This recipe appears in:The Food Lab: Homemade Greek-American Lamb Gyros
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.
- 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
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.
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)
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.
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.
Spread 1/4 cup of sauce over each piece of bread. Divide meat evenly between sandwiches. Top as desired, wrap with foil, and serve.