Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

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.

TRY THIS:

  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

FEATURED RECIPE

Photo Credit: Smithfield Culinary

These Spicy Mediterranean Pork Skewers with Tzatziki are packed with flavor, thanks to a potent marinade of jalapeño, garlic, coriander, cumin, sherry vinegar and cilantro. Once grilled, the pork tenderloin is paired with a refreshing Greek tzatziki.

GET THE RECIPE FOR Spicy Mediterranean Pork Skewers with Tzatziki

About The Author

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ROB CORLISS is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu. [email protected]