Sunday, January 9, 2011

Souvlaki Sliders

A souvlaki slider is not a pitch thrown by Major League Baseball's hottest new Greek pitcher. It's an idea I had last night when I realized that I had the wrong type of pita bread.

But first, I have an exciting announcement from the folks at Kingsford Charcoal. How would you like to spend three days in Vegas learning from a BBQ Master named Chris??? No, no, not me - I am talking about a REAL BBQ Pitmaster - Chris Lilly. Chris has won multiple world BBQ championships and he is a walking library of BBQ information. Chris has a masterful delivery for sharing his knowledge in his classes. Here is Chris at a cooking class I attended at Dead End BBQ here in Knoxville last May.

This year three lucky winners will get flown to Las Vegas to learn the latest in grillin' and thrillin' from Chris at Kingsford Charcoal's annual Kingsford University. To make it even better, this will be held at the Las Vegas speedway during the Sprint Cup weekend. CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO ENTER KINGSFORD UNIVERSITY. Believe me, this is one you don't want to miss!

Okay, back to the souvlaki. This idea has been percolating in my head ever since Mr. Holloway posted his souvlaki over at the EggForum in November. It is a simple yet flavor packed dish.

Souvlaki Sliders
source: NibbleMeThis
Yields: 12 appetizer portions (2 each)

2 boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1" cubes
4 whole pita breads
1/2 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 dried red chile, crumbled
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper (I used RichardFL's Indian River Rainbow Pepper)
1 large or 2 normal sized clove of garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil

Tzatziki sauce
14 ounces greek yogurt (ours comes in 7 oz sizes, but two cups would be fine)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar (fig balsamic also works well)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cucumber, seeded, peeled, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp dill weed

Make your marinade by slowly pouring the oil into the lemon juice while whisking to make a vinaigrette. Add the remaining ingredients. Toss the cubed pork in the marinade to thoroughly coat. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 8 hours but 24 hours is best.

Make the tzatziki sauce by combining all ingredients in a food processor and running it 5-9 pulses until you get the consistency you like. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving but will hold for several days.

Once the meat has marinated, it is time to assemble the skewers. Don't be alarmed that the color of the meat has turned slightly. It's not going bad, it is the marinade acting on the meat.

Here is my video tip about types of skewers and tips for using them.

My Big Green Egg was busy smoking an 11.5 lb butt so I got Alexis' Big Green Egg set up for direct heat at 350f. Next time I would use 400f. Grill the souvlaki 2 minutes a side.

When they are done, brush with lemon juice just before taking them off.

Lightly brush your pita bread with olive oil and grill 1 minute per side.

If you were doing these as a main course, you'd be ready to eat just as they are.

But to make these as an appetizer portion, cut the pita bread into wedges as shown. (A whole pita cut into 6 equal pieces or a half pita cut into thirds...figure it out, this isn't a geometry class.)

Place a dollop of the tzatziki sauce on each wedge, sprinkle with diced red onion, and top with 1-2 pieces of the souvlaki.

These are tasty and a great way to spread two pork chops into a dozen appetizer portions. You could also garnish them with some diced tomato, chopped mint, or anything that floats your boat. You could also place the meat and goods inside the wedge for a more "slider" style, but we found them easier to eat like this. Enjoy and get grilling!