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.
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.