Project Gyro

January 15th and 16th, 2011
Recently, my son Kevin and I decided that since we love Gyro sandwiches so much – why not make our own? This turned into a weekend project. (If you read this blog for any period of time you will notice a trend here!)
We decided to make a low budget (due to lack of cash in January -broke after XMAS) rotisserie out of parts found around the house and chef up our own version of this tasty sandwich that has wowed people for many years. It almost has a mystique that inhibits most people from even attempting this culinary delight.

OK so here it is:

The Players:
*Jim Leuthold
*Kevin Leuthold
*Rod Van
*Bill Dy

The Equipment:
*An old broken BBQ that has a rotisserie
*Pie Tins
*Screw Gun
*Chop Saw
*Cordless Drill
*2 Bottles of Good Quality Red Wine (for the builders – Duh!)

OK Here we go…
Making The Gyro Meat
The first order of business is to make the Gyro Meat. This needs to refrigerate for at least 6 hours and why not overnight. I prefer 24+ hours to let all the flavors really marry.
We also highly recommend the Tzatziki Sauce to serve with your Gyros!
Now, on with the tale (a tale of a faithful ship… oops wrong story!) of my son Kevin and I having some fun Father – Son quality time together and making something memorable. BTW did I mention that we also (BOTH) learn about the country of the dish we are making, (makes it a sneaky way of teaching about culture through food ;~)

Kevin and I harvested some fresh herbs from our garden to use in the mix. You could find these at the store but we happen to have them growing. So about 5 Sprigs of Rosemary, 5 sprigs of Thyme and a equal amount of Marjoram. Wash, pat dry and remove the stems and set aside.

We cut up 4 lbs. lamb (got a boneless leg of lamb at Costco for $4.49/lb.) and 4 lbs. Tri Tip ($2.49/lb.) (fat still on). We cut all the meat in to 1 inch cubes. Set Aside.

Then we took all the spices (i.e. Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic Cloves, Kosher Salt and Whole Peppercorns) and put them in a food processor. We kept pulsing until all were pulverized. Then we took the pulverized spices and seasoned the cubed meat prior to grinding. (That way the spices also go thru the meat grinder for more even distribution.)

Next we got out the old Kitchen Aid mixer (a must have appliance) and installed the meat grinder attachment, and ground the meat/spice mixture.

We then coarsely chopped 2 onions and placed them in a food processor. We pureed it into a fine paste, then placed into a towel and squeezed as much of the moisture out as possible.

After grinding all the meat, we mixed in the onion puree.
Then Kevin combined everything thoroughly and then we fried up a small amount to check the seasonings. We adjusted to taste, then fried up a little more – just to be sure! ;~)

Then we ran the meat mixture through the grinder a second time. (This helps to get a better consistency.)

Finally, we formed the mixture into a cylinder-shaped loaf, wrapped it tightly with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge (you’ll want to refrigerate it for at least 6 hours, we like to have it in the fridge overnight when we can.) So while that was in the fridge…

Building the Rotisserie >>skip to cooking>>

Now for the rotiserrie – We fabricated ours out of an old BBQ that had an infrared burner. We mounted it vertically, putting the motor at the bottom, then added a piece of angle iron with a hole drilled through it and a couple of Marie Calenders’ pie tins and it was almost ready for a test fire!

Drill some holes here…

Drill, cut and grind some angle iron there…

Slide on some pie tins…

We give you…the Gyro rotisserie!!

Job well done, gentlemen!

Cooking the Gyro Meat

We finalized the rotisserie by mounting the infrared burner and used the BBQ lid and some aluminum foil as heat reflectors. Then, after 6 hours or so of refrigeration, we took the Gyro meat “loaf” out of the fridge and lovingly placed it on the skewer of our rotisserie and set the wheels in motion (er, the rotisserie in motion) and waited… we needed the internal temperature to reach 165° F.

Close-up of the Gyro meat at the beginning of cooking…

Kevin admiring the progress after about 2 hours.

Our Gyro meat after about 4 hours of cooking.

Serve Gyro meat on Pita Bread with Tzatziki Sauce and Hummis with Romaine Lettuce and Diced Tomatoes.
Gyro Sandwich

ENJOY!

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