By Cat, April 2020 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
Gyro is one of my favorite Greek foods, but I’ve never made one for myself. Upon seeing this recipe online (1) I’ve decided I have to try making one! But first…
Gyros (gyro) is 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.
- Includes: 1. Homemade Gyro Meat; 2. Gyros sandwich
- See also: 1. Ethic Mediterranean Menu; 2. Lamb Menu; 3. Beef Menu; 4. Pita Bread; 5. Tsatziki Sauce
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
- mixing bowl (optional)
- food processor
- 8″ x 4″ loaf pan (for gyros)
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Prep: chop onion and mince garlic. Measure herbs into a small bowl and mix.
- 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.
- For gyros:
- Press mix into 8″ x 4″ loaf pan, and bake 60 – 70 minutes.
- Remove from oven and slice thin.
- For burgers or meatballs:
- Shape mix into balls.
- For burgers, press to ½″ thick, and grill.
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.
- 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
- Lightly grill pita or warm in an oven.
- Open the pocket and spread some tsatziki over the inside.
- Fill with meat slices, tomatoes, lettuce and optional veggies. Top with more tsatziki sauce.
- If pita doesn’t have a pocket, arrange meat, veggies and tsatziki on top of a pita, then roll as a wrap.
- Serve, with more tsatziki on the side.
- Rural Montana Magazine (the Magazine of the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association), April 2020 edition
- All Recipes: allrecipes.com/recipe/173420/traditional-gyro-meat/
- The Spruce Eats: thespruceeats.com/gyros-a-greek-classic-912899