May 10, 2023
Whenever people think of Greek meat dishes they think of lamb, lamb and more lamb. Why, I am not sure, as lamb was considered a luxury and only rarely eaten. It was saved for weddings, christenings and other celebrations throughout the year.
My own theory is when the max exodus happened (when the Greeks left Greece for countries like Australia, Canada and America) lamb wasn't so much of a luxury and it became an everday dish, and the locals would see lamb at Greek restaurants, houses and celebrations). Who knows!
Thats one for the ages!
Let us begin our tour of the Best Greek Meat Dishes!
What can we say about the trusty Gyro. Meat, some salad, potato chips, tzatziki all wrapped up in pita bread. The perfect meal! But there are so many variations of this trusty snack that we hope you will try them next time you are roaming the streets of Greece.
Kalamaki / Souvlaki Pita
This basically translates to bamboo / stick with pita. It is only called this in Athens. In all other parts of Greece its called Souvlaki and pita.
This is the first variation of the gyro. Where the gryo is made op of the meat thats spinning around a grill / heater, a kalamaki pita is souvlaki meat in place of the gyro meat. All the same fillings, but with better, tastier meat!
You will usually see pork as the souvlaki but you will also be able to order chicken souvlaki and lamb (if you're lucky).
Chicken Souvlaki Pita
So the chicken souvlaki pita gets its own mention as a different sauce is used. Out with the tzatziki and in with the mustard sauce. My preference is to remove the mustard sauce and replace it with tzatziki sauce. But thats my personal choice!
Kostas Kalamaki Pita - Athens
So Kostas gets a special mention as he has his own twist on the kalamaki pita. His shop is station at Pl. Agias Irinis 2, Athina 105 60. His twist is he replaces tzatziki with his own red tomato sauce. It doesnt sound like your classic Greak dish but with the line out the door, he has been and is still doing something right!
Loukanika - Greek Sausage
A staple taverna dish, loukanika is a Greek sausage that is usually made from freshly ground pork mixed with a variation of herbs and spices. It is usually grilled and goes best with an ice cold beer or some raki. Its on the best Greek Meze.
Ribs usually from pork, lamb or sheep, best cooked on the barbecue, seasoned with salt, pepper, oregano and a generous squeeze of lemon. Simple, quick yet very tasty. It is one of the most popular Greek dishes when you are after a meat fix!
Brizolo Hirini - Pork Tomahawk
Depending on the restaurant the size of the pork chop can vary. But usually when ordering this dish you will get a tomahawk shaped cut of pork. Some tavernas and meze restaurants offer the dish but the name will have a variation such as brizolaki which means small serving, which will see meat cut of the bone, and served in a small portion.
The meat is usually lightly seasoned and is a traditional Greek dish, one you will see on most tavernas menu, is some form!
Greek meatballs made in red sauce or shallow fried, make your choice!
Meatballs in red sauce, or better knows as Soutzoukakia are a mix of pork and beef gruond mince mixed with herbs and spices (cumin, cinnamon paprika, bay leaf). The meatballs are then cooked along with a red tomato sauce.
The second version of Greek meatballs are Keftethes / keftedes. They are made from pork mince with garlic, onion, parsley, fresh herbs and are shallowed fried. They are best served with tzatziki or even just a squeeze of lemon juice.
Here comes the lamb dish! Lamb kleftiko is a baked slow cooked lamb shank thats usually cooked with potatoes, carrots and peppers. The lamb falls off the bone and is so tender it will melt in you mouth.
Kleftiko goes back many years and was a dish where Klephts would steal farmers lamb, dig a hole, light a fire and slowly cook the lamb. They would return many hours later to find a tender juicy dinner. This was mostly done during the Greek revolution.
Another taverna favourite and a massive part of the Greek cuisine. It a delicious main course.
Another highlight on the Greek meat menu is veal liver. A far cry from the gyros and souvlakia this Greek dish is so delicious and flavoursome you do not even know you are eating liver.
The liver is pan-fried and cooked in a variety of herbs and spices, fried onion and as always a large squeeze of lemon.
Kreatopita - Greek meat pie
For the Australians visiting Greece, this is the closest you will get to an 'Aussie meat pie'.
Sauteed onions, pan cooked meat, a gravy / liquor mixed with carrots, oregano and parsley (to mention just a few herbs) all wrapped in filo pastry. Thrown in the oven until crispy brown. What more could you ask for?
If you see this on the menu, swap this in for the normal and traditional moussaka. You wont be disappointed.
A Greek stew made out of either lamb, pork or even rabbit. It is a slow cooked stew cooked with carrots and potatoes. A very delicious dish, accompanied with some crunch bread
Slowly cooked pork or chicken rotating around and around while cooking over hot coals. Constantly being basted, this meat is some of the best you will try in Greece.
The Souvla restaurants are hard to miss as they have their rotating meat front and centre of their restaurants - its the owners showing off their prized possession.
The Souvla meat is the main ingredient in a Greek mixed grill - that usually has lamb chops, pork neck and of course a Greek salad with plenty of feta cheese.