Gyro Meat ?
How does one make the best Gyro Meat ? Is it made from ground lamb and beef mixed or is it made from Leg or Lamb and Beef Roast. I have heard so many different variations that I am confused as to how it is actually done, insight is appreciated.
I just came from a place on Old Orchard Beach, ME (where I was not expecting to have the best gyro of my life but did) a place at 6 East Grand Avenue called CHRYS'S and OMG was it the best I ever had. A small family owned and run restaurant and a huge Gyro Sandwich for $6.50. The meat was moist and seemed like a Gyro Loaf to me but was browned nicely and firm texture, fresh lettuce, tomato, and onions on a huge lightly grilled thick pita, covered with a nice spicy Tzatziki Sauce. All for $6.50
Now here is where the confusion for me comes in. About a year ago I had one in Munich, Germany at a festival they call Tallwood. It was very similar except the meat I could tell was shaved off of an actual roast and was nice and crispy. I have been told that the "Gyro" is an Americanized version of the Kebab thus making it a simple version using ground meats for its fast-foodablity. I am sure depending on where you are is when you are going to see some differences. Most is always shaved off of a vertical "Spit" or rotisserie. Any info on this is appreciated.
It's very easy and typical to buy the precut lamb/beef slabs, or the "gyro cone" which I think is all lamb but processed, when making gyros, but the best gyros I've had are made using a marinaded boneless leg of lamb which is rotisseried til crispy on the outside and then sliced thinly off the leg for each sandwich. Trouble is, the health inspector doesn't like that style of cooking.
PS Now that I think about it, the place I know that makes it this way is Turkish.
I've made my own gyros using Alton Browns recipe, only added a little more salt and some MSG to give it a more authentic taste. I used half lamb and half beef. I think I used a leg or lamb and a chuck roast. Grind them with the spcies, herbs and garlic then into a food processor to make a meat paste and blend them together. I cook it in a loaf pan in the oven and it came out wonderful. The flavors were spot on and it was relatively easy to do.
Hey Jimbo, that is a great question. I came across your question because I was searching for a similar answer. I was trying to find out what a truly authentic Greek gyro was made from and found it surprisingly very difficult to get a straight answer. The general consensus I came across on several internet sites is that a real "Greek" gyro is made with pork. The Americanized version of the gyro is actually taken from the Turkish and is made with all lamb or a lamb/beef mix. I doubt I answered your question, but hopefully you found this insightful.
In CHiCAGO you will find mostly the lamb/beef combo. Lots of places also serve 100% Chicken Gyros. A number of places have an all beef gyros -- the cost per pound is very similar, but flavor is not as distinct.
The large grocery chains routinely stock the vacupak stuff. If it is generally less than 20% lamb. The trick to getting a good sandwick made with the slices is a two stage warming -- first bring it up to temp in a steam oven or water bath and then toss it on a super hot griddle to crisp it on the surface. This approximates the vertical spit used in the best Gyros stands, where the surface gets nicely crisped.
The only thing you'd find made with PORK would be SOUVLAKI / marinated kebob.