Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beef Gyros

I love Gyros, so so much. Whenever I go to a fair, instead of the BBQ or the famous "Earthquake Burgers" I always fall for a Gyro. A Gyro is a Greek flatbread sandwich, and it's normally topped with tzatziki (a yogurt cucumber sauce, recipe to come later), feta cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. I just love the combination of flavors. It's fresh from the veggies, tart from the feta and tzatziki and full of flavorful herbs from the beef. It's perfect :)

Normally Gyros are made with lamb, but I don't typically buy lamb and already had ground beef on hand, so I just subbed it. Had no issues whatsoever, the flavors and texture were still spot on. I saw this recipe on Food Network (surprise, surprise) a few years ago. It's from Alton Brown, and lemme tell you, he knows his stuff! I did add a few extra seasonings to this meat mixture though. You can make this recipe on a rotisserie or in the oven like a meatloaf. I've not had success with the rotisserie method, so I went with the meatloaf method.

A few things I'll mention, just as personal preferences. I like flat bread over pita bread because it's softer and bends more like you need a sandwich like this to do. Also, be sure to slice your gyro meat as thinly as you can, you don't want huge hunks of meat. You want lots of nice thin slices. They are also great served with Greek salad or some baked Greek fries.

This is such a fun meal to make for your family, you'll feel like you're officially a Greek goddess. Ok, well maybe not, but you'll feel pretty proud of yourself for making something so authentic at home!

Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce, adapted from Alton Brown, 2005
6 to 8 servings

1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.

To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on flat-bread or pita bread with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.

To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.

Preheat the grill to high.

Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.


  1. Sounds like an easy recipe. I love Gyros! I grew up on them in Chicago. To make pita bread softer and add another layer of flavor, you can grill it in a little bit of olive oil in a fry pan for a minute or so just on one side.

  2. Gyros!!!!!
    Haley is my gyro hero! So thankful you saved me from my uninformed gyro dislike. These look so very yummy! :)