Friends, what a week it has been. I am extremely overwhelmed with how this little thing known as Jack's Meat Shack is starting to take off. I may have mentioned before but Jack's Meat Shack started as a piss take by the missus because I would be outside cooking whatever the weather in my flip flops and loving every minute. "One day we'll be saying welcome to Jack's Meat Shack" she joked and look where I bloody well am now.
So why am I feeling particularly humble this week? well, first of all Jack's Meat Shack has just hit the shelves in Cibare Food Magazine this week with a little ditty from myself along with my recipe for Ranch Chicken Thighs and Lemon Flat Mushrooms. Check it out for yourself right here. Not only is it an honour to get the Shack in a publication, spending a sunny afternoon cooking and chatting with Cibare's Editor, Eve was an absolute blast and a day to remember.
As if that wasn't enough, Meat & Cleaver Butchers have released their Prime Traeger box working alongside myself and Traeger UK, a snip at £62.50. I have been busily beavering away creating some awesome recipes for y'all to enjoy including some right at the end of this post so stay tuned and get yourself over there to pick yourself up a nice treat for the barbecue right here.
Last weekend saw me doing what I love best and feeding barbecue lovers some delicious treats at a Kamado Joe demonstration over at BBQ Land Sunny Hertfordshire inspiring the blog post KAMADO COMMANDO. I have posted some videos on my Instagram page of our reverse seared tri tip, rotisserie turkey and bone in pork loin, so make sure you head on over for a peak.
When I got back home exhausted and ready for some leftovers I received an email that the Shack had reached number 79 in Feedspot's 100 Best Barbecue Blogs!! That is all thanks to y'all who take the time to read and all I ask cheekily is you keep sharing the love, if you like what you see re-post, tweet, like and share with all your buddies, I'd love to see us grow even more in the coming year so I can give you even more content.
Anyway, enough of the updates and on with the post, this week we are heading on over to Greece where barbecue is a part of heritage.
The Greeks have been cooking on barbecues for over 3000 years and whilst they are partial to a chickpea and and an olive in their side dishes, they love them some meat. For a long time cookware which was found at excavation sites in Greece dating between 1600-1100 B.C became somewhat of a mystery to archaeologist, Jule Hruby of Dartmouth College. His findings included ceramic trays for skewered meat and left him scratching his barnet over the ancient grilling techniques. Following some failed attempts to place the souvlaki trays on top of hot coals, he found that meat didn't get enough heat and when they changed the coals directly in the pan, the meat cooked perfectly. The Ancient Greeks were in fact the pioneers of the portable barbecue.
But it wasn't just the Ancient Greeks who took their barbecuing seriously. Traditional Greek food is still as popular as ever today utilising the freshest of meats, vegetables and herbs to create their distinctive flavour. Here is the Meat Shack 101 to Greek Barbecue.
Souvlaki is the Greek version of "fast food", but unlike the McDonald's Big Mac which is thrown at you through your car window at the drive through by an uninterested life reject, souvlaki consists of small pieces of fresh meat and sometimes vegetables grilled and eaten straight off the skewer while still hot.
The meat usually used in Greece is pork although you might find chicken, beef and lamb versions particularly for tourists. For a quick and easy version of a souvlaki, check out our PORK SHOULDER BOULDERS recipe.
Guaranteed to cause a row with our American friends who actually use the word gyro, this is what we might know (and definitely love) here in the UK as a kebab because largely we can be ignorant and can't tell the difference between Turkish and Greek food. I had never actually heard of the term gyro until I went to the States, but trust me, I have had plenty of kebabs.
Makes sense, gyro is the Greek word for "turn" and refers to meat which is cooked vertically. Served in a pita, a gyro comes with onion, tomato and tzatziki sauce and on request with chips!
Quite possibly my favourite Greek factoid, Tsiknopempti literally means Smelly Thursday, or even Charred, Smoky, or Barbeque Thursday which is given "because of the smell of the grilled meat in the air" before the fasting season of Lent leading up to Easter.
I am going to let that settle for a bit because it really is that awesome. There are so many barbecue antics going on that it is infiltrating the air we breath. It's what I imagine heaven to be like.
During this magical "Jack's version of Disney Land" time, families and friends gather and celebrate while eating copious amounts of meat, whether at home or outside in gardens or even the street. All Greek eating establishments present their most specialist of menus where meat is the Rock Star. The most popular item is probably souvlaki, but you'll also be seeing a myriad of traditional Greek sausages, steaks, chops, bacon or any other meat specialties, as well as the occasional meat stew on the menu.
For the Greek Orthodox faith, Easter is one of the most important events of the Holy calendar and a period of fasting is ended by a gigantuane feast on Easter Sunday. The barbies are fired up at early dawn and the spits are prepared for the main event, a whole roasted lamb representing the Lamb of God.
so friends, I hope that I have enlightened you a little and possibly even inspired you to go start skewering up some meat and firing up the grills for your tea tonight. So hows about some recipe inspiration as well to get you going.