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Rotisserie-grilled Gyro at Home

Published: September 9, 2011
IMG_5584gyro
Photo by John & Tanya Bäck
If you have a rotisserie fitting on your grill, here’s what to do with it. The long column of meat that turns and turns on a spit in many Greek restaurants may look like something you can’t make at home. But it’s just ground lamb and flavorings, worked into an even finer grind in the food processor, molded into a loaf and spit-roasted until the moment it’s sliced into your waiting pita (the thick kind, without a pocket), topped with lettuce, tomato, sliced onion and tzatziki (see recipe below). And, if you can find real Greek dried oregano at a specialty store, it has a much stronger flavor than anything off the spice shelf at the supermarket. Makes 8 servings.

INGREDIENTS:    
2     pounds ground lamb
6     slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1     large yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3     garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
2     teaspoons salt
1½    teaspoons whole dried oregano leaves
1     teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all the ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor and process about one minute until very smooth. Scrape down the sides a couple times. If you don’t have a large food processor, you may need to do this in batches, but don’t skip the processing or the meat won’t have the fine texture of a classic gyro.
2. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a wide, thick loaf about 10 inches long. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap, compressing it as much as you can to help it hold its shape on the grill. Refrigerate 2-3 hours to firm it.
3. When ready to cook, preheat a gas grill on medium for 10 minutes with the lid down or prepare a medium charcoal fire, with red coals under a layer of gray ash. Fit the loaf onto your rotisserie and cook over the heat for about 40 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to test, and continue cooking until the center is 165 degrees F.
4. Although restaurants slice off the meat to order, it’s easier for the home cook to slide the cooked meat off the skewer and onto a platter. Cut long thin slices lengthwise off the loaf using a carving knife, and heap on top of warmed pita bread.

TZATZIKI
This classic Greek sauce is incredibly simple to make, but filled with complex flavors. To make your own version at home, simply peel, then grate and squeeze a cucumber, mix it with Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper to your taste.
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