Souvlaki – Pork of the Gods

Pork Souvlaki Recipe

I had some amazing souvlaki in Santorini, on a tiny island called Thirasia. There were more cats than people living on the island, and it was a very interesting, and slightly surreal place to visit for a few hours. Our tour guide recommended a restaurant on the beach; it was a place that she said she went to every time she was there. (Which, I’m guessing, was probably once a day.)

It was absolutely delicious, and half of the seating was on a deck sitting above the ocean. It was a peaceful and amazing meal, accompanied with a very refreshing Greek beer. I’m sure it all tasted even better after my companion and I hiked up a mountain of stairs to see the village, but that doesn’t take away from it being so, so good.

Thirasia Greece

However, of the list of tasty things that we had while in Santorini, it wasn’t one of the first things that I recreated after returning. I’ve had a healthy stock of Greek yogurt in the fridge since, and I have a newfound love for speciality honey. Souvlaki came to mind again when I was uploading photos from the trip. There it was, that beauty of a dish, waiting for me perpetually in a photo.

Traditional Souvlaki

Traditionally, souvlaki is pork. I was surprised to learn it, as I thought for sure it would have been lamb. I was pretty insistent on having it in the most traditional way possible, so pork on a small, barely-populated island had to be the way to go.

Mine wasn’t nearly as good as the amazing souvlaki I had looking out at the islands of Santorini, but it’s a pretty tasty second-runner. It’s recommended to marinade your pork overnight, so it’s not going to be a meal I could put together on the fly, unfortunately.

In the making of my souvlaki, I went a slightly untraditional route. Because I was just cooking for myself, I didn’t bother with the skewers, and I decided to eat it more like a sandwich than a fork-and-knife meal. Really, the whole thing was pretty untraditional, since I also broiled (grilled) it rather than putting it on the grill (BBQ). As an aside, talk about confusing terms. Broil (US) = Grill (UK); Grill (US) = BBQ (UK). Some of the differences still take a bit of getting used to.

But now, on to the recipe!

On the Counter:

Serves: 4

for the tzatziki:
(I like mine strong; add more yogurt if you like it less intense)
8 oz (225g) fat free Greek yogurt (I use Fage, or Chobani in the states)
1/2 cucumber
the juice of half a lemon
1 clove garlic
salt

for the pork:
1 lb pork loin or tenderloin
1/4 cup red wine
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

for the plate:
4 whole wheat pitas
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
1/2 onion (preferably red)
1 handful lettuce/salad greens per person
1 vine-ripened tomato

What to Do:

for the tzatziki:
You can also make this ahead.

Peel and de-seed cucumber, then grate it into a bowl. Sprinkle the cucumber with salt, let sit for 5 minutes. Wrap it in a paper towel and squeeze out excess water. Put it back into the bowl.

Finely mince garlic, add to bowl.

Squeeze lemon juice into bowl.

Add yogurt and stir well to combine.

for the pork:
In a large, non-metal bowl, whisk together wine, garlic, oil, thyme, salt and pepper.

Cut pork into one inch cubes.

Add pork to marinade, stir to coat. Cover bowl and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 mins before using.

Grill/BBQ: Heat grill to medium-high for 10 mins, turning occasionally until cooked.

Oven: Broil/grill on medium heat, about 6 inches away from the heat, for 6 minutes, turning the skewers once halfway through.

The pork should show just the slightest bit of pink in the center.

for the plate:
Slice tomatoes into wedges, seed if desired, then cut wedges in half. 

Thinly slice red onion. 

Slice pitas in half and gently open up the pockets. 

Place all veggies and pita onto the plate in the arrangement of your choice. Add a dollop of tzatziki and the pork, and serve. 

Pork Souvlaki Recipe

I love being inspired by dishes while traveling. Next, I’m hoping to try my hand at baked feta. Have you ever been inspired by meals you’ve had while traveling?

2 thoughts on “Souvlaki – Pork of the Gods

  1. That looks delicious, and Greece looks soooo pretty.

    I totally agree that environment can influence the way you feel about a meal. When Jake and I were in Germany, we had a couple of meals at outdoor cafes, surrounded by all the awesome old buildings in the cities there. All of those meals just seemed amazing, and I’m sure if I ate that food in my living room it wouldn’t seem nearly as tasty haha.

    • Thanks! 🙂 I’m thinking about doing a photo round-up post, and I’ll probably have a lot more Greek food pics in there.

      Yah, it’s not quite the same having souvlaki in my small living room as it is having it on a dock in the middle of the ocean on an 85 degree day, but, you know… we make do.

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