Souvlaki is one of the most popular and iconic Greek foods. The concept is simple. Cut meat into small pieces, season it, pierce a skewer through it, and grill it until it is cooked. Yet, there is a lot more that can go into the process to tailor the recipe to specific tastes. Recipes vary by family, region in Greece, and simply personal preference.
Are you thinking of making souvlaki at home? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Choose Your Meat
You can basically choose any meat that you want, it all depends on what is available and on your personal preferences. Your choices include chicken, turkey, beef, pork, and lamb. The most traditional souvlaki is made from lamb or pork, but chicken souvlaki has gained popularity over the years as well. It honestly doesn’t matter because the Greek way is to use what is available. As long as the meat is boneless, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces or so, and has the fat trimmed, it will meet the qualifications!
Marinate the Meat
For the best results, any meat used for souvlaki should be marinated for at least two hours before it’s cooked.Use a combination of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper for a traditional flavor. You can use whichever proportions you are comfortable with, or you can even make a ladolemono dressing. Blend together in a food processor or blender ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 garlic clove, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place meat in a bowl, pour over marinade, cover the bowl and chill for 2-24 hours.
Prepare the Skewer
If you use bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for a few hours – about eight hours is best. This will prevent them from singeing when you grill them. You can also use metal skewers, which are nice because they help the meat cook faster from the inside and because they can also be reused. Pierce the meat through the skewer – about 3-4 pieces should fit on each one. You can also add pieces of onion and pepper through the skewer between the pieces of meat for extra flavor.
Cook the Souvlaki
The souvlaki is best prepared on the grill, but you can use a grill pan or even bake them in the oven. Your goal is to make sure the meat is cooked all the way through, and this will vary depending on the kind of meat you use and how well you like it cooked. Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the meat you’ve chosen is cooked to the proper temperature before you serve it.
There is some versatility involved when it comes to making souvlaki. Over time, you will find a way to adapt this basic method to suit your personal tastes and make it your own.