My family Traditional Pork Souvlaki recipe produces juicy, flavourful pork skewers that are not only delicious, but perfectly tender as well.
As far as Greek food goes, when you think of Greek cuisine, souvlaki is always top of mind, right up there with other delicious Greek classics like Moussaka and Spanakopita. It is classic, traditional Greek food and sure to be found on a menu at a Greek restaurant. It’s easily the most popular Greek street food.
It’s no wonder traditional Greek souvlaki is so popular and well loved. Tender, juicy marinated pork skewers are easy to eat and downright delicious. And when they cook up on a hot grill, getting those delicious little charred bits in the process, they are irresistibly good.
The secret to making the best Greek pork souvlaki is down to the souvlaki marinade. My recipe is one I learned from my dad and I am sharing all of his tips and tricks to getting the juiciest and tastiest souvlakia you can get.
The ingredients are simple, the process is easy, and with a little patience (i.e. letting the meat pieces marinate in all the delicious herby, lemony flavours), you will be so glad you made these at home.
If you are a fan of pork souvlakia or want to make a mix for guests that may not eat pork, be sure to check out my Chicken Souvlaki recipe.
Ingredients for this Traditional Pork Souvlaki Recipe
- Pork tenderloin: Other pork cuts that work well for pork souvlaki include pork shoulder
- Seasoning: dried Greek oregano, dried thyme, garlic powder (can substitute minced garlic- use as many garlic cloves as you desire, depending on your preference), salt and black pepper.
- Olive oil: extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine: Since wine is acidic, it also helps to tenderize the meat as well as add flavour.
- Lemon juice: fresh lemon juice. Lemon helps tenderize the pork and adds flavour. You can also add lemon zest for added flavor, if you like.
Note: Ingredient quantities and full instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make authentic Pork Souvlaki
- Cut pork into cubes: Cut the pork tenderloin pieces into 1 inch cubes and place pork cubes in a large mixing bowl.
- Marinade: Add all of the other marinade ingredients to the large bowl and mix to coat the chunks of meat evenly with all of the seasonings. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Skewer pork: Soak the wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Carefully thread pork onto the skewers. [Note: You can also use metal skewers]
- Grill: Preheat a grill on high heat (an outdoor grill or indoor grill can be used) . Cook the pork souvlaki skewers until cooked through, flipping them as they cook to ensure they are cooked evenly.
Can You Use a Different Cut of Pork for Souvlaki?
While pork tenderloin is our go-to cut for souvlaki, you can definitely use another tender cut to make your skewers. Since tender souvlakia are the goal, pork shoulder or neck is also often used to make souvlaki.
How to Keep Pork Souvlaki Juicy and Tender
The best souvlaki, is a juicy and tender one. In order to keep your pork souvlaki succulent, there are a few important tips.
- Start with a tender cut of pork. Pork tenderloin is my family’s preferred cut but as mentioned earlier, pork shoulder is another great option.
- Marinade overnight. The marinade adds so much flavour to the souvlaki meat but it does more than just that. Acidic components like lemon juice and wine are included in the marinade because they help to tenderize the pieces of meat. The longer the meat marinades, the more time they have to tenderize.
- Brush souvlaki with an olive oil mixture. This is not a necessary step and I didn’t include it in the recipe card, but if you want to add more moisture to your pork souvlaki (particularly if they are not going to be consumed straight off the grill or if you are re-heating leftover souvlaki), you can make a simple mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and oregano in a small bowl. Then brush it onto the cooked souvlaki before serving.
What to serve with this Traditional Pork Souvlaki Recipe
Souvlaki is versatile and can be served up with so many different sides. Typically (as you see in restaurant menus), souvlaki is popularly served up in one of two ways.
The first popular option is to serve souvlaki wraps. This is essentially souvlaki wrapped in a pita with red onion, tomatoes and a good dose of creamy tzatziki sauce (skewer removed, of course, to make it easy to eat it as a wrap). I also love to add some crumbled feta cheese to my souvlaki pitas, cause feta makes everything better!
The other popular way to serve souvlaki is plated with other popular Greek side dishes like rice, Greek lemon potatoes and Greek Salad for a classic Greek dinner. Serve them up with lemon wedges so diners can give a good squeeze of lemon juice to the souvlaki before eating and a good dollop of tzatziki.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! Kali orexi!
Love Greek food? You may also like:
- 8 wooden skewers (or more if making smaller souvlakia)
- 4 lbs pork tenderloin (64 oz or approximately 3 tenderloins)
- 2 teaspoons oregano dried
- 1 teaspoon thyme dried
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder optional, (can also substitute minced garlic)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Cut the pork tenderloin pieces into 1 inch cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl. [Note: As written, this recipe makes 8 large souvlaki skewers that are about 8 oz each. If you would like to make the souvlakia smaller, cut them into smaller pieces.]
- Add all of the other marinade ingredients and mix to coat the pork evenly with all of the seasonings. Cover the bowl with plastic food wrap and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight. [Allowing the pork to marinade overnight produces a more tender and flavourful souvlaki.]
- Soak the wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes. [This prevents them from burning too much on the grill.]
- Carefully thread the pieces of pork onto the skewers.
- Preheat a grill on high heat.* Cook the pork skewers until cooked through, flipping them as they cook to ensure they are cooked evenly. This typically takes about 10 minutes, but will depend on the temperature of your grill. [Use a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked through.]
- Remove from the heat and allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving.