Mess Level: Moderate
Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hr
For the Gyro Meat:
- 1 LB Ground Lamb
- 1 LB Ground Beef
- ½ Sweet Yellow Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dried Marjoram
- 1 teaspoon Ground Dried Rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Ground Dried Thyme
- 1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Coarse Kosher Salt
For the Sandwiches:
- 8 Soft Pita Bread
- 2 Tomatoes
- 1 Cucumber
- 1 Head Lettuce (Optional)
- 2 Cups Tzatziki or Plain Greek Yogurt
- Preheat the oven to 325 Fahrenheit. Find an 8x4 bread pan and find another pan that it will fit inside. Bring four cups of water to a simmer on the stove and then keep it on medium-low heat.
- Place the onion and garlic in the food processor and process until they are almost a paste. (Note: If substituting any fresh herbs for the dry ones, add the fresh herbs to the onion mixture before processing).
- Place a clean towel or cheesecloth over a bowl and scrape the onion mixture into the middle. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the liquid.
- Place the onion mixture into a mixing bowl and add the ground beef, lamb, and all of your herbs, salt, and spices. Mix well with your hands until incorporated.
- Pack the meat mixture into the bread pan, making sure there are no air pockets. Place the pan inside a larger pan and very carefully pour the hot water into the larger pan till it comes about halfway up the sides.
- Bake uncovered for one hour or until the internal temperature registers 165 Fahrenheit or is no longer pink in the middle.
- When the meat is done, carefully remove the pan from the oven and discard the water. Pour off and discard any fat that has come to the surface of the meat. Let the meat rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, thinly slice the cucumber, slice the tomato, and wrap the pita in foil.
- While the meat rests, lower the oven temperature to 200 Fahrenheit and put the pita in.
- Remove the meat from the pan and thinly slice it. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Sear the meat slices on each side until browned. Add salt while searing if needed.
- To assemble the gyro, add a generous amount of tzatziki sauce or yogurt to the pita. Line with lettuce if desired, tomatoes, and cucumber slices, and two slices of gyro meat. Enjoy!
Did You Make It? Tag Us!
- Gluten Free: Yes! Use a gluten free pita bread and you should be good!
- Vegetarian: Yes! Substitute falafel for the gyro meat.
Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:
- Complete the recipe through step 7.
- Thinly slice the gyro meat and let cool completely before storing in the fridge for up to 7 days.
- You may slice the tomato and cucumber up to two days before you’re ready to make the gyros.
- To make the gyros complete steps 10-11.
My gyro meat won’t hold together!
Try, try again...
No problem, just toss the meat mixture back into the food processor after completing step 4 and process until it’s more cohesive.
Do I have to use all of those herbs and spices?
So you're saying you don't keep 100 different spices on hand?
No, the more the merrier, but primarily if you get plenty of cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in there it will be great.
Can I use fresh herbs instead?
So you have a green thumb eh?
You can! Just use double the amount called for as dried herbs tend to be more potent.
What if I don’t have a food processor?
You don't need no stinkin food processor!
No problem, if you have a blender try to use that to process the onion and garlic or really, really finely chop it and then put it into a mortar and pestle if you have one.
I don’t have a pan that fits into another pan.
Don't worry we won't make you drive to Walmart...
No worries, just take any ole oven-friendly pan or pot and fill it with the hot water and set it in the oven next to the baking loaf of gyro meat. The idea is the water releases steam that helps it cook properly without drying out.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
It fascinates me; all the different things that must be going through other people's minds when they think of a gyro. Traditionally, gyro meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and shaved off in slices before being nestled into a soft pita and handed out to the various kinds of people you find standing in line for gyros at food carts or small cafes.
When I imagine myself trying to make a ‘traditional’ gyro at home I imagine a skewer of tacky meat, rotated awkwardly at an angle with one hand while a lighter is moved shakily up and down the side of the rotating meat.
Rotisserie is just not a realistic endeavor for me in my kitchen. Sure, I could buy one of those bulky, expensive rotisserie machines “as seen on TV” and press my face to the glass while the meat rotates, drips, and spits to my heart's content. But where on earth would you put a giant rotisserie? And no one advertising these monsters tells you about the physical act of climbing inside and rotating yourself around to clean it.
I’d like to offer up a humble, alternative solution that uses a bread pan and your oven and will yield a satisfying and happy dinner without the dire task of struggling for authenticity.
For me, that means packing some ground lamb and beef into a pan with spices, herbs, and onion. It means making basically a gyro meatloaf (Yes, I too, shudder at that word and I’m from the midwest). But really what you’re accomplishing is a crispy slice of flavorful meat that has been blended with Greek-inspired ingredients and is just waiting for you to tuck it into a soft, pillowy-pita with some tomato and yogurt. Now go forth, my friends, for being authentic truly is being yourself. And as for me and myself, we will make week-night gyros.