Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homemade Gyro Sammiches

Ever since leaving NY in 2005 I've been searching for a decent Gyro down here in the Philly suburbs. The only decent ones are in the actual city itself, which is a bit of a schlep. You can get them from just about any pizza joint locally but they take the meat out of a freezer in little premade slices - not carved from the spit, so in my mind that is NOT a gyro. I came across an Alton Brown recipe that I fiddled with and simplified a bit. It's a little time consuming but the flavors are pretty authentic.

NOTE: I also included my Tzatziki Sauce recipe - make this prior to starting the sandwiches of course.

Gyro Meat:
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef (recommend high fat content - 80/20)
1 large yellow onion and 4 cloves garlic, pulverized in food processor then drained of liquid.
1 tbsp each of ground oregano, ground rosemary, ground marjoram, kosher salt
1 tsp each of black pepper, ground cumin, ground thyme

Mix all this together in a Kitchenaid mixer and run on high until it becomes tacky and almost paste-like. Don't slack on this step otherwise the consistency will just be like meatloaf, not what we're going for in a gyro. It could take up to ten minutes run time on high to get it just right.

Remove the mixture and mold it into a 9"x6" loaf pan, pressing down to remove as many air pockets as possible.

Heat oven to 325. Place the loaf pan inside of a larger, deeper pan filled about halfway with water (you want the water level equal to the where the meat comes up to in the loaf pan.) Bake in this mock "Bain Marie" for 1 hour. Remove loaf pan from water and let rest for a few minutes. Drain the fat and reserve.

Once cool enough flip the meat out of the loaf pan, slice thinly and fry - using the reserved fat from the baking (which has all the great flavors from the spices in there.) Check a piece for salt level - you may need to add a little more to the meat while frying at this point.

Put on pita bread and top with the usual Gyro goodies; lettuce, tomatoes, slivered onion and Tzatziki sauce. TIP - I find it hard to find really GOOD pita bread in the supermarkets so I use Indian Naan bread from a little Subzi Mandi joint down the block from me - it's awesome. If you have an Indian place local and you have the choice between using that or the Peppridge Farm shit in Pathmark --- ALWAYS opt for Naan bread.

Here's my quick recipe for Tzatziki Sauce:
8 Oz of Greek Yogurt (Fage 4% is the best - don't use lower fat it's sour)
4 Oz sour cream
1 medium cucumber (peeled) and 3 cloves garlic, processed until fairly smooth but not liquified.
Appx. 2 oz (a small handful) of crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp each dried mint and dried dill
1 tsp honey
1 tsp white vinegar
Salt to taste if needed (test for this LATER)

Mix all ingredients and let set in refrigerator at least two hours -- test salt level prior to serving.


  1. This already sounded awesome and then you said the magic word - naan. I freaking LOVE naan!

  2. I would soooo make this. But I DO live in NY and there are a ton of great joints around here that make great gyros carved from the spit.

    But I'm definitely trying that Tzatziki sauce recipe. Can't have enough of that in the fridge.


  3. Love the make your own gyro meat, I'm always leery of the pre-packaged stuff. Thanks!

  4. I really should try to make one of these at home. The white sauce with the sour cream base sounds like the sauce they have at this chain here have here in Salt Lake called Mad Greek.

  5. Hey folks; In re-reading the recipe for the Tzatziki I think that for that amount I should back down the vinegar and honey - instead of a TBSP probably a tsp of each would be enough (particularly the vinegar.) Thanks and enjoy.

  6. Fugs1 - I updated the recipe for ya.

  7. This sounds fantastic. I've made donair in the past (Canada's version of doner kebab) and it's a similar method although this is much faster. The water bath is an awesome idea! The texture must be wonderful. I want this now, extra tzatziki.