Guest Author - Catherine Bridges
Gyros are some of my very favorite sandwiches. Served on a soft flatbread, the thin slices of savory meat are well complimented with thin slices of firm tomato, thinly cut raw onion rings and a mild dill cucumber or spicy garlic sauce. I truly believe that homemade gyro meat is the best! Here is a recipe for your own kitchen:
1 pound fine-ground hamburger (high fat content is best here)
1 pound fine-ground lamb or prepared venison (see below)
1 cup onion chopped fine
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Mix all ingredients into the meat with your hands (you may wish to use gloves).
Blend mixture in food processor for 1 full minute (thin with water if needed).
Shape meat mixture into a tightly compressed oval (meatloaf) shape and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, preheat oven to 350-F and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Let set and cool to just above room temperature before slicing very thin.
Brown and warm slices by pan frying at medium heat with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil.
Makes about a 1 and ½ pounds gyro meat.
We use the brining method (soaking in a salt and beer mixture for 24 hours then, draining and letting stand to allow blood and extra brine to drain away) OR we use a mild apple cider vinegar for soaking. This gives a sweeter, milder flavor and the vinegar helps to tenderize any tendons or tallow that may be in the meat. We have also used malt vinegar - it just depends on the flavor you are looking for.
We then slow roast the venison (shoulder, steak or roast) with our favorite basting (bbq) sauce; smoke it with mesquite or hickory OR slow cook in the oven with apple juice, Worcestershire sauce and some Lipton onion soup packets. Once the meat is brined and cooked, let sit until it comes to room temperature. Then, it is ready to work with the hamburger meat to become gyro meat.
If you are just not into preparing the gyro meat - try this recipe for fast, mock gyros:
Pan fry Steak-um or Philly Steaks brand meats at medium heat adding ¼ cup water, a tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, pinch of salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder. Once water boils half away, flip the meat slices. Once the water is gone, fry each side until the meat is brown and shows NO pink.
2 tablespoons half-and-half or heavy cream
½ cup small curd cottage cheese, drained or ricotta
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons cucumber, minced and patted dry
Small pinch of white pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon crushed, ground dill
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried mint
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Spicy Garlic sauce
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
1 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne powder
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
3 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
In a blender, combine lemon juice, garlic and salt. Blend until smooth.
Slowly add in oil as blender runs. The mixture will thicken.
Refrigerate in a glass container. Mix or shake to re-blend.
This second sauce works well for guests that may have an intolerance or dislike for dairy products or cucumbers. Gyro meat keeps well for up to four days when wrapped tightly and refrigerated. This is another great sandwich option for game day or just when you want something with a little kick to impress your family and guests. Enjoy!