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Old 03-10-2006, 09:07 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Okeechobee, Fla
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Gyro Meat

Gyro Meat


Gyro meat can be made with all lamb or, more typically, a lamb and beef combination. I used a 50-50 combo because Australian lamb was all that was available. Being 'stronger' in flavor than American lamb and considering that I was serving a few people that aren't huge lamb lovers I thought it best.

I don't buy ground meats, preferring to grind it myself; buy ground if you prefer. (You will still need to use a processor to process the loaf mix into a paste; you can use a processor for the first 'grinding' as well, which is what I did.) I used chuck top blade for the beef (removing the gristle in the center of each piece) and both arm and shoulder slices for the lamb (removing the bone and tougher tissue that is unlikely to soften much during cooking, even if minced). If you're grinding your own remove the same and cut into chunks and chill in the freezer for 10-15 min. Process in batches, scraping down the bowl frequently, till the meats are very finely minced--past the point of hamburger-- and beginning to get pasty. Mix well with clean hands in a large mixing bowl then put the bowl in the fridge. Clean and dry the processor bowl, lid and blade then prep the other ingredients. I bought enough meat so that after trimming I would have roughly 3 lbs. It ended up being about 2.8 lbs--close enough.

The big deal with mixes like this that do not include typical binders (like you'd find in meatloaf--egg, breadcrumbs, e.g.) is that the mix must be processed into a paste. To facilitate keeping the loaf together during cooking I used a common approach for loaves like this which is also used for seafood sausage--wrapping tightly in Saran and chilling very well.

I decided to split the gyro loaf in half and cook one on the WSM and one on the EZ Que rotisserie so that I could report on both.



5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

2 t minced or finely grated lemon zest

2 t dried thyme

2 t dried Greek oregano

1 1/2 dried marjoram

1 1/2 t minced fresh rosemary

1 T Kosher salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1/4 t ground white pepper



1 medium onion, peeled



1.5 lbs ground lamb

1.5 lbs ground beef



Combine the first 9 ingredients in a small bowl; mix well and reserve.

Grate the onion using a medium grater or use the processor to process the onion to a minced onion mush. Scrape the onion onto a smoothly woven towel (not terrycloth) or several thickness of paper towel. Gather the towel around the onion and, holding it over the sink, squeeze gently but somewhat firmly to press out the juices. Unwrap the onion and mix it with the herbs in the bowl.

If you used the processor for the onion rinse the bowl and dry it, if not set it up for use. Remove the ground meat from the fridge (either the meat you ground or the store bought).

Process the meat in 4 batches (i.e., use 1/4 of the meat you've ground or 1/4 each of the ground lamb and ground beef if purchased already ground) with 1/4 of the contents of the reserved herb-onion mix. Process till very pasty, about 1-2 min total, stopping the processor and scraping down the sides of the bowl several times during processing. Remove to a large bowl; repeat till all is processed; mix very well.

Lay two 2-foot lengths of Saran wrap on the counter or cutting board overlapping on a long side by 3-4 inches so you end up with about an 18x24-inch piece with which to work. As noted above, I split the mix in two to cook each separately--if you wish you could do this as well and cook them together (one to eat now, one one to save). Form the meat into a thick freeform loaf shape along the long side closest to you, packing well with our hands, then roll up the loaf in the plastic. Twist the excess plastic on each end very tightly to tighten the plastic well around the loaf and compress it. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.




For the WSM: Set the cooker up for a high heat cook (no water in the pan). Remove the plastic wrap from the loaf. Fold a piece of parchment to fit under the loaf and place it on upper cook grate with the loaf on top. Roast at ~325 or higher till 165 internal, pull; rest 10 min before slicing very thinly for serving. Cook time depends on temp and thickness of your loaf; figure 60-90 min.

For the EZ Que: Since the EZ Que does is not a skewer-type rotis I set mine up so it would function like one. This was to avoid having to mash the meat with the meat clamps. I inverted one clamp so that the meat if the meat loosened it would fall on slightly and be caught by it (and not fall further into the basket). I skewered the meat with two skewers, coming in from opposite ends, and ran the skewers into sweet potatoes so I could set two other clamps to hold the potatoes and not the meat. This was to avoid damaging the exterior of the loaf with the clamps and to make sure the meat would be fairly fixed in position and not end up loosening as it shrank during cooking and flopping back and forth between the basket and clamps during the spins of the rotis. Whether or not this is necessary I have no idea, not having tried the 'normal' approach, but it was easy to set up and worked well. The rotis loaf I cooked at 350-375. It took a bit less than an hour to hit 165.




Finished WSM:


Finished EZ Que:


I had hoped to make pita dough and bake pita loaves while the gyros were cooking but got waylaid by problems with the bamboo floor I'm in the middle of installing. I served the sliced gyro meat on a small piece of multi-grain and topped the meat with tzatziki, with sliced ripe tomato topped with crumbled feta, kalamata olives, minced parsley and an evoo drizzle. A squeeze of lemon over all finished the plate. Very tasty.

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