Pork Souvlaki: A Not-Quite-So-Portable Greek Dish (My Fault)

Any cook knows that every now and then, a meal doesn’t quite turn out as planned. My attempt at making Greek pork souvlaki was just one of those times.

Prepping the cucumber and garlic for the tzatziki sauce.
Prepping the cucumber and garlic for the tzatziki sauce.

I’m not a baker. As much as I love to cook and feel right at home hopping into anyone’s kitchen and picking up a knife to mince some garlic, I just can’t get the hang of baking. That’s definitely my sister’s department. That’s why I probably should have listened to the little voice in my head telling me that I should buy some pita bread for this dish rather than try to make it myself. But, alas, I insisted I had to try to make it myself (for the blog).

I wish I could bake. I’m not exactly sure why I’m not as adept at it, other than that there’s a science and exactness to baking that doesn’t exist in cooking. Ironically, my sister says that’s why she’s better at baking: it’s so exact! (She is the scientist).

Cutting up pork while the pita dough rises and the tzatziki sauce marinates.
Cutting up pork while the pita dough rises and the tzatziki sauce marinates.

I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a while. My friend Mike bought me a grill recently, and so I finally had a chance to make this the way I wanted. To follow the recipe exactly takes three different full recipes: tzatziki sauce, pork skewers, and the pita bread.

Pork skewers ready to be grilled.
Pork skewers ready to be grilled.

The pork was fabulously easy. Chop it up, skewer it, sprinkle the meat with spices, and then pop it on the grill. The pita bread… that’s a different story. I’m not 100 percent sure what went wrong with it, but I have my suspicions. Suffice to say, it was a mess when I tried to put it on the griddle, and it did not get better with heat. So, I had to improvise, and Mike and I had a gluten-free meal.

Carrots and pork skewers on the grill. Yum.
Carrots and pork skewers on the grill. Yum.

I had some carrots in the fridge, and I just read an awesome article in the New York Times Taste section about how great grilled carrots are. (Ignore the one that fell through the grate). They were right! I simply brushed each orange tuber with oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and put them on the grill. They sweetened up and got a nice roasted flavor.

On to the tzatziki sauce: while you may be tempted to purchase some, DON’T. The recipe is very easy, and it was the best tzatziki sauce I’ve ever had. I had a lot left over, and I used it to dip some sweet peppers and pita chips I had a few days later. The recipe instructs you to grate the cucumber. That was a little difficult. Next time, I will just stick it in a food processor and then wring out the extra water from it.

Greek pork souvlaki, sans the pita bread.
Greek pork souvlaki, sans the pita bread.

Next time, I probably will buy the pita bread. I’m sure the homemade stuff is good, and if you’re more baking-inclined, go for it! But I’ve learned my lesson for now. However, I will make this recipe again. It’s great for the hot summer months ahead, and the tzatziki is just what I need to cool off.

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