Traditional Pork Souvlaki Recipe

Every culture has its own special street foodsMexico has its street tacos, Thailand and Laos have papaya salad, Germany its currywurst, the UK its fish and chips, and the U.S. has about a bajillion different regional versions of the hot dog. In Greece, the number one street food is undoubtedly souvlaki.

Souvlaki, as Real Greek Recipes explains, is a Greek word that simply means "skewer," although that term is also applied to the meat on the skewers and even to the meat once it comes off the skewers. It's served on a fresh, warm pita smothered with tzatziki. Souvlaki can be made not only with meat but with cheese, veggies, and fruits, although traditional Greek souvlaki comes in three varieties: chicken, pork, and mixed meat (pork and chicken together). Ting Dalton of Cook Simply chose to make her souvlaki with pork. "This is an easy dish to make," Dalton tells us, and her simple recipe requires just a few ingredients and 20 minutes to cook.

Assemble the ingredients for the pork souvlaki

To make this pork souvlaki, you will, of course, need some pork, a couple of pounds of a boneless cut such as tenderloin. You'll also need olive oil — Dalton didn't use extra virgin, and you don't need to use it, either, although you can if you want. As the olive oil will be cooked, though, it won't make much difference one way or another. This dish requires just two items from the produce aisle: a lemon and a few cloves of garlic. You'll also need a smidgen of honey, a little dried oregano, and as much or as little salt and pepper as you wish.

Marinate the pork

Mix together the olive oil with the lemon juice, honey, garlic, and oregano, and add salt and pepper to taste. Go easy on the salt, though, since it's always easier to add more later than to subtract it if you go overboard at this stage. Put the pork into a large bowl or pan and pour the marinade over the top. Turn the pork a few times so it is thoroughly coated with the marinade, then cover the dish with plastic wrap and let it soak in for at least 30 minutes.

"The longer you marinate the pork ... the more intense the flavor," says Dalton. She tells us the pork can be marinated for up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Thread the meat on the skewers

Before you cook the pork, you'll need to soak some wooden skewers. She does say, however, that "you can totally use metal skewers too," and adds that there's "no need to soak them then." Once the skewers are ready, you'll need to thread a few pieces of pork onto each skewer — Dalton says she fit four pieces on each of her skewers. Take care as you prepare the pork that you don't poke too big of a hole, since you don't want the meat to tear and fall off the skewer while it's cooking.

Cook the souvlaki

You can cook the souvlaki in several different ways. Dalton went with an outdoor barbecue grill, although you could also cook the meat skewers in a heavy skillet on your stovetop. (A cast iron grill pan with ridges would work great if you've got one.) If you're using a grill or a skillet, cook the skewers for around five to six minutes per side until they are a uniform golden brown.

Dalton also says that you can cook the pork in the oven at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. She does note, though, that souvlaki cooked in the oven or on the stove "won't have the same smoky, grilled taste."

Serve the souvlaki with your chosen sides

Traditional souvlaki sides consist of nothing more than grilled pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and maybe a few lemon wedges to add a bit more zing. Dalton says you could also go the Greek carryout route and serve your souvlaki with a side of fries. 

This souvlaki will stay fresh in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. Dalton says you can eat the leftovers straight from the fridge or reheat them in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

Traditional Pork Souvlaki Recipe
5 from 33 ratings
Every culture has its own special street foods. But in Greece, the number one street food is undoubtedly souvlaki. Try making your own at home.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
4
servings
Pork souvlaki with tzatziki
Total time: 30 minutes
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 pounds boneless pork, cut into 1-inch chunks
Optional Ingredients
  • Lemon wedges
  • Grilled pita bread
  • Tzatziki sauce
Directions
  1. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, honey, and oregano in a bowl, and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
  2. Place the pork in a large bowl or pan and pour the marinade over it. Cover with plastic wrap, turn the pork so all sides are covered in marinade, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate the pork for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. When you're ready to cook the pork, soak wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes, then carefully thread about 4 pieces of pork onto each skewer.
  4. Preheat a grill pan or outdoor grill.
  5. Cook the pork skewers until golden brown, around 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Keep turning so the pork has an even color.
  6. Serve the souvlaki with lemon wedges, grilled pita bread, and tzatziki, if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 550
Total Fat 37.0 g
Saturated Fat 6.1 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 145.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 3.9 g
Dietary Fiber 0.7 g
Total Sugars 1.9 g
Sodium 107.8 mg
Protein 48.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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