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gyro sandwich with homemade gyro meat tomatoes onions lettuce and tzatziki in a whole grain pita

Easy Homemade Gyro Meat


  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

These are just as wonderful as the gyros you've eaten at street fairs and in restaurants.   And I believe the flavor is even better than restaurant gyro meat.   You can easily make these delicious sandwiches at home, now! 


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 (med.) red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • optional, 1 teaspoon ground sumac (see notes)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Place all ingredients into food processor.
  3. Pulse until things start coming together and then you can switch to high.  High speed breaks down the proteins in the meat and incorporates all the ingredients, thoroughly. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but the meat looks more like paste, rather than ground meat.  You'll know, then, that you have it right.
  4. Press the meat mixture tightly into an *10"x5" loaf pan [affiliate link].  I used to bake this in an 8"x4" pan, [affiliate link] but I like that the slices in the larger pan came out shorter. The thinner strips from the larger pan remind me more of the shaved meat from a rotisserie at the fair. Both pans work great. Use the size you have on hand.  Really press the meat into the pan, tightly.  You want to create a dense finished product without many air pockets.
  5. Bake at 350° for 45 - 60 minutes.  Start testing at the 45 minute mark.  Pull it out when a meat thermometer inserted into the center hits 160°.  Set the pan on a cooling rack and allow it to rest for 15 or 20 minutes.
  6. There will be a lot of drippings in the pan.  I usually discard them, but some people save them to add to the meat when they warm the thin slices.
  7. About slicing the gyro meat.  One of the most notable things about gyro meat is that it is sliced very thinly.  This is much more easily accomplished once the meat is cool.  If you want to serve it right away, then you can definitely slice it warm.  However, the process is simpler after the meat has cooled.  If cooling the meat first, remove the loaf of gyro meat from the pan and set it on the cooling rack to come to room temperature. Slice it at that point or wrap the loaf whole and refrigerate and slice it when you are ready to serve it.  Make the slices very thin.  You're shooting for 1/8" or thinner.
  8. To use the thinly sliced gyro meat for gyro sandwiches, you will need to reheat them.  There are four methods to choose from and each works well, so it is a matter of preference and the tools available to you.
  9. How to Warm Homemade Gyro Meat

    Method 1: Air Fryer

    • (This Is my preferred method, now that I have an air fryer.) Preheat to 400°.
    • Spray air fryer basket lightly with cooking spray.
    • Air fry for 3 to 4 minutes. The goal is to barely caramelize just one side, like it would be if rotating on a spit. I don’t let it go long enough to get crispy, but it gets beautiful color.

    Method 2: Microwave

    • (This method works really well when heating up leftover slices for just one or two people.
    • Lay the slices in a single layer on a plate.
    • Microwave on high power for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Cook just until heated through. Microwaves are all different. I recommend checking every 30 seconds.
    • The goal here is to warm the meat. It will not caramelize.

    Method 3: Oven

    • (This method is good when heating for a large number of sandwiches.) Heat the broiler in your oven.
    • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
    • Place slices of meat in a single layer on the baking sheet.
    • Brush the slices with melted butter or avocado oil.
    • Broil for 1 — 2 minutes until you achieve the level of caramelization you’re looking for. (Don’t walk away from the broiler. The meat can burn in a blink, so keep a close eye on it.)

    Method 4: Skillet

    • (Again this works best when reheating enough for only 1 or 2 sandwiches.) Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
    • Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of butter or avocado oil to the skillet.
    • Place the gyro meat into the skillet in a single layer and heat them through. It will only take 30 seconds or so to warm them and a few seconds longer if you want to achieve some caramelization.
  10. Assemble the sandwiches:  Arrange warm meat slices, slivered raw onion, sliced tomatoes, lettuce and tzatziki sauce on warm pita bread (We prefer the flatbread style but pockets work as well.)  Fold in half (like a taco) and enjoy. 

Notes

**Sumac is a delicious Mediterranean/Middle Eastern herb.  It is earthy, but has a citrus aroma and zing.  It can really brighten a heavy or savory dish.  I love it, a lot.  If you can get your hands on it, it's excellent in this recipe.

Homemade Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

  • 1/2 cup cucumber, minced fine
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (For dairy-free try coconut yogurt.  It just needs to be thick.)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl.  Taste as you go and adjust salt and pepper or other seasonings, as needed.
  2. Cover and chill the tzatziki in the fridge until ready to serve.
  3. Garnish with more minced cucumber and dill before serving, if desired.
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 50 min
  • Category: Meat, Beef, Lamb, Main Dish
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean American