Homemade Gyro Meat and Gyros (Sandwich)

Gyros wrap

By Cat, April 2020 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

The gyros (gyro) – pronounced “yee’-rohs” (“yee’-roh), with a slight roll of the tongue on the ‘r’ in the second syllable – at least, that’s the way my Greek friends taught me to say it – but you can just pronounce it without that roll.  Note that gyros is singular and gyri (“yee’-ree”) is plural. See Stavros’ Stuff for a true Greek pronunciation, and for an explanation of the difference between gyros and gyro.

It is a cooked mix of ground meats and herbs that can be rolled flat and thin for a gyros sandwich (more on this below), or into balls for meatballs. Greek restaurants cook it on a hot, rotating cylinder, but you can bake it in your oven, or cook meatballs/burgers in a heavy cast iron pan on stove-top. This recipe bakes it in an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, then sliced thin for use in a gyros sandwich.

As a sandwich, it is wrapped in pita bread, with lettuce, tomato and tsatziki sauce. The photo above includes fries, but that is an Americanization.

Homemade Gyro Meat

This recipe is adapted from one by Mel Hayes in Rural Montana Magazine (the Magazine of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association); April 2020 edition, with suggestions from All Recipes (2). Also, for alternate method of baking the meat mix, see the All Recipes (2) recipe.

This version uses a mix of lamb and beef, but you can use just lamb or just beef, or include bison or other red meats. 

Ingredients & Equipment

  • 1 lb (16 oz) ground lamb, preferably from pasture-raised lambs
  • 1 lb ground beef, preferably from pasture-raised steers
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, to make 1 Tbsp, minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried marjoram or organo
  • 1 Tbsp dried and freshly-ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried and freshly-ground thyme (optional)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 1 – 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Equipment:
  • mixing bowl (optional)
  • food processor
  • 8″ x 4″ loaf pan (for gyros)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Prep: chop onion and mince garlic. Measure herbs into a small bowl and mix.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend about 1 – 2 minutes, to a fine paste consistency.
    • Alternate method, if you don’t want the liquid created by processing the onions and garlic, process them together, then wrap in paper towel to absorb the moisture; then add the onion/garlic mix to the other ingredients in the food processor. 
  4. For gyros:
    1. Press mix into 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, and bake 60 – 70 minutes.
    2. Remove from oven and slice thin.
  5. For burgers or meatballs:
    1. Shape mix into balls.
    2. For burgers, press to ½″ thick, and grill. 

Gyros (Sandwich)

This is my own recipe, based on all the wonderful gyri I’ve had over the years. See also The Spruce Eats (3) for a video that includes making and cooking the gyro meat, and packing the pita for the sandwich.

Ingredients

  • pita bread (Greek and Middle-Eastern flatbread) – preferably ones with a pocket in the middle
  • thinly sliced gyros meat
  • tomatoes, de-seeded and sliced or cut up (I prefer grape tomatoes, halved)
  • lettuce (preferably home-grow Romaine)
  • optional veggies:
    • small onion or shallot, sliced thinly
    • small cucumbers, lightly peeled, de-seeded and sliced thinly
  • tsatziki sauce

Method

  1. Lightly grill pita or warm in an oven.
  2. Open the pocket and spread some tsatziki over the inside.
  3. Fill with meat slices, tomatoes, lettuce and optional veggies. Top with more tsatziki sauce.
  4. If pita doesn’t have a pocket, arrange meat, veggies and tsatziki on top of a pita, then roll as a wrap.
  5. Serve, with more tsatziki on the side.

References

  1. Rural Montana Magazine (the Magazine of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association), April 2020 edition
  2. All Recipes: allrecipes.com/recipe/173420/traditional-gyro-meat/
  3. The Spruce Eats: thespruceeats.com/gyros-a-greek-classic-912899

About Cat

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