Homemade Greek Gyros

GyrosEver had a hankering for Gyros but didn’t have a Greek or Mediterranean restaurant in sight? This is definitely a problem in my neck of the woods. Plus, I don’t have a spit to properly make gyro meat, so I do what the rest of the Internet does and make it up as you go.

First, let’s start with the gyro meat being the critical part to the entire dish. The most common way to make this at home is to pulverize some lamb, beef, or a combo of both and add it to a loaf pan. One alternative for your grill is to make a spit out of a thin piece of metal pipe and a baking pan (if you have a welder handy). I chose the loaf pan, since it’s something I have laying around. Personally, stacking thin slices of ribeye and lamb onto a homemade spit will produce a higher quality meat texture over the ground variety.

After the meat comes the pita bread. Store bought bread is usually to dry and cannot be saved. With a recipe so simple, why not make it from scratch anyway? It will taste better and will have a perfect amount of softness.

Lastly is the Tzatziki sauce. No gyro is complete without a creamy, yet sour flavor that comes from the blend of greek yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and oil.

Pita Bread Directions

  1. Warm the water to 110° F. In 1/4 cup of water, add the package of yeast and sugar. Wait 5 minutes for the yeast to proof. If the yeast doesn’t look foamy, discard the mixture and repeat.
  2. In a stand mixer, add the proof with the remaining water, salt, and flour. Using a dough hook, combine until a dough ball is formed.
  3. Carefully remove the dough ball from the hook and knead for 5 minutes until all the flour is combined and remains in a sticky consistency.
  4. Lubricate the outside of the dough ball with olive oil and place it into a bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and wait for 1 hour (until the ball has doubled in size).
  5. Once risen, knead the dough to remove the air and shape it into a log. Cut the dough into 8 even-sized pieces. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Preheat the grill using an indirect method for 450°. Make sure to put the baking stone, or pizza stone, onto the grill after you light it.
  7. After the stone has heated for at least 30 minutes, roll out the dough into an even circle. Lightly dust the baking stone with flour and place the pita dough directly on it. Cook each side for 1-2 minutes, until the pita bubbles up. Repeat this process for all 8 pieces.Pitas_Rolled
  8. Remove from heat and wrap in a towel until use. To reheat, lightly dust with olive oil and either grill the bread on a direct flame, or pan fry it on top the stove.

Pita Bread Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups of Warm Water
1 Package of Yeast
1 Tablespoon of Granulated Sugar
4 Cups of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

Tzatziki Sauce Directions

  1. Peel one English Cucumber. Chop the cucumber into small chunks and place in a strainer above a bowl.
  2. Dust the cucumber with the salt and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir the cucumber to make sure that the excess juice is being extracted from the chunks. Too much juice makes for a runny sauce.
  4. Mix up the yogurt, vinegar, lemon, garlic and oil into a small bowl. Fold in the cucumbers, being careful to not over mix the sauce.
  5. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest at least four hours before use so everything can meld together.

Tzatziki Ingredients

1 1/2 Cups Plain Greek Yogurt
2-3 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon of Table Salt
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 English Cucumber
1 Teaspoon of Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

Gyro Meat Directions

  1. Grind the chuck and lamb using a meat grinder (I use a Kitchen Aid).Ground_Lamb
  2. In a food processor, chop the onion. Add the meat and spices and then blend until it becomes a paste-like consistency.Gyro_Mix
  3. Spray a loaf pan (other pans such as cake pans work too) with cooking spray and spread out the meat mixture, making sure to touch all sides.
  4. Preheat the grill to 350° on an indirect cook. Add Apple or Cherry Wood Chunks to the oak lump charcoal for some additional smoke flavor.
  5. Place a drip pan full of water under the grill grate and the place the loaf pan on top of the grill.
  6. Cook the meat until the internal temp reaches 160-165°, which should take 50-65 minutes depending on your grill.
  7. Remove from heat and let it rest 15 minutes.
  8. Carefully remove the meat from the pan. As you make the gyros, slice the meat thinly and do not slice the meat all at once, since it will dry out fast.Gyro_Meat

Gyro Meat Ingredients

1 Pound of Leg of Lamb Steaks
1 Pound of Chuck Eye Steak, or Chuck Roast
1 Teaspoon of Granulated Garlic
2 Teaspoons of Salt
1 Tablespoon of Marjoram
1/2 Teaspoon of Mint
2 Teaspoons of Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon of Oregano
1 Teaspoon of Black Pepper

Assembling the Gyros

  1. Brush the pita with olive oil and grill for 1 minute on each side.
  2. Thinly slice the gyro meat and place on the pita bread.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of Tzatziki sauce
  4. Add freshly diced roma tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions.
  5. Top with fresh Feta cheese and optionally with 1-2 kalamata olives (pits removed).
  6. Wrap the pita in aluminum foil for easy transportation to a plate and consumption.Pitas_Wrapped
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