By Rob Corliss
May 15, 2022
Souvlaki (“little skewer”) is a Greek street food comprising smaller chunks of meat grilled on a small skewer, which today’s operators can position as a skewered snack, appetizer, entrée component, small-plate dish on a catering menu, to-go menu item, or souvlaki can easily be slid off the skewer into a warm flatbread doused with tzatziki or some other flavorful sauce. It can feature pork, beef, chicken, lamb or plant-based protein, or a combination thereof.
Here are tips and modern approaches to souvlaki, revitalizing the much-loved Greek duo of grilled meat and a cooling dip—ideal for warm-weather menus and LTOs. The idea behind the flavor pairings is for the clean, natural flavors of marinated pork, chicken and beef to shine, and for the Greek yogurt-based dips to remain influenced by tzatziki’s savory creaminess while employing today’s flavor trends.
- Soak wooden skewers in a mixture of vinegar-water-herb stems so they don’t burn while grilling, but more importantly to release aromatics into the souvlaki, building flavor into all aspects of the experience.
- Create signature acid-forward marinades (olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, black pepper, black lava salt).
- Add complementary dips to further distinguish the souvlaki, building on creamy/cooling tzatziki while pushing flavor boundaries.
- Take a simple approach by serving souvlaki-like fish and chips—menu a basket of lemon-garlic-feta fries directly topped with souvlaki.
- 1PORK (tenderloin, loin or belly)
- Greek Pork Souvlaki: Pork skewer + htipiti (Greek yogurt, feta, roasted red pepper, garlic, paprika, oregano, dill, lemon juice, olive oil)
- Mexican Pork Souvlaki: Pork skewer + Mexican Cotija yogurt (roasted jalapeño, achiote, Cotija cheese, Greek yogurt, lime juice, avocado oil)
- Southern Pork Souvlaki: Pork skewer + honey-hot mustard Greek yogurt (with crushed cracklin’s)
- 2CHICKEN (breast or thigh)
- Greek Chicken Souvlaki: Chicken skewer + sunshine dip (sun-dried tomato, grated cucumber, oregano, chickpea hummus, Greek yogurt)
- Cabo Chicken Souvlaki: Chicken skewer + avocado lime tzatziki (with shredded raw jicama)
- Alabama Chicken Souvlaki: chicken skewer + golden white barbecue dip (Greek yogurt, Alabama-style barbecue sauce, grated roasted golden beet)
- 3BEEF (top sirloin, strip steak or flank steak)
- Greek Beef Souvlaki: Beef skewer + spiced eggplant cream (roasted eggplant/onions, feta, Greek yogurt, Calabrian chile flakes)
- Latin Beef Souvlaki: Beef skewer + chimichurri green goddess dip
- Elote Beef Souvlaki: Beef skewer + elote dip (Greek yogurt ranch, charred corn purée, Cotija cheese, chipotle powder, lime, cilantro)
GET THE RECIPE FOR Spicy Mediterranean Pork Skewers with Tzatziki
From the Best of Flavor 2022 issue of Flavor & The Menu, for chefs and menu developers. Read full issue online.