Marinated Greek Lamb Souvlaki recipe (Skewers) with Pita and Tzatziki
Posted in 40 minutes or less, Barbecue Recipes, Beginner, Fried, Main Courses, Mainland Greece, Our hand picked recipes, Simply souvlaki, Traditional Greek Taverna Recipes Originally published on May 17, 2014 Last updated on December 18, 2016 By Eli K. Giannopoulos
Perfectly moist and crispy succulent lamb souvlaki / suvlaki skewers! Get the fire started.. it’s barbecue time this weekend with this amazing Greek lamb souvlaki recipe! Souvlaki is one of the most popular street foods in Greece and for good reason! Juicy and well seasoned meat garnished with cooling tzatziki sauce, served or wrapped in a delicious crispy and fluffy pita.. Well, one couldn’t ask for more! Although I just love the classic Greek chicken and pork souvlaki skewers, I think you will agree that there is nothing better than the smell and deliciousness of a charcoal barbecued lamb souvlaki! It’s a shame that nowadays lamb souvlaki is commonly substituted with pork skewers, as a much cheaper alternative. But if you like me, just love lamb, here is a very easy to follow Greek lamb souvlaki recipe with fluffy pita bread and creamy tzatziki sauce to make your own homemade juicy lamb souvlaki skewers from scratch!
Greek lamb souvlaki recipe – Preparing the marinade
The most important step in making the perfect, traditional Greek lamb souvlaki (suflaki) is nothing else but the marinade! For this traditional lamb souvlaki recipe, the meat is first marinated to soak up all the wonderful Mediterranean flavours and then grilled, to get all crunchy, nicely coloured and juicy. Select some good quality lamb leg or shoulder and season with a selection of Greek spices like oregano and fresh thyme, coat with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice and flavour with garlic and chopped onions. Marinading your lamb souvlaki in the fridge for at least 4 hours will allow the aromas to infuse the meat and give it the desired flavours.
Of course the best option is to grill the lamb souvlaki (skewers) on a char-coal barbecue, to get them all crispy and smokey. However they also work great on a grill pan or in the oven, if you don’t have the time or space for a proper barbecue. Cooking time varies greatly, mostly depending on how well done you like your meat. Most Greeks are not big fans of medium-rare, hence most tavernas offer the lamb souvlaki well done.
Lamb Souvlaki recipe – Serve your lamb souvlaki (skewers) the traditional Greek way
The best way to serve your traditional Greek lamb souvlaki is nothing other than with some delicious traditional Greek pita. Finding the original Greek pita can be quite challenging as most supermarkets stock only the arabian style ones but you can most likely find them at your local Greek deli or amazon (here and here). However as we all know, nothing compares to home-made, so you can also make your own homemade pita bread with this super easy recipe. Of course tzatziki is the preferred sauce to garnish your lamb souvlaki and we have included one below as well as here. Don’t forget to season with some salt and paprika, sweet or spicy if you like an extra kick.
Another delicious alternative of this lamb souvlaki recipe is to serve the lamb souvlaki with roast peppers and tomatoes and a full spoon of yogurt seasoned with a pinch of cumin, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Grill the peppers and tomatoes on a gridle pan over high heat to get them all nicely coloured and finish in the oven along with the lamb souvlaki for extra flavour.
So go ahead, prepare his traditional lamb souvlaki recipe for your friends and family and enjoy over a glass of cold beer!
- 1kg lamb leg or shoulder, cut into chunks (35 oz.)
- 80ml olive oil (approx. 5-6 tbsps)
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 red onions, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dried Greek oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme or some fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika (optional)
- 1/2 tsp cumin (optional)
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 10 metal or wooden skewers
For the tzatziki sauce
- 1 cucumber
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 of a cup extra virgin olive oil
- 500g of strained yogurt (18 ounces)
- 1-2 tbsps of red wine vinegar
- a pinch of salt
- 10 pita breads
- olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- To prepare this Greek lamb souvlaki recipe, cut the meat into equal sized (3 cm) chunks and set aside.
- Prepare the marinade for the lamb souvlaki. In a large bowl add the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, the herbs and spices and season with freshly ground pepper – don’t add salt yet. Whisk all the ingredients to combine. Add the meat and the chopped onions and blend to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, chill and let marinade for at least 4 hours. It’s best to leave the meat for the lamb souvlaki marinade overnight, to soak up all the wonderful flavours. (If you are at home blend the marinade once in a while).
- In the meantime prepare the tzatziki sauce for the lamb souvlaki. Pour in a blender the olive oil and grated garlic and blend until combined. Remove the skin and the seeds of the cucumber and grate it into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and leave aside for 10 minutes. Wrap the grated cucumber in a towel and squeeze, in order to get rid of the excess water. In a bowl, add the cucumber, the blended garlic and oil, the yogurt, 1-2 tbsps of red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt and blend, until the ingredients are combined. Store the tzatziki sauce in the fridge and always serve cold.
- To assemble the lamb souvlaki (skewers), you can either use wooden or metal skewers. For this lamb souvlaki recipe, you will need about 10 skewers, depending on the size of each lamb souvlaki. If using wooden skewers, cut them to fit your griddle pan and soak them in water. (This will prevent them from burning.) Lift the chunks of lamb out of the marinade and thread the pieces, comfortably, on the skewers. At this point don’t forget to season your lamb souvlaki with salt.
- Heat a grill, barbecue or griddle pan and cook the lamb souvlaki for about 10-15 minutes, until cooked to your liking.
- While your lamb souvlaki is cooking, prepare the pita breads. Preheat the oven to 250C. Use a cooking brush to lightly oil the pita breads on both sides and season with salt and oregano. Place a large oven tray at the bottom of the oven and place the pita breads on top of the tray. Bake for 2-3 minutes. (Alternatively barbecue the pita breads, until nicely coloured on both sides).
- Enjoy this delicious Greek lamb souvlaki recipe with pita bread and tzatziki sauce with a nice refreshing Greek feta salad.