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How to get lamb souvlaki tender

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi,

Im wanting to cook juicy tender lamb souvlaki.

I've tried many recipes before, but despite how long I marinate it (or what I use)-it comes out really tough and dry.

I'm using lean cubed lamb. Not sure what cut.

I plan to marinate it overnight.

Do I need to add an acid whilst marinating? Or will that 'eat into' meat?

Any other tips?

Thanks


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post #2 of 7

Use tender meat to begin with.  Don't overcook, 

 

Yes you can use acid in the marinade, but you don't have to.

 

I prefer a long marinating process, and marinate lamb souvlaki for four days. 

  • Day 1, I put the lamb in a marinade of olive oil, herbs, onion and garlic. 
  • Day three, add peppers. 
  • Day three, salt (not too much), wine, vinegar and lemon juice. 
  • Day four, cook. 

 

At the end of the cook, just before removing the skewers from the fire, I squeeze fresh lemon over them and sprinkle with herbs.

 

While that works for me, bear in mind that there are lots of ways to skin that particular cat.  But no matter what you do:  Use tender meat to begin with.  Don't overcook. 

 

BDL

post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by quince View Post

I'm using lean cubed lamb. Not sure what cut.

That's probably the first thing you should inquire about: what kind of cut are you using? For tender skewers, try leg of lamb - and as BDL said don't overcook. 

 

And I for the marinade I go the opposite: I marinade lamb for a very short time - maybe an hour or so. Typically my marinade is olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper, oregano, garlic, toasted coriander and cumin seeds.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by quince View Post

...Do I need to add an acid whilst marinating? Or will that 'eat into' meat?
 

Whenever I marinate meat or fish, I try to avoid any acid. Like you said, it "eats" into the meat, or simply said; it cooks the meat without heat. Another thing I avoid is putting salt into the marinade. Salt draws moist out of the meat. Acid and salt make the meat tough, especially when marinating a longer time.

 

Try using only lemon zest in the marinade to get a nice lemony taste without the acidity. Be sure to remove all white from the lemon zest or the marinade will get bitter! A nice alternative is to grow a lemon verbena plant and add a handful of verbena leaves to the marinade; sensational!

And like FF, I marinate lamb shortly (maximum a few hours) and grill them as shortly as possible. I salt only when the meat is on the grill. I also use slices from the lamb leg (gigot). My marinade is simple; sunflower oil, thinly sliced garlic which will be removed before grilling, coarse black pepper, lemon zest, lemon verbena, rosemary. I always marinate the whole piece of meat first, preferably in a plastic bag. I cut the meat in smaller chunks after marinating, just before they go on the skewers.

 

Also a good idea when cooking lamb; after the meat is grilled, squeeze a little lemon juice over the skewers just before serving.

post #5 of 7

If you're buying lamb meat pre-cubed then of course it's hard to know what you're buying.  Stores in the US generally sell boneless legs of lamb that you can cut yourself, that's the best way to ensure that you get a tender cut.  That's the first thing.

 

As a marinade I've done it for several hours in a mixture of yogurt, chopped shallot, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and pepper.  No salt.  Salt the meat right before you place on the grill.  This is an adapted recipe from Steve Reichlen.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much for the replies, I'll look into the adapted reichlen recipe. Great idea about using the Zest.

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by quince View Post

Thanks so much for the replies, I'll look into the adapted reichlen recipe. Great idea about using the Zest.

 

I forgot, there's olive oil in it too.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply
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