Gluten-Free, Homemade Gyro Meat (γύρος)

5 Apr

Gyro meat, often referred to as doner or shawarma meat, is simply meat roasted on a rotating vertical spit and shaved off. Most Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern countries have some variation of this dish as a common street food. Depending on where you’re getting it, the meat can be made of lamb, beef, goat, chicken or a combination of meats. It’s one of my favorite meats of all time, and one that’s not easily replicated at home without a rotisserie setup. Lava Lake Lamb was gracious enough to send me some ground lamb recently, so I thought it was time to try and figure out how to make it on my own.

I spent a lot of time researching how to make authentic gyro meat at home, and in the end I found that Alton Brown’s approach was just about perfect. It involves processing the meat to make a thick paste, which is then stored for a couple hours before being cooked on the grill using a rotisserie or in the oven using a meatloaf pan. I went with the meatloaf pan variation with just a few adjustments, and it was awesome.

You’ll Need:
2 lbs ground lamb from Lava Lake Lamb (or 2 lbs ground beef, or 1 lb of each)
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp each dried marjoram and rosemary
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper

Chop your onion and put it in a food processor, mixing until it is finely minced/blended. Take the onion out of the processor and squeeze it in a cheese cloth to remove most of its juices.

Add the remaining ingredients, including the squeezed onion, and process/pulse it for about a minute.

The meat is done processing when it is well-mixed and slightly tacky to the touch.

Place the meat on a large piece of plastic wrap, and wrap it as tightly as you can. Twirling the ends of the wrap will help tighten the loaf. Place the loaf in the fridge for two hours.

After two hours, remove the loaf from the plastic wrap and place it in a loaf pan, pressing it firmly down to remove any air pockets. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Place the loaf pan in a large roasting pan and fill it with enough water to reach halfway up the loaf pan. Bake in the oven until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees, about an hour and 20 minutes.

Allow the beautiful loaf to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly.

Serve it however you please. We like it with lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade tzatziki. Cucumbers too, if we’re feeling frisky.

41 Responses to “Gluten-Free, Homemade Gyro Meat (γύρος)”

  1. The Style Dancer April 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Looks delicious – really enjoying reading your recipes and appreciate the simple directions and illustrative photos. Thanks.

    • Russ Crandall ( April 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Thank you! My goal is to keep adding one recipe a week, but I keep coming up with new stuff to cook…hence the four recipes this week!

    • Mary February 25, 2014 at 9:37 am #

      Wow, I know this is an old post, but I have been meaning to write on here to thank you anyway. This is a great website, and you are The Man! Really, you’ve got it. I have been working on getting my family on a healthy diet for the last few years – gluten free, GAPS, and Paleo have helped tremendously with a series of auto-immune diseases including diabetes I (husband), asthma and migraine headaches (son), and rheumatoid arthritis (me), as well as behavior problems in one of our daughters. They have all been greatly improved or completely wiped out (my arthritis!). So, just last week I found out about your new book, read about your ideas, and just can’t wait to get your cookbook which should be here tomorrow from Amazon. I will be cooking through it, as you suggested on another post. I am a chemist and our family’s cook. Your thinking makes perfect sense to me in terms of nutrition – why eliminate rice completely? It was a question I had, since rice is quite benign in terms of toxicity. We have two daughters adopted from China, and I think I should put myself in the dog house or something for not ever giving them rice because of being a strict Paleo diet follower. So, until tomorrow, I will enjoy looking through your blog and trying recipes from it.

      Congratulations on your return to health and your successful new book!

      PS – I have been looking for a gyro meat recipe for years, thanks!

      • Russ Crandall February 25, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

        Mary, thanks for writing! I’m happy to hear that I’ve been a resource for your family. Hope you like the book!

  2. Amelia April 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Thanks for this. I can’t wait to try it! I really miss my gyros :)

  3. Marjorie April 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

    Mmm! Looks delicious – I’ll be trying this one soon!

  4. Amanda April 5, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    this is brilliant! i never thought to do it like this. im definitely doing this with my next batch of ground lamb. thanks!

  5. Russ Crandall ( April 6, 2012 at 6:55 am #

    Thanks guys. Definitely try it out and let me know how it goes!

  6. Marcy April 8, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Looks delicious. I ate a lot of kebab when I was in France – the only thing open after 7pm and a god-send if you’re hungry.

    I look forward to trying your recipe, but can you explain what the plastic wrap step accomplishes if you’re making the meatloaf variation?

    I actually have a rotisserie so I might give that a try if I can the loaf firm enough.

    • Russ Crandall ( April 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      Hi Marcy, the plastic wrap step is to allow the flavors to combine. It also helps if you’re going to use a rotisserie, because it’ll allow the loaf/mixture to firm up a bit as well. Let me know how it goes!

      • Christine August 15, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

        Hi Russ, I’m resistant to using the plastic wrap (mainly because I never buy the stuff). What do you think would have been the traditional way to get the flavors to combine? Or how could I get a similar effect? Thanks, Russ!

        • Erika November 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

          Christine, I use wax paper instead of plastic wrap for these kind of situations. Wax paper is an oldie but goodie and it works well for nut-based cookie dough that needs to be frozen too.

  7. priscillajoannadaim April 9, 2012 at 1:19 am #

    Reblogged this on priscillajoannadaim and commented:

  8. goatsandgreens April 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    wow, this looks great! I think I will try it this coming weekend, along with your tzakzi. sauce. 1

  9. Helena April 10, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    I LOVE your blog!!! Your story is incredible. I follow the Perfect Health Diet. I am also on the search for a general doctor who believes in this stuff. I’m in the NYC area. I just thought I’d ask if you know of any good doctors in this area, since you have had quite a medical history. Thanks! HW

    • Russ Crandall ( April 10, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

      Hi Helena,

      Unfortunately I don’t know of any Primary Care Managers in NYC. All of my treatment has been in Hawaii, California, and Maryland…that’s a great idea for a website though! :)

  10. Teri April 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Made this and the sauce last night!!! All I can say is Thank you and I’m in love with your recipes!!!! Even my not so Paleo husband and family loved it!!!!

  11. Matt C April 10, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Looks awesome, I’m certainly going to give this a try! Just wish it was tomoato and cucumber season already…

  12. Drew Kime April 11, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I have a regular horizontal rotisserie. Do you think it would hold together on that? Hmm, maybe if I stick the rod through it and freeze it. Actually, at the gyro stand I go to the meat is frozen when they put it on the vertical rotisserie, so I’m pretty sure it will work.

    Okay, so no question after all. :-) I’ll update you when I try it to let you know how it came out.

  13. AdronsCatherine June 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm #

    I’ve had this recipe bookmarked (and in an open tab on my iPhone lol!) since you released it. I finally made it tonight, and it was AWESOME!!! I used half lamb/half beef, but I think next time I’ll use all lamb. It was so flavorful, and had the perfect texture! Ad your tzatziki recipe is delish, too! I used a splash of ouzo in place of the lemon juice…

    Thank you for allowing me to enjoy gyros meat again!!!!

  14. Ellie K August 30, 2012 at 2:08 am #

    Thanks Man you did it again!!! I live within walking distance of a Kebab shop and have eaten more kebab’s than I would like to remember. It was my go to convenience food, (I thought they were a kind of healthy take-away) and the hardest to give up. I had no idea it could be made at home until I saw your recipe! This paired with a homemade rice flour/tapocia wrap and all the trimmings made me so happy!!! Best meal of the month – HANDS DOWN!

  15. jennifer852501 January 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Currently waiting to pop mine into the oven, and the tzatziki is a go. My husband, son, and I could not be more excited! I’ll be back to update :)

  16. jennifer852501n January 20, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Whoa. Big hit. Big, Big Hit! We did half lamb half beef because the other pkg. of lamb I had was frozen, but it was fantastic! I can’t wait to do an all lamb version next. The ingredients came together so beautifully, and as a whole was so fresh and vibrant…just lovely. My husband was very impressed. He kept saying things like, “Best thing I’ve had like EVER…and…It just seemed so bright and fresh, and healthy…and (my personal favorite)…I somehow feel like a better person having eaten that.” That, my friend, is high praise! Many thanks!

    • Russ Crandall ( January 21, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

      Jennifer, thanks for the feedback! You just made my day.

      • jennifer852501 January 22, 2013 at 9:49 am #

        You definitely had it coming :) I’m about to fix another omelet w/gyro and tzatziki. I’ve been looking forward to those since I decided to try the recipe!

  17. Max February 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on Stuff And Everything and commented:
    We did this with all ground beef (because we didn’t have lamb and it was great. Gonna mix the two next time.

  18. KE March 31, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    You know you have a keeper when your 4-year-old has thirds and your 2-year-old gobbles it up. Thank you! I recently started the SCD and had been craving gyros from the local Greek restaurant, so this made my week.

  19. Jessie May 8, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    We had this tonight, it is delicious. We pan fried the slices to get the texture a little more authentic, it was just great, especially with the tzatziki!

  20. Emily August 12, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    We really liked this when we made it a couple months ago, especially my 7 year old. I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried freezing the gyro pieces after cooking. I would love to put this in his lunch and was thinking I could pull some out the night before and then it’d be thawed by lunchtime the next day. Maybe I’ll just try it and see!

    • Russ Crandall August 13, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Emily, I think it would freeze/thaw well, go for it!

      • Emily September 14, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

        Just reporting back… it still tasted great after being frozen/thawed. I haven’t sent any in a lunch, but we did pan fry the thawed slices to reheat and liked that method a lot.

        • Russ Crandall September 17, 2014 at 5:59 am #

          Emily, thanks for reporting back! Happy to hear it froze well.


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