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The Food Lab

Greek-American Lamb Gyros

Greek-American Lamb Gyros

Check out the science behind these Grecian delights here.

About the author: After graduating from MIT, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt spent many years as a chef, recipe developer, writer, and editor in Boston. He now lives in New York with his wife, where he runs a private chef business, KA Cuisine, and co-writes the blog GoodEater.org about sustainable food enjoyment.

Greek-American Lamb Gyros

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About This Recipe

Yield:4
This recipe appears in: The Food Lab: Homemade Greek-American Lamb Gyros
Rated:

Ingredients

  • For the meat:
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or ground 85% lean ground beef—see note)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons picked fresh oregano leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 3 ounces slab bacon (or about 5 slices sliced bacon), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • For the yogurt sauce:
  • 3/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced on microplane
  • 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or mint
  • To serve:
  • 4 pieces soft, hand-pulled-style pita (not pocket pita)
  • Chopped fresh tomato
  • Finely sliced onion
  • Cubed peeled seeded cucumber
  • Hot sauce

Procedures

  1. 1

    Combine lamb, salt, pepper, and oregano in medium bowl. Mix with hands until homogeneous. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to over night. Meanwhile, place yogurt in fine-mesh strainer set over small bowl. Allow to drain in refrigerator for 1 hour. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Place cold mixture in bowl of food processor with onion, garlic, and bacon. Process until smooth puree is formed, about 1 minute total, scraping down sides with rubber spatula as necessary.

  2. 2

    Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. With moist hands, form meat mixture into rectangle about 1 1/2 inches high, 8-inches long, and 5-inches wide. Bake until center of loaf reads 155°F on an instant read thermometer, about 30 minutes. Allow loaf to rest at room temperature for fifteen minutes (or refrigerate for up to a week—see note)

  3. 3

    Meanwhile, make sauce. Combine strained yogurt, mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, and parsley and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.

  4. 4

    Adjust broiler rack to highest position (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from broiler element) and preheat broiler. Slice loaf crosswise into 1/8th to 1/4-inch strips (each strip should be about 5-inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide). Lay strips on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and broil until edges are brown and crispy, about 2 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil. Warm bread by placing on rimmed baking sheet and broiling until soft and pliant, about 45 seconds per side.

  5. 5

    Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over each piece of bread. Divide meat evenly between sandwiches. Top as desired, wrap with foil, and serve.

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