Homemade Gyro Meat

Homemade Gyro Meat traditionally starts with a combination of beef and lamb roasted on a spit. This recipe starts with ground beef and bakes in a loaf pan in the oven. It absolutely could NOT be easier. Let’s get started!

Beef and lamb gyros are quite popular, this recipe uses ground bison and lamb but if you’re not up for trying bison, you can easily swap the bison our for lean ground beef or simply double up on the lamb. It’s totally up to you.

homemade gyro meat wrapped in a fresh pita layered with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.

Making gyro meat at home is easy and because most home cooks don’t have a traditional vertical rotisserie spit just laying around the house, this one starts with a gyro loaf but the flavors will still rival any restaurant gryo!

What ingredients are needed to make Homemade Gyro Meat:

** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.

  • Onions – I use sweet onions, but if you prefer, you can use brown or white onions here. 
  • Ground lamb – If you are not a fan of lamb, you can swap in ground beef.
  • Ground bison (or beef) – If you are not a fan of bison, or it’s not available in your area, swap in lean ground beef or double up on the lamb.
  • Garlic – I used freshly chopped garlic cloves, but you may also use prepared minced garlic, too. Fresh garlic had more flavor since it isn’t processed.
  • Marjoram – This is a must-have ingredient for me. I buy it in small packages at World Market or Badia and it’s about $0.75 for 0.25 oz which is quite a bit of this herb.
  • Rosemary – I use crushed rosemary from McCormick but again Badia sells a small 0.5 oz package for about $0.75.
  • Salt – I use fine Kosher salt, but you can use table salt or fine sea salt if that’s what you have on hand. 
  • Ground black pepper – Freshly ground is best because it’s the most flavorful but any ground black pepper will due. 

I’ve seen recipes that use all sorts of binders like eggs and breadcrumbs, but these are simply not needed. If you process the meat in the food processor [paid link] there is no need for these added fillers. 

A hand holding a gyro with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.

 

What ingredients are needed to make Tzatziki Sauce:

** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.

  • Greek Yogurt – I use Fat-Free Greek yogurt but you are welcome to use any brand/style you prefer. Do note, however, if you use regular plain yogurt, be sure not to skip the draining step to thicken it up! Also, be sure to grab plain yogurt and not vanilla.
  • Cucumber – I use English (hothouse) cucumbers but you can use garden cucumbers as well. 
  • Salt – Again, I use fine Kosher salt, but table salt or fine sea salt is also fine to use.
  • Garlic – I used freshly chopped garlic cloves, but you may also use prepared minced garlic, too. Fresh garlic had more flavor since it isn’t processed.
  • Red wine vinegar – I use red wine vinegar but distilled white, white wine, or tarragon vinegar may also be used. 
  • Mint leaves – I use spearmint from my garden but it is also sold in the produce section of the grocery along with the other fresh herbs.
A platter of Gyro meatA platter of Gyro meat
Gyro meat on a cast-iron panGyro meat on a cast-iron pan

How to make gyro meat in an oven:

** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the meat and herbs in a food processor [paid link].
  2. Place it in a loaf pan.
  3. Bake it in the oven.
  4. Slice it into portions.
  5. Optional: quickly char it on a skillet to get the crisp edges.
  6. Serve.
A front on view of some homemade gyro meat wrapped in a fresh pita layered with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.

How to make gyro meat on a rotisserie:

** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.

  1. Prepare the meat and herbs in a food processor [paid link].
  2. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to form a loaf.
  3. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours to firm up the meat.
  4. Cook it on the rotisserie skewer.
  5. Slice it into portions.
  6. Optional: quickly char it on a skillet (or over the rotisserie) to get the crisp edges after slicing.
  7. Serve.

After preparing this dish both on the rotisserie and in the oven, we felt the oven method is much easier, not to mention tidier, than the rotisserie method since the lamb let off a lot of oil. Because of this, we felt the oven method produced juicier homemade gyro meat while the rotisserie was a bit drier.

Both methods are good, we just preferred the oven method overall but have still included both cooking variations in the recipe card instructions

Serving Suggestions for Homemade Gyro:

  • Beef – if you’re not a fan of lamb or bison, you can easily swap in lean ground beef.
  • Wrap – most gyros are sold as a wrap on soft pita bread. For gluten-free, select a gluten-free variety of pita, if you cannot find a gluten-free pita, try a naan bread. It is a delicious substitute.
  • Salad – Serve the meat over salad greens, kalamata olives, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese. 
  • Bowl- serve over mint-scented rice and omit the pita
  • platter- serve with either mint-scented rice or roasted Greek potatoes, salad, hummus, gyro meat, and pita bread.

Optional Garnishes for Homemade Gyros:

  • Sliced Red onions
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Pepperoncini Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Sauce
Another long view of a gyro wrapped in a fresh pita layered with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.

What can be more perfect than homemade gyro meat? Why, homemade pita bread, of course. There’s nothing better than warm fresh pitas to round out this meal.

Looking for More Recipes? Check these out!

A pinnable image of Greek Gyro meat wrapped in a soft pita layered with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.
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homemade gyro meat wrapped in a fresh pita layered with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.

Homemade Gyro Meat

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
This flavorful gyro recipe is for a ground lamb and bison gyro. If you don't care for bison, you can double up on the lamb or replace it with lean ground beef. Gyro meat is traditionally cooked on a vertical rotisserie but this version is baked into a loaf and then sliced thin. The meat is then layered into a warm, soft pita along with shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, olives, and pepperoncini peppers. This is then topped with a dollop of Tzatziki sauce and crumbled of feta cheese.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 8 Servings
Calories 335 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Gyro Meat:

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground bison , or extra lean ground beef or more lamb [See Note 1]
  • 1 medium onion , quartered
  • 1 tablespoon garlic , minced – about 4-5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons fine kosher salt or fine table salt or fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper , more or less to taste

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt , plain, fat free [See Note 2]
  • 1 medium cucumber , peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (we use English cucumbers also called hothouse cucumbers)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic , finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or distilled white, white vine, or tarragon vinegar. For GF, be sure to choose a GF variety.
  • 5 to 6 spearmint leaves , finely minced

Optional Garnishes:

  • Sliced Red onions
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Sliced Tomatoes
  • Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Pepperoncini Peppers
  • Hot Pepper Sauce

Serving Suggestions. Serve with:

  • Minted Rice (stir minced mint leaves into steamed, buttered rice.)
  • Roasted Greek Potatoes
  • Hummus , your favorite brand and flavor
  • French Fries
  • Pita Bread

Instructions
 

For the Gyro Meat:

  • Place the quartered onion in the food processor and chop fine.
  • Add the lamb, bison, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 30 seconds to about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to incorporate all the seasonings. [See Note 3]

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

  • Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Greek yogurt will not let out much excess liquid, but if using regular yogurt, this step will be more necessary than with Greek yogurt.
  • Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, vinegar, and mint. Serve as a sauce for gyros. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.

To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows: [See Note 3]

  • Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
  • Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for 60 minutes or until the mixture reaches 170° F.
    Remove from the oven and drain off the collected fat. Set aside to rest until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 175° F.
  • Slice the meat lengthwise to form long thin strips and serve.
    OPTIONAL STEP: Heat a castiron skillet, and cook the strips for about 1 minute on each side to get the nice crispy edges typical of a gyro cooked on a rotisserie skewer. [See Note 5]

To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows: [See Note 4]

  • Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and on plastic wrap or foil. Roll the mixture tightly, removing any air pockets. Twist the ends of the wrap until the wrap is tight. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to overnight), to allow the mixture to firm up enough to cook on the spit.
    Alternatively, you could cook wrapped in the foil long enough for the mixture to tighten up, but this method is not ideal.
  • Preheat the grill to high.
  • Once chilled and firm, unwrap the meat and place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. The lamb lets off a lot of oil so you will want to place a foil pan or tray directly under the meat to catch the drippings and prevent flare-ups on the grill.
  • Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165° F.
  • Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 °F.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve warm on fresh pita bread with sliced onion, tomatoes, cucumbers. kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers, tzatziki sauce, and crumbled feta cheese.
  • For gluten-free, enjoy the meat over a salad as a gyro bowl or as a gyro platter with a salad and french fries. There are varieties of GF pita as well.

Notes

  1. If you do not care for or cannot find ground bison meat, you can swap it for lean ground beef or double up on the ground lamb.
  2. If plain yogurt (not Greek Yogurt) is used. Do not skip the draining step. Skipping this step will result in a very thin tzatziki sauce. We use fat-free Greek yogurt which we enjoy the flavor but you can use full fat if you prefer. Be sure to select plain yogurt and not vanilla yogurt.
  3. I’ve seen recipes that use binders like eggs and breadcrumbs. If you process the meat in the food processor to fully incorporate the meat and spices, there is no need for these added fillers. 
  4. After preparing the gyro meat both ways, cooking the gyro meat in the oven is our preferred method. It is the quickest and easiest method and doesn’t make the same oily mess that cooking it over the rotisserie made. The excess fat and oil were contained to the loaf pan and the loaf was easily lifted out and blotted.
  5. This cooking step is optional but produces the most authentic flavor with the extra caramelization on the meat which is more akin to how it is served in a restaurant that cooks on the spinning rotisserie stand. While this step is optional, we feel like it’s one you do not want to miss. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2ozCalories: 335kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 26gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 675mgPotassium: 440mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 73IUVitamin C: 3mgVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 6µgCalcium: 99mgFolate: 29µgIron: 3mgZinc: 5mg
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