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Gyro meat -- homemade? buying (online/at store)? storing at home...?

Russel Shank May 7, 2010 11:03 PM

Gyros are such a good, quick and easily made lunch. Way overpriced though.

Anyone have luck buying gyro meat? Is it easily bought at Mediterranean markets, or should I buy online? Any stand out brands? Are prepared gyro meats full of preservatives/chemicals?

Does homemade gyro meat come out well? Does it require a meat grinder or special equipment to mix? Any food safety issues with mixing beef/lamb and storing?

Tips for storing it? I was thinking of cutting it into portions and freezing it, for easy defrost and foasting later -- will this turn it into a dry brick?

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  1. v
    Val RE: Russel Shank May 8, 2010 05:35 AM

    Russ, here's a link to Alton Brown's homemade gyro meat...I remember watching this episode, though have not tried it myself...the reviews are very positive and maybe some other CH's have made it and can comment:

    4 Replies
    1. re: Val
      EWSflash RE: Val May 9, 2010 08:30 PM

      Yep, I was going to send you there myself.

      1. re: EWSflash
        Russel Shank RE: EWSflash May 9, 2010 11:03 PM

        Thanks everybody

      2. re: Val
        scubadoo97 RE: Val Aug 21, 2010 09:22 AM

        Russ I've used Alton's recipe. You should give it a try. I tweaked it and used a blend of beef chuck and leg of lamb. I used the oven/ loaf pan method. Flavor and texture were excellent. I used a little more salt than he did and a pinch of msg to get the taste right.

        1. re: scubadoo97
          scubadoo97 RE: scubadoo97 Aug 21, 2010 09:24 AM

          photos of my gyro meat

      3. Lindseyup67 RE: Russel Shank May 8, 2010 05:56 AM

        I have found that the frozen stuff u buy in stores is ok, but u need to find the stuff that needs to be cooked, NOT the precooked one. I used to buy the uncooked stuff at a little party store in my town, but they changed to the pre cooked stuff. Gordon food service (if you have one near you) sells the 5 lb. packs of the pre cooked stuff for just under $15.00.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Lindseyup67
          naneharvey RE: Lindseyup67 Aug 20, 2010 09:04 AM

          I wanted to have a DIY gyro party and it is not easy finding the meat. I wanted to get the chicken (yes, I admit a total lack of authenticity) because not all my coworkers eat red meat. I found this site www.parthenonfoods.com, but think it may be only sell the precooked frozen slices. I live in Philly, which has lots of meat and ethnic food retailers, so maybe I will check the "brick and mortar" locations. Any Philadelphia suggestions from local chowhounders would be most appreciated.

          1. re: naneharvey
            greygarious RE: naneharvey Aug 20, 2010 09:15 AM

            You'll have better luck with local recommendations if you ask on the Philly board.

            1. re: naneharvey
              mcf RE: naneharvey Aug 22, 2010 11:39 AM

              I went to the parthenonfoods site, but their stuff has bread crumbs, so I'll pass.

              1. re: mcf
                ZenSojourner RE: mcf Aug 22, 2010 12:54 PM

                Yeah, well, shipping is $40!!!!! on 5 lbs

                Kind of makes whether or not it has bread crumbs in it a moot issue.

                1. re: ZenSojourner
                  mcf RE: ZenSojourner Aug 22, 2010 01:39 PM

                  Yow, that's steep! Must be shipped frozen, in a cooler and overnight delivery?

                  1. re: mcf
                    ZenSojourner RE: mcf Aug 22, 2010 03:44 PM

                    With gel paks and overnighted. Not worth it.

          2. ZenSojourner RE: Russel Shank Aug 22, 2010 12:59 PM

            Here's another recipe for gyro meat, predates Alton Brown's by several years, very much the same. Not sure the differences are significant (they really probably aren't) but the information he gives along with the recipe is interesting. My guess is AB may have based his recipe on this one, they're that similar. On the other hand it may be a fairly standard butcher's recipe, I wouldn't know, not being a butcher.


            1. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: Russel Shank Aug 22, 2010 10:58 PM

              J. Kenji Lopez-Alt from Cook's Illustrated does a weekly series on Serious Eats called The Food Lab, where he deconstructs something CI style, figures out what makes it tick, and makes it better. One of the articles was for gyro meat.


              Looks to be pretty darn good. It looks similar to Alton Brown's gyros, but there are a couple of improvements. First, he salts the meat and lets it rest, which keeps the meat nice and juicy. Second, he first cooks it through, then runs slices under the broiler for those nice crispy edges like you get with restaurant gyros.

              6 Replies
              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                ZenSojourner RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 22, 2010 11:34 PM

                The recipe on mediterranean-food.net does as least one of the things the guy above suggest, which is to let the meat rest at least a couple of hours after the addition of the salt. The additional information about keeping the meat chilled is probably something that guy took for granted - he was a professional butcher - and the addition of broiling the loaf in slabs by the seriouseats guy is probably necessary for those of us who can't slow cook it on a rotisserie.

                I'd try it - if I could find my food processor . . . .

                1. re: ZenSojourner
                  JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: ZenSojourner Aug 23, 2010 02:06 AM

                  I would imagine that a KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment for a couple of minutes would work well for the mixing, even if you will end up with a coarser texture than with the food processor. And if you don't have a mixer... wash your hands really well, and smush everything together really well with your hands. If you take the manual route, be warned that as soon as you're up to your elbows in ground lamb, the phone will ring. It's just the way things are.

                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                    ZenSojourner RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 23, 2010 09:55 AM

                    Ah, but that's what voice mail is for!

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                      ZenSojourner RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 23, 2010 09:58 AM

                      I'm wondering though if it would help to have the butcher grind the lamb to mush and then use the KitchenAid to mix (which I do have in hand)

                      1. re: ZenSojourner
                        JK Grence the Cosmic Jester RE: ZenSojourner Aug 23, 2010 01:38 PM

                        Sounds like it would work just fine. Mix it for longer than you think you need to.

                        1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                          ZenSojourner RE: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Aug 23, 2010 02:34 PM

                          I may give it a try soon. We have a move coming up this week, once we're settled in, this is on my list of things I need to try. This and the Pulpo recipe I've been wanting to try.

                2. soypower RE: Russel Shank Aug 23, 2010 02:56 PM

                  I like this one because you can do it on the stove top with a cast-iron pan. And it tastes pretty close to the stuff I get at my local gyros joint.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: soypower
                    Val RE: soypower Oct 2, 2010 03:03 PM

                    Wow, great looking gyro!!!! Thanks...and awesome blog too! Love the name, alludes to all Hell breaking loose...lol! Have you posted that link before, sp?

                    1. re: Val
                      christyar RE: Val Aug 23, 2012 01:33 PM


                      Seriously cool article

                  2. g
                    gostillerz RE: Russel Shank Sep 30, 2012 01:09 PM

                    GFS has precooked gyro meat in store, but you can order even the whole rotisserie loaf from their catalog and pick it up there in a few days. Restaurant Depot has them as well, but you need a business license (which there are ways around).

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