Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Homemade Gyro with Tzatziki

Gyro Salad
I've lived mostly without gyros for the last 12 years in California.  In Chicago, there's a gyro joint on every corner.  In Humboldt County, there's one place and it's in the next town over.  It's the reason I wanted to figure out how to make falafel, which is one of my most favourite recipes... but these gyros are definitely going to rival the falafel. 

Now gyros are traditionally made with beef and lamb, but we don't eat a ton of beef and I'm not a huge fan of lamb, so my initial gyro recipe I thought I'd try going outside that box and used pork and turkey.  They were freaking amazing!!!  Thinking that beef and lamb must be better, I took my exact recipe and followed it again with the beef and lamb.  It was okay... but I gotta tell ya, I hands-down preferred the pork and turkey mix. 

Don't want the carbs you get with pita bread?  Gyro salads are also soooo delicious!

Listening to some No Motiv - "So What"... song is super catchy and keeps repeating in my head.  -jen

Time: 10 minutes to prep, 1 hour to rest, 1 hour to bake, couple hours to cool 
Difficulty:  Medium
Makes:  A lot
Equipment:  Food Processor

Gyro Loaf Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped large
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 pound ground pork, lean
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 4oz pancetta (cubed if you can find it)*
  • olive oil 
  • tomatoes, onion, cabbage or lettuce, cucumber, pita bread to make sandwich 
Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce) Ingredients:
  • 1/2 a cucumber 
  • 1/4 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cumin (optional)
*I used bacon the second time I tried the recipe, and it made everything taste smoked, not like gyro, so I would not substitute bacon.  You can use sliced pancetta if that's all you can find, it's just going to get ground up anyway.

Slushed garlic and onion
Gyro Loaf:
In a small bowl combine salt, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cumin and black pepper.  Set aside.  In the food processor add the chopped onion and garlic.  Process until slushy.  My food processor wouldn't process the two pounds of meat at once, so I added one of the meats to the onion and garlic, half of the salt and herb mix and processed until a paste.  Remove and set in large mixing bowl.  Then add the second pound of meat, the pancetta and remaining salt and herb mix to the food processor, process until a paste.  Combine both batches in the mixing bowl and with your hands, mix until both meats are thoroughly blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  (Great time to start making the tzatziki and getting your cucumbers draining!)

Preheat oven to 325 Farenheit.  Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with a light coating of olive oil.  Form meat into a loaf shape that's about 2" thick in center of foil - try to keep it uniformly thick so it cooks evenly.  Make sure you've packed it firmly to eliminate holes when slicing.  Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.  (A meat thermometer is a fantastic cooking tool!)

Remove loaf and let rest at least 20 minutes before slicing.  Cut into thin, almost shaved slices.  (If you can bare the wait, we recommend cooling the loaf completely, then refrigerating for a few hours.  It helps in cutting the slices super thin.)  Brown slices on both sides in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Only takes a minute or two.  Serve on a warmed pita with lettuce or cabbage, cucumber, tomato, onion and tzatziki! 

Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce):
If using an English/seedless cucumber, leave skin on.  If it's a regular, waxed cucumber, peel to remove waxy skin.  Cut in half and reserve one half to slice or dice onto gyro.  Cut the other half lengthwise and using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard - you still need to do this if you're using a "seedless" cucumber, that's where a lot of the liquid is.  Grate both deseeded cucumber quarters and set in a strainer over a bowl that will catch the liquid.  Toss grated cucumber with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the liquid drain out.

In a small mixing bowl, combine Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh dill, garlic, olive oil, black pepper, cumin (optional), the drained cucumber (squeeze out remaining juice and discard) and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt.

Not only great on gyros but great in salads or as a dip for fresh or roasted vegetables, great with grilled meats.


  1. This is the most yummy and mouth-watering recipe of the gyro. I love eating gyro due to its unique and wonderful taste. It has all the nutritious ingredients to enjoy. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Thanks for checking it out! We were stoked about it, too!