Recipe Source: Alton Brown – Good Eats: My Big Fat Greek Sandwich, 2005. Available from The Food Network website at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/gyro-meat-with-tzatziki-sauce-recipe/index.html
This past Saturday a fellow foodie asked me whether I knew of a place in our area that does gyros the right way – cutting slices of meat from a rotisserie-cooked slab of seasoned meat – rather than using frozen meat slices. I couldn’t really think of a place, and this gave me inspiration to try making gyros this way at home.
For those who don’t know, a gyro (pronounced yee-ro) is a Greek sandwich, consisting of slices of lamb, fresh tomato and onion, and a yogurt-cucumber sauce called tzatziki, served on pita bread. I’ve made meat for gyros in the past by using slices off a leg of lamb, but I never tried making the flavored giant meatball that is used commercially. I turned to the Internet to find a recipe, and was reminded that Alton Brown had done a show on this topic a few years ago. I decided to try his recipe.
I used the recipe more or less as written, though I increased the spices somewhat, especially the garlic. However, I used the minced garlic from a jar, which has a milder flavor than fresh garlic. I also substituted dried oregano for the dried marjoram, as we didn’t have any marjoram on hand. Even with this increase in the listed spices, we still thought the meat was a bit bland. However, the consistency came out perfect, and it was still really tasty. Next time we try this, we’ll bump up the spices a bit more, and may add some additional herbs or spices to make the flavor of the meat more interesting.
Gyros (makes about 8 sandwiches. Approx. Cost Per Serving Not Available)
For the meat:
1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
2 pounds ground lamb
3 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the sandwiches:
8-12 pita breads
Fresh tomatoes, diced
Yellow onion, sliced
Tzatziki sauce (note: We made our own, from the recipe posted here. You can also buy this premade at some stores).
- Food processor
- Plastic wrap or aluminum foil
- Smoker or rotisserie on a gas grill
1) Chop the onion in a food processor for 10-15 seconds, and empty onto a clean kitchen towel. Fold up the sides and squeeze out the juice over the sink. Return the onion to the food processor.
2) Add the other ingredients to the food processor and run for approximately one minute, or until it becomes a fine paste. You may need to stop the processor and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3) On a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil, form the meat into a loaf shape. Roll the meat tightly in the wrapping and squeeze to remove air pockets. Twist the ends tightly to ensure that it holds its shape. Store in the refrigerator for at least two hours, or as long as overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up, and for the flavors to blend.
4) When you are ready to cook, prepare your grill. Note that I made this on my Big Green Egg smoker, set up for indirect cooking at 350 degrees. I didn’t add any smoking wood for my 1st try, though I probably will the next time to get some additional flavor. Mr. Brown’s recipe includes instructions for cooking on a rotisserie, as well as for baking in the oven like a meat loaf. If you want to try one of those methods, refer to his recipe. As I didn’t try them, I can’t comment on how well they would work.
5) Once your smoker is up to temperature, place the meat directly on the grill. Allow to cook until the internal temperature of the meat comes up to about 165 degrees. Remove from the heat, and tent under aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. Slice into strips and serve on pita bread, along with the tomatoes, onion and Tzatziki sauce.