I love Greek flavors. What does that mean? To me, it means lemons, garlic, and oregano; cucumbers, feta and thick yogurt. And lots of extra virgin olive oil, preferably from kalamata olives.
That's why I was depressed. I missed Akron's Greek Festival this year, for the first time in a while.
*Why did I miss it? The usual reason - life got in the way. The kids had soccer games, I had to work the weekend, and everyone was fighting a cold. It added up to our missing the spanikopita, dolomades, moussaka, and baklava that I look forward to every year.
But then Sunday came, and my depression lifted. We had a clear blue sky with a few puffy clouds for contrast, and a high temperature in the upper sixties. Everything that was getting in the way was complete; we had an evening to relax and enjoy ourselves.
*The Cleveland Browns even won a game. It's a miracle!
Time for our own Greek Fest. I made a Greek salad, stuffed with feta, kalamata olives, cucumbers and onions and cherry tomatoes. Diane grilled some pita bread. The star of the show was a pork shoulder roast, rubbed with lemon zest, oregano, garlic and oregano. We ate on the deck, enjoying the weather, the food, the company, and some dry Rose wine.
*OK, Diane and I enjoyed ourselves. The kids wolfed down some pita bread, then asked to be excused to play with their friends. They wanted to stretch a perfect day their own way.
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber Summit with an infrared rotisserie burner. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9"x12", or whatever fits your grill)
- Butchers twine
- 4 pound pork shoulder roast (also know as "pork butt" or "pork shoulder butt roast")
- zest of 1 Lemon
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (or grated on the microplane zester I used on the lemon)
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Prep the pork shoulder: Up to 2 hours before cooking, prepare the pork shoulder. Score the fat on the top of the roast in a diamond pattern, making parallel slashes one inch apart, then going across in the other direction. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the lemon zest, oregano, garlic, Kosher salt, and olive oil; the result should be a thick paste. Spread this paste all over the pork shoulder roast, working it into any natural seams or cuts in the meat. Truss the roast with twine, tying it every inch and a half. Skewer the roast on the spit lengthwise, aiming for the center of the roast. Let the skewered pork rest at room temperature until ready to cook.
2. Prepare the grill: Set the grill up for rotisserie cooking at high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means removing the grates, turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and turning the infrared burner to high. Then I put my drip pan in the middle, over the unlit burners, and let the grill preheat for ten to fifteen minutes. This gives me grill temperature of about 550*F. (See here for more rotisserie setup details.)
3. Cook the pork shoulder: Put the spit on the rotisserie, start it spinning, and cook with the lid closed for an hour. At that point, the roast should be well browned; turn the heat down to medium-low. (I turn off the rotisserie burner, and turn the outer burners down to medium. This gives me a grill temperature of 275*F). Cook the pork roast until it reaches 190*F in the thickest part of the meat. This should take 1.5 to 2 hours; assume about 20 minutes per pound of meat.
4. Rest, carve and serve: Remove the spit from the grill. Be careful; the spit is hot. Remove the roast from the spit, transfer to a platter, remove the twine, and cover with foil. Let the roast rest for 15 to 30 minutes before carving the pork into ½" thick slices. Serve and enjoy!
*Every time I rotisserie a pork shoulder, I wonder why I don't do it more often. The combination of tender, melting meat from the long cooking time is combined with a browned, crispy crust. The results are pork heaven.
*Trussing may be optional, depending on how solid the roast is. My roast had a big line of fat between two muscles of meat; I had to truss it to hold those two muscles together on the spit.
*I reduce the heat after the first hour to leave more time for the connective tissue in the pork to break down into gelatin; that's also why I cover it with foil and give it a 30 minute rest - longer than I usually rest meat before carving.
*If you have the time, you can dry brine the pork. Rub it with the paste the night before cooking, and refrigerate overnight. Take it out of the refrigerator two hours before cooking, to let it come to room temperature before cooking, and continue with spitting the roast.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
All the great, authentic Greek recipes on Kalofagas.ca. Check them out, especially for the beautiful food photography.
|Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.|
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