Greeks make souvlaki by marinating chunks of meat in oil, lemon juice
and oregano, then skewering and grilling them. This version uses
pork shoulder because it's so tender and succulent. © Yunhee Kim
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It was sort of a revelation to me that you could quickly cook pork shoulder. I’d always assumed that it needed hours of slow braising or roasting to get the meat meltingly tender. But then I remembered (vaguely) a recipe for spareribs that were high-heat roasted for a relatively short time. They were a bit chewy, yeah, but still juicy and really meaty. The little bit of fat self-bastes and helps caramelize the meat. It occurred to me that I could use shoulder in a whole host of recipes that seemed destined for quicker-cooking pork loin or, even worse, tenderloin.
The key is (and this is probably totally obvious, but...) cutting the meat into small pieces. For this souvlaki, I cut the pork into 1/2-by-3-inch strips and let it marinate with onions, lemon, herbs, salt and pepper for about 10 minutes. Maybe the salt and acid help to tenderize the meat? I don’t know, but they do infuse a bit of flavor, which is important in something that cooks quickly. I heated a cast-iron griddle until smoking hot, and cooked the meat and onions until tender and charred in spots. (Think short-order cook at your favorite Greek place.) I’m kind of addicted to Fabulous Flats Tandoori Naan, which is really just a pocketless pita. It makes the best wrap for this souvlaki, but any brand will do. Do not forget the tzatziki—it keeps everything deliciously creamy and rich! SEE RECIPE »