venison souvlaki
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Greek Souvlaki

I of course do this with venison, but the base recipe in Greece would be with lamb; pork and chicken are also traditional in Greece. Basically this is like an American "taco night," where you lay everything out on the table and let everyone have at it. Fried potatoes are a common alternative to the pita breads, and I see lettuce as a garnish pretty often, as well as chunks of feta cheese. Once in a while I see those awesome pickled Greek pepperoncini peppers, too. They add a nice kick. There are a bunch of make-ahead steps here, so if you are pressed for time you can make the tzatiki sauce up to a few days ahead, and marinate the meat a full day a head of time, too.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw

Ingredients

MARINADE

  • 1 1/2 pounds venison backstrap or leg meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

TZATZIKI SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 7 ounces of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon dill
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

OTHER STUFF

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Red onions
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pita breads
  • Skewers

Instructions

  • When you are cutting your venison (or lamb, or beef, for that matter), make sure it is free of all silverskin and sinew. This will make the meat easier to eat in the pita. Cut them into smallish chunks -- remember, you are going to eat this as a sandwich of sorts, not as a big kebab. Add the meat to all the marinade ingredients in a sealable plastic bag, mix well and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, and up to a full day ahead.
  • Meanwhile, make the tzatziki sauce by mixing all of those ingredients together. Keep that in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
  • Chop all your accompaniments: Tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons, red onion, etc. If eating raw red onion isn't your cup of tea, soak the sliced onion in lemon juice or white wine vinegar while the meat is marinating. This quick pickle will pull the harshness right out of the onions.
  • When you are ready to rock, get your grill very hot. Make sure the grill grates are clean. Salt the venison liberally, and skewer the venison pieces together -- this is not how I normally do meat skewers, but jamming them all together helps keep these small pieces of meat from overcooking. Lay the skewers on the hot grill and cook them with the grill cover open until they are medium, about 4 minutes per side depending on how hot your grill is. I use the finger test for doneness to determine when to pull the meat off. Keep it on the skewers while you take it to the table.
  • To serve, lay everything out and let people make their own little pita wraps. Serve with a nice light Greek red wine, a dry rose or a crisp beer or three.