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.
For the Gyro Meat:
1poundground bison, or extra lean ground beef or more lamb [See Note 1]
1tablespoongarlic, minced - about 4-5 cloves
1tablespoondried crushed rosemary
2teaspoonsfine kosher saltor fine table salt or fine sea salt
1/2teaspoonground black pepper, more or less to taste
1mediumcucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped (we use English cucumbers also called hothouse cucumbers)
4clovesgarlic, finely minced
2teaspoonsred wine vinegaror distilled white, white vine, or tarragon vinegar. For GF, be sure to choose a GF variety.
5 to 6spearmint leaves, finely minced
Sliced Red onions
Crumbled Feta Cheese
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.