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Monday, February 20, 2012

Rotisserie Grilled Greek Gyros

I have always loved gyro sandwiches. Yee-ros to say it correctly. Most people have to wait for fairs or festivals to enjoy gyro sandwiches but living in Michigan I had access to gyros nearly everyday. This is a favorite in the Detroit Coney scene and almost all Coneys serve a good rotisserie gyro. Now if you have bought one to the kits in the frozen food section you need to try a real gyro. I live in Alabama now and there are very few places to get a good gyro. When I bought myself a rotisserie attachment for my Weber kettle grill the first thing that came to mind was homemade rotisserie gyros. I spent the last week researching recipes and techniques on how to make gyros at home. Most recipes seemed light on the spices that I remember from Detroit. Also most of the recipes were for loaves instead of rotisserie. Below is my own recipe that I derived from several resources. This recipe is a little tougher than most and takes some time, but the results are worth it. Jen my wife, who doesn't eat leftovers, suggested we have the leftovers for dinner tonight. She even said they were just as good the second time. 


2 lbs ground lamb
1 medium white onion 
4 cloves of fresh garlic
1 tablespoon dried ground marjoram
1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper

Start by quartering the onion. Place the quartered pieces in a food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds. Take the processed onion and place on a piece of cheesecloth to remove the liquid. Discard the liquid and put the onions back in the food processor.

The next step is to add all the other ingredients to the food processor. Our food processor has a dough setting I used that setting and let it run until everything was mixed thoroughly about 2 minutes. Using the food processor to mix the meat with chop it more finely and create a seasoned lamb paste. Now if you have ever had good rotisserie gyros you know the meat does not have a ground burger type texture but rather a smoother texture. The food processor will give you that authentic texture. Remove the mixture and place on 2 pieces of plastic wrap 14-16 inches long.

Take the excess plastic wrap and hold in your hands and roll the meat mixture to get all the air pockets out and tighten up the size of the loaf.

Once the loaf has been rolled tightly I place it in the freezer for 2 hours to firm up. This will help hold it together when you are putting it on the rotisserie spit. After 2 hours in the freezer build a one zone fire. with medium heat. I like to use my charcoal caddy so I can move the fire while cooking. When your fire is ready take the meat out of the freezer place one of your rotisserie forks on the spit. Keep in mind you want to have your gyro centered on the spit. I like to have my forks set opposite each other. 

At this point wrap tightly with aluminum foil. The foil will help hold the meat mixture together until it firms up during the cooking process. Place your charcoal caddy directly under the meat for the first 30 minutes. After the first 30 minutes move the charcoal caddy staggered off to one side. Keep the lid on as much as possible to hold the temperature. After 45 minutes remove the foil and allow the outside to brown up slightly. While the gyros are cooking make some homemade tzatziki sauce. This goes great with gyros.

Tzatziki Sauce:

12 onces plain greek yogurt
1 medium cucumber
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
sea salt to taste
lemon juice to taste

Start by peeling, seeding, and finely chopping the cucumber. Finely mince the garlic cloves. Take all the sauce ingredients and mix them in a glass bowl. Place the sauce covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator until your gyro meat is ready to serve.

I like to slice the gyro meat so there is some of the outside browned meat with the inside more juicy meat.

I put some of the tzatziki sauce in a pita pocket and then add some gyro meat along with some fresh chopped red onion, lettuce and tomatoes. I went all out with the greek theme for this meal and served the gyros with some good spicy pepper hummus, tablouli salad and couscous. It was a great meal and I have to say it was the closest thing to a Detroit Coney Gyro that I have ever had. The leftovers go great on top of a good greek salad or just sandwiches again the next day. Enjoy

1 comment:

  1. Nice tutorial, THANKS!

    I just got the rotisserie for my Weber kettle recently, and have only done birds. This looks great!

    Question: Have you ever tried just cutting off the browned outside while still on the spit, and then letting the next layer brown up, then repeat?

    I'm in Chicago, and the "Kronos Gyros" are everywhere. I'm sure yours in Detroit are similar. I too love the browned outside, and the way they "cut-to-serve" always gives you browned meat bits. I think it would work as well on the kettle, but perhaps use both charcoal boats, one on each side.