The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Greek

Tue Aug 11, 2015

Orange and Leek Loukaniko

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Loukaniko

One thing I'm missing from my old base of Astoria, Queens is all the great loukaniko. Now strictly speaking, loukaniko is a Greek term for pork sausage, but it most commonly refers to orange-spiced sausages, for which every restaurant in the neighborhood seems to have its own unique recipe. These variations span a spectrum of seasonings like fennel, coriander, oregano, thyme, and marjoram; some are made from pork, others lamb, and still others, a combination of the two. You'll find loukanika either fresh or cured, partially dried, or even, occasionally, smoked. But one common thread between all their magnificent iterations is that they're almost always grilled, usually until they develop a nicely charred, crispy casing.

With so many top-notch loukaniko choices around every corner, I never saw much point to making my own. But eventually, inspiration struck, and I became determined to make a sausage that would capture my favorite traits of the very best loukaniko sausages in Astoria. To kick things off, I took some cues from cook and writer Hank Shaw to get me started on the right path.

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Tue Jul 21, 2015

Mini Gyro Burgers

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Mini-gyro Burgers

I have to start out this post giving credit where credit is due—these mini-gyro burgers are a direct inspiration from MP Taverna in Astoria, Queens mixed with a Greek-America gyro loaf recipe devised by my editor at Serious Eats, Kenji. Although the translation of trying to make a really good gyro-inspired burger ended up being pretty direct, the road to it came with some learnings on building a small-scale burger for the grill, and striking just the right balance between this being able to be considered a burger, but still taste distinctly like a gyro.

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Tue Jun 16, 2015

Grilled Halloumi Pita Sandwiches

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Halloumi Pita

Now is as good a time as any to let you in on some big Meatwave news—we're moving! Yup, I'm taking the plunge and saying goodbye to New York and hello to North Carolina early next month. While the move will hopefully mean more grilling and more recipes in the long run, there's sadness in losing some of the things I've come to take for granted in the neighborhood I've called home for nearly 13 years, Astoria. With a heavily Greek population, Mediterranean foods abound, and my wife and I have grown accustomed to easily making a delicious and quick dinner out of the readily available halloumi cheese, top quality pita, and tzatziki that combine into one stellar sandwich.

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Tue Aug 5, 2014

Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers

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Halloumi and Vegetable Skewers

My discovery of halloumi cheese is worthy of being called a "life changing moment." I remember it clearly—BZ Grill, a (then) new gyro shop opened up a few blocks away from where I was living in Astoria, Queens. My wife and I went for the gryos, which still rank as the best I've ever had, but upon perusing the menu, my better half opted for a halloumi sandwich.

Having never seen or heard of this hard Cypriot goat or sheep's milk cheese before, I was in awe as I watched the cook cut off slices and place them directly on the grill. The cheese not only kept its shape, but browned like a meat or veggie would over the high, direct heat. As if that weren't enough, the flavor and texture were incredible—slighty salty, a little tangy with a chew and squeak that I found really satisfying.

Ever since then, halloumi has become a regular item on my grill, but I tend to not do much with it beyond piling it into a pita or putting it in the occasional salad. Trying to think of different ways to use this grillable cheese, I came up with these halloumi and vegetable skewers, where it continued to triumph.

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Wed Jan 11, 2012

Bifteki

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Bifteki

I really love getting comments/notes/emails from you all with kind words about this here blog—I can check analytics all I want, but there's nothing like hearing from someone who actually tried and liked a recipe. Last month I got one of these such notes from a fan on Facebook, who newly discovered the Meatwave and promptly went for the keftedes. So this one is for Laura, because if you liked those Greek meatballs, you bound to love this bifteki—basically large keftedes with the added bonus of being stuffed with feta.

More and recipe after the jump >>