Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gyro meat

I'm not sure what's in the commercial gyro meat at Greek restaurants, but I don't trust it. I'm suspicious of what possible binders and weird fillers it may contain. So, I decided to attempt my own.

I used half ground lamb, half ground turkey to reduce the pricetag as well as the overall calories. I really liked the flavor and texture, but truthfully I missed some of that characteristic greasiness, so feel free to use all lamb if you prefer. I formed the whole thing into a loaf shape, cooked it in my crock pot, let it cool, sliced it thinly, and finally brushed the slices with olive oil and broiled them. The slices fell apart more than I would like, particularly if I tried to cut them very thin. I've thought of a couple possible solutions here. First, you could form the meat into patties and eat them as bunless "Gyro burgers" atop Greek salad, as in this recipe. I think these would also be more moist, since burgers don't need to cook as long as a large loaf. Or, you could use the meat as a meatza base and top it with Greek salad type toppings. Finally, you could try adding a binder of some sort. I actually think that crushed pork rinds would be ideal here for adding back some of that fast food greasiness. Another option would be fresh bread crumbs made from pulverizing a low-carb pita along with the onion, though that would not work for those who eschew gluten. That's all I've come up with; if you have any other ideas, let me know in the comments!

Makes about 2 lbs

  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or more lamb)
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbs fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 Tbs ground coriander
  • 1/2 Tbs ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Puree the onion, garlic, vinegar, oregano, and spices in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Thoroughly combine the onion puree, ground lamb, and ground turkey, using your hands.
  3. Form it into a flat-ish loaf shape. Cook in a crock pot on low for 5-6 hours. Alternately, you could probably bake it at 325 for 60-90 minutes or until done.
  4. Let it cool thoroughly overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. To serve, cut into slices, brush the slices with olive oil, and broil until crisp. Serve over Greek salad with tzatziki sauce.


stephthegeek said...


Have the same feeling and been totally missing gyros too, will try it out. You seem to have a direct line to my food cravings :)

Erica said...

Heh, well let me know how it turns out! The recipe is definitely not perfect as-is; next time I think I will try the crushed pork rind trick or just make it into burger patties.

christina said...

sounds delicious erica, as usual!!

Anonymous said...

Made this recipe yesterday, and it's really quite delish. I added an egg and some pumpkin meal to help bind the meat, but still had some crumbles when we seared it. Will experiment with other binders in the future, but 1/2 lamb and 1/2 grass-fed ground beef was a good mix. Thanks! ~Karyn

Erica said...

Karyn, thanks for letting me know! I love to know how my recipes work out for people. Unfortunately I don't think I'll ever be able to slice it as thin as restaurant gyro meat without crumbling -- which makes me particularly suspicious of what they put in there! An egg in particular is a really good idea. I'm going to keep playing with the recipe and hopefully I'll get closer to gyro perfection :)

goatsandgreens said...

This sounds REALLY good, I'm marking it. I love gyros, but like you wonder what all goes into them out there in the public. (I'll probably stick with pure ground lamb as I have a good pastured source for it, and have never seen a good pastured source for ground forms of turkey...) Besides the lamb flavor is a major part of why I loved them -- thanks!

Erica said...

Let me know if you make it! It doesn't hold together as well as restaurant gyros, especially if it's sliced very thin, but the flavor is great :)

Anonymous said...

I worked briefly in a Greek restaurant. The meat is ground nearly into a paste, which keeps it "together" and creates the expected texture. Perhaps putting some or all of the meat into the food processor will solve the crumbling issues.

отели в барселоне said...

Pretty worthwhile piece of writing, much thanks for the post.

Meesha said...

I second the food processor, you have to process it until the meat gets tacky. I made this recipe recently and it worked like a charm.

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