This is a better than take-out recipe that is sure to become one of your favorites. A classic Greek sandwich of soft, pillowy pita bread stuffed with slices of garlicky, savory meat, fresh tomatoes, crunchy onion, and a cool, creamy Tzatziki sauce. This recipe only looks involved. It’s easier than you think!
Yes, you can make gyros at home without a kit and with fresh ingredients. While this recipe may look difficult and involved, with a food processor and some time it is surprisingly easy. Trust me, the effort is worth it.
I love replicating take-out food at home. Sometimes, I get a craving for a take-out meal and either I am too lazy to leave the house or there isn’t a good restaurant to order from nearby.
Gyros would be one of those things that I can’t get where I live. And this better than take-out recipe is my go-to recipe when I get a gyro or a Greek salad craving. Have you tried gyro meat on a Greek salad? It is amazing and this recipe makes plenty for both!
This recipe also includes an easy Tzatziki sauce that will knock your socks off. You’ll want to eat this as a dip with veggies or pita bread, as a sandwich spread, or a condiment alongside any grilled meat. It’s pretty addictive.
HOW DO YOU MAKE GYRO MEAT?
I know, you’re thinking that we need a big rotisserie and a spit? Nope. We don’t. You will have to pull out that food processor for this one, though.
Texture is important for gyro meat. We don’t want something that resembles meatloaf. We want slices that look homogenous, smooth, like the inside of raw sausage.
To achieve this, we are basically going to process the meat – twice. Start with beef and lamb or pork. Mix in some herbs and spices, then chill. Then add in the bacon and salt and process it all in the food processor to make something that resembles pate or meat pudding. It isn’t pretty, but it will be delicious. I promise.
Next, you are going to pack the meat into a rectangle and bake it low and slow. Finally, you slice it and then give it a quick pan-fry in some butter to get those luscious, crispy edges. Heaven.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST TZATZIKI SAUCE
- Use full-fat yogurt and sour cream. You want the thickness and creaminess that low-fat or (shudder) fat-free can’t provide.
- Take the time to drain the yogurt. It thickens the yogurt, but it also increases the tangy flavor.
- Use English cucumbers and be sure to squeeze as much moisture out of them as possible. I mean, you went to the trouble of draining the yogurt. Do you want to water down this sauce with the cukes? No, you do not!
- Chill the sauce for at least 30 minutes – more if you can. This will allow the flavors to blend together and the garlic to lose any sharp taste.
So, you’ve taken your tastebuds on a Greek vacation, continue your flavor tour by trying a few of these regional delicacies:
- Go to South Africa with this Grilled Piri Piri Chicken recipe.
- Be sure to hit Spain and enjoy this recipe for Chicken, Chorizo, and Shrimp Paella.
- Come back closer to home and share a steaming bowl of my recipe for Florida Gumbo.
A classic Greek sandwich of soft, pillowy pita bread stuffed with slices of garlicky, savory meat, fresh tomatoes, crunch onion and cool, creamy Tzatziki sauce. This better than take-out recipe is sure to become a family favorite.
For the gyro meat:
- ½ large onion, cut into chunks
- 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
For the Tzatziki Sauce:
- 1 pint plain Greek yogurt
- 1 english cucumber
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup full fat sour cream
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
- ¾ teaspoon dried dill
- Pinch black pepper
For the sandwich:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 pita bread or naan bread
- 8 slices fresh tomato
- 2 slices yellow onion, separated into rings
- Place the onion in a food processor and pulse until they’re finely chopped.
- Scoop the onions onto a towel. Wring the towel to squeeze out excess moisture. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, place the lamb, beef, garlic, oregano, cumin, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and pepper. Shake the onions out of the towel & into the bowl.
- Using your hands, mix the ingredients until they are very well combined. Cover the bowl tightly & chill for at least 3 hours.
- Meanwhile, start the Tzatziki sauce. Place the yogurt in a paper towel-lined sieve set over another bowl. Place in the refrigerator to drain.
- Grate the cucumber and toss with 1 tablespoon salt. Place in another paper towel-lined sieve and place in another bowl. Place this in the refrigerator as well.
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator. Add the ½ teaspoon of salt and the bacon at this time and mix lightly. In batches, place the meat back into the food processor. Pulse until it is very finely minced & it feels tacky when touched. Repeat until all the meat has been chopped for a second time.
- Using your hands, pack the meat into a rectangle shape that is about 1 ½-inches high. Use your hands to press it tightly & make sure there are no air pockets. Place the meatloaf onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until the meat is no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees – about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Allow the meat to rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- Finish the Tzatziki sauce. Transfer the thickened yogurt into a large bowl. Discard any liquid that has accumulated in the “catch” bowl.
- Next, take the cucumbers out of the refrigerator and squeeze as much liquid as possible. Add to the yogurt.
- Using a spoon or spatula, mix in the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, and pepper. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
- To assemble the sandwiches: Slice the meat into ¼-inch slices.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place ½ of the slices of meat into the hot skillet. Cook just until the edges start to brown and get slightly crispy, about 3 minutes. Turn the slices and cook another minute longer. Remove the meat from the pan and repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and slices of meat. If you are cooking all of the meat slices at one time, you may want to use additional butter for additional batches.
- Meanwhile, warm the pitas or naan bread in the hot oven for a minute or two.
- Line the pita with 2 slices of tomato. Nestle the warm meat over the tomato. Add onion and sauce.
Leftover meat slices can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Try the slices in a Greek salad for another delicious treat.
- Prep Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Serving Size: 1
Wonder where gyros originated? Me too. I found a great article here. Check it out. Yep, I’m officially a food geek.