with the pork. Cover, refrigerate and marinate at least 6hrs and up to 36 hours.
3. As soon as you have refrigerated the pork, determine how many bamboo skewers you would need to thread the pork cubes and soak them in water. You don’t want to risk the skewers burning.
4. 10 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove pork from the refrigerator. Thread the pork cubes onto skewers. Skewer each stick with pork cubes that are of fairly the same size to best ensure even cooking. Do not pack the pork cubes tightly. Pour all marinade over the skewered pork.

3 ways to cook the pork:
(1) Panini Grill
(2) Oven Grill
(3) Stovetop

However you choose to cook the pork, it will cook through faster than you think. If overcooked, they will be hard and dry. Watch carefully, take them off the heat earlier than you think. If undercooked, you can return to the fire, if overcooked, you can’t do a thing. Just before grilling, coat the pork with some extra virgin olive oil.

(1) Panini Grill

1. More often than not, I use my panini grill to cook the pork. It has adjustable top and bottom heating elements and grill marks. I turn both top and bottom elements to medium-high heat. It takes ~2 minutes to cook through, maybe less/more or until a toothpick can be skewered easily through the pork.
2. If you have any pan juices left on your cooking vessel, pour it over the pork. However, if you have any raw marinade left, that must be brought to boil before pour ing over the cooked pork pieces.
3. Best served hot with some Tzatziki or to make pork gyros.

(2) Oven Grill

1. If you are going to use your oven grill (top heat only), turn it on medium-high, closer to high. The meat should be 4″ below the top heating element.  After ~ 4 minutes in the oven, I turn them over.  It takes another ~ 3 – 4 minutes, maybe less/more or until a toothpick can be skewered easily through the pork. Watch them carefully, do not move away. They should look browned. Use oven gloves.
2. If you have any pan juices left on your cooking vessel, pour it over the pork. However, if you have any raw marinade left, that must be brought to boil before pour ing over the cooked pork pieces.
3. Best served hot with some Tzatziki or to make pork gyros.

(3) Stovetop

1. Heat up a large frying (or grill) pan on medium-high heat.
2. When the pan is hot, add the skewered pork. Do not overcrowd the pan. If you do not have a fry pan large enough to fit the skewers, forget the skewers and fry the pork cubes directly in the pan.
3. Once the circumference of the pork cubes have turned opaque, ~ 2 – 2.5 minutes, turn the pork over.
4. Lower the heat to medium. It should take another ~ 2 – 2.5 minutes on this side, maybe less/more or until a toothpick can be skewered easily through the pork.
5. If you have any pan juices left on your cooking vessel, pour it over the pork. However, if you have any raw marinade left, that must be brought to boil before pour ing over the cooked pork pieces.
6. Best served hot with some Tzatziki or to make pork gyros.

Best way to check pork is cooked?

Unfortunately, a thermometer won’t work as the pork is only 1cm thick. Make a mental note of the first skewer that you place on your cooking vessel. The pork on it would in all likelihood be the ones to cook through first. The surface of the pork should have either turned opaque or browned. When you prod on the pork cube, it will feel firm. Too firm however means it is over cooked. Use a toothpick, if it can be skewered easily through the pork, it’s cooked.

When, I am unsure if the pork has cooked through, I use my kitchen scissors and make a cut through the thickest-looking cube of pork. If it is completely opaque with no sign of rawness, all other pieces of pork should also be cooked.

Tips

(1) The pork must be marinated and it must be marinated at least 6 hours. I had tried a recipe which called for the meat to be marinated just before it was cooked. The flavour of those kebabs were pretty bland and really not worth eating.
(2) You could marinate the meat and leave it in the freezer until you are ready to use them.
(3) Any leftover pork can be sliced thinly and be made into very good sandwiches. I heat up a frying pan until hot, drizzle in a little extra virgin olive oil and throw in the kebab slices to brown and warm quickly for a satisfying hot sandwich.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?

Santorini Fava. Even though it is called ‘fava’, it is not made from fava beans but a yellow split pea. Mention Santorini Fava and Greeks know exactly what to expect. A plate of smooth dip made with Santorini’s famous yellow split peas, sprinkled with chopped onions, capers, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Here is the spread of Greek Meze

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First row. Left to right:
Slow Cooked Octopus In A Sherry Vinegar Garlic Marinade,
Moussaka – Baked Casserole Of Eggplants, Tomatoey Meat Topped With A Creamy White Sauce,

Santorini Fava A Delicious Yellow Split Peas Dip,
Grilled & Marinated Peppers With Fig Balsamic Cream
Second row. Left to right: Greek Inspired Harissa-Style Hot Chilli Sauce To Go With Olives,
5 Minutes Grilled Cheese Meze,
Santorini Tomatoey Tomato Balls/Fritters
Third row. Left to right:
Crispy Whitebait And Sweet Onions Disk,
Pork Souvlaki Kebabs Skewers,
Tzatziki A Cucumber Yogurt Dip,
Oh So Soft Pita Bread

Last October, I had a similar feature on meze. Those meze were inspired by the regional cuisines of North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, that post is filed under, Meze, A Selection Of Wonderful Little Bites. The recipes for my meze are often easy and can be made ahead. Great if you are planning to feed many people at your next dinner.

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