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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.

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  1. Man-do I hope you get some great recipes for this! I live in a very small town-no gyros around. Do a cheat version with ground beef and greek seasonings for those times I simply crave!! I will be watching and anxious!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dklipscomb

      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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        3 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Do you have the link to this recipe ? When you made the loaf did you slice it thin after it cooled and reheat in some EVOO in a pan and brown it ? I have seen so many methods !

            1. re: Jimbosox04

              Just sliced it and served. I had some leftovers in the freezer and a quick reheat in the microwave was all that was needed. The meat is on the fatty side so there is a lot of fat and juice that will come off the loaf as you bake it and enough stays in to keep it juicy.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              You can order whole cones or vacu-pak portions from the two biggest suppliers:

              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.

              1. Alton Brown has a Good Eats episode about making Gyros. I've made it and they are fantastic. I used my rotisserie and it definitely makes a difference. http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/show_...

                4 Replies
                1. re: Kelli2006

                  Funny, I just seen this episode last night and I also placed the link above, looks like he uses the loaf/cone method also. What is very strange is that I believe you only find this ground meat method in the USA. While in Germany I had a Gyro and it was cut from solid roasts of Lamb and Beef on a Rotisserie with a wonderful Tsitsiki Sauce. The variations that I have seen of Gyro is very cunfusing regionally.

                  1. re: Jimbosox04

                    Jim, I have also used a lamb or mutton shoulder sliced very thin and grill it, similar to a Philly' steak sandwich. A large mandolin or a electric knife slice it very thin, very easily.

                    1. re: Jimbosox04

                      I prepared Alton Brown's gyro recipe last night and it is SPOT ON!!! I was truly amazed at how authentic it tasted. The texture is a bit different from the restaurant skewered lamb, but otherwise, WOW! I won't have to spend $6.50 a gyro to satisfy my cravings anymore.

                      1. re: sheilal

                        Yes, this was my inspiration and compared to the many Greek restaurants we have here in Tarpon Springs Fla the taste was spot on and the texture was not so different. We don't see the shwarma type gyro here in this area.

                  2. I think if one wanted to mkae a gyro as it probbaly originated, you'd start with lamb, and only lamb, whioile, and rotating on a spit. My favorite NYC gyro was from a place the used to shave the processed meat and then stick it over a gas grill. There are also NYC places that serve shwarma's, which seems to be the Turkish or Arabic version of the gyro. King Shwarma on McDougal (I think) used to used a leg of lamb on a vertical spit-like device, and it would cut meat from it for these sandwiches. The only other difference was sauce and spice. A shwarma is spicy and there is hot sauce on it, not Tzatziki Sauce. Otherwise, I see no difference, pita, meat, lettuce, tomato, etc.

                    If I were to make one, I would try to use a part of a leg of lamb, and I would cook it slowly.

                    1. I may be jumping in on this a little late, but not too far back there was an episode of "Best Of" which showed a tiny, hole in the wall, out in the middle of nowhere... It's called the Mad Greek. Located in Baker, CA. (of all places) Elderly Greek guy - uses the traditional vertical spit that has been layered w/ slices of lamb and beef, firmly compressed and slow roasted. No ground meat here... Now that's a recipe I want to find.

                      1. I believe Cooks Illustrated did a recipe for gyros very recently in their magazine...and they said the best way to replicate it was by making patties of ground lamb. We love gyros-and have great memories of getting them for about two bucks in Athens, with the meat shaved off the big hunk of mysterious lamb on the vertical rotisserie. No idea how they did it, but it was fabulously flavorful...I'd like to try the CI version but haven't yet.