Greek-American Lamb Gyros Recipe

A Greek-American gyro wrapped in foil.

Serious Eats

Greek-American gyros employ the same vertical rotisserie method of cooking as authentic Greek gyros, and both come served in rich, fluffy pita bread* with a yogurt-based sauce, tomatoes, and onions, but that's where the similarities end. Unlike Greek gyros, which are usually made with whole pieces of thinly-sliced marinated pork skewered in a large stack on the rotisserie before being cooked and shaved, Greek-American gyros are made with a large, sausage-like cone of seasoned minced lamb and beef.

*Not the thin type with the pocket...unless you are in Cyprus.

As great as the real deal is, in all honesty, I prefer the Greek-American style. When properly cooked, the thinly shaved pieces of meat offer a sublime mixture of textures. Crispy, salty edges, and moist, tender areas that have the same satisfyingly resilient texture that a good hot dog has

Recipe Facts

4.8

(17)

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Chill: 60 mins
Total: 2 hrs 5 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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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 medium 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

  • 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

Directions

  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 lamb 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. 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 15 minutes (or refrigerate for up to a week—see note).

  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. 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. 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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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
881 Calories
43g Fat
74g Carbs
49g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 881
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 14g 70%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 1735mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 49g
Vitamin C 23mg 115%
Calcium 244mg 19%
Iron 6mg 33%
Potassium 1158mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)