I’ve been meaning to make these for ages! Can you believe I’ve never had a Gyro? It’s true. The problem is…I don’t really care for lamb. Some of you will respond “You’ve never had it done properly, then,” to which I say “Correct!” It’s true. I had a pretty good bite of it once, from a local Greek restaurant, off of a friend’s plate. It was better than I’d anticipated, but not really any wow factor to make me rush out and get my own. I had a horrible experience one Christmas…I won’t say who in the family cooked it, (because I love my husband and don’t want to piss off his mom, haha!) but it was inedible. Like chewing on a gamey, rubber soled shoe. That had been cooked beyond recognition. And then boiled to death. So, yeah-not a fan of lamb.
Billy loves Gyros, so I wanted to find a good recipe for them. I had nothing to go on, since I’d never had one, but you really can’t miss with Alton Brown. While I was looking at recipes for authentic Gyros, his recipe was mentioned on several sites and given very high praise for being spot on, so I went with his.
Brown’s recipe calls for two pounds of ground lamb. I was expecting this. I was going to be brave. I knew I’d recently seen ground lamb at my local grocery store, but they were completely out when I went shopping. Plan B: A meatloaf mix of pork, beef and veal. It would have to do, because I wasn’t going to go all over town looking for lamb.
The recipe is simple-you’re just basically making a meatloaf. The difference is that when it’s done cooking, you’re going to weigh it down (with a brick) to get that loaf all compressed--so it isn’t going to crumble up like a soft, tender meatloaf would.
While I’m on the subject, why do most TV chefs/cookbook authors assume that every household has a brick lying around? We don’t have a brick. No pile o’ bricks out back next to the old clunkers hidden by the long grass. No. None of that stuff. I suppose I could go out and buy a brick. One brick. How silly! We weighed it down with some heavy cans from the pantry and a ten pound weight. It was a little wobbly, but it did the trick.
You can find the recipe at FoodNetwork.com. It even has rotisserie instructions, if you’d like to torture yourself by trying to cook two pounds of ground meat on a small stick. A big debate I saw when looking at recipes was whether or not to sauté the meat slices before assembling the Gyros. Some do, some don’t find it necessary. Since Billy likes them sautéed, that’s what we did. It also adds some nice color and a bit of flavor to the meat, which looks very pale out of the oven.
- Billy gave these two thumbs up! He said they’re just like the ones he’s had over the years. I also loved them-and will definitely make them again! These will be a fun summer food, and since the meat is sliced so thinly, it’ll serve a crowd.
- We couldn't find any flatbreads we really liked, so we took pizza crust dough, rolled out small rounds, and cooked those on hot stones in the oven for two minutes on each side. PERFECT. Soft, fluffy-and yet sturdy enough to hold the fillings without falling apart or leaking. You could also do those on the grill!
- The Tzatziki sauce, I thought, was lacking something. The first time I added a bit of cilantro, and the second time--fresh dill. We really enjoyed both!
- Don’t worry if the meat itself is a little bland tasting. It’s meant to be eaten with the Tzatziki, tomatoes, and onions. When you have all of them together, it’s a flavor packed sandwich.
- I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the recipe, but I do completely trust Alton. So, please, no comments about this being “not the way it’s done,” or “a slap in the face to the Greek culture and it’s food,” hehe. Yes, it’s happened before.
See how sautéing the meat slices gives it a nice color? Better color than this:
But that’s to show you how compressed it’ll be after weighing it down for 20 minutes.