The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich

The Ultimate Gyro SandwichThe Ultimate Gyro Sandwich

What makes the best sandwich? Is it the combination of textures, with the right amount of crunch, chew, and melt in your mouth? Does the sandwich have flavors, ranging from savory to sweet, salty to bitter? How do all the ingredients play together? What is the sensation of each bite, to the next? This was my road map to create the Ultimate Gyro Sandwich recipe.

Defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary, a Gyro is “a sandwich especially of lamb and beef, tomato, onion, and yogurt sauce on pita bread.” The New York Times wrote an article about the gyro and the history behind this sandwich. I fell in love with this Greek sandwich the first time I saw it being made. I remember the sandwich maker using a long sword-like knife, carving off of cylindrical meat that was spinning on a Vertical Broiler | Roaster, creating a crispy outer crust that would be in my sandwich… He added this meat to a pita, topped with a yogurt sauce, and then a Greek salad. He wrapped it into a cone shape with aluminum foil and it was handed to me… Upon the first bite, I was introduced to a whole new world of flavors, textures, that became a gateway to exploring sandwiches from around the world. As most Gyros are served out of food trucks, at fairs with food booths or the occasional Greek restaurant, I wanted to learn, not just how to make this sandwich at home, but to make The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich.

How to Make The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich at Home:

As with any sandwich, the bread can make or break the sandwich. This gyro starts with a Homemade Pita Beer Bread recipe. As pita bread isn’t always easy to first, find, and second, find fresh, I decided to dive into bread making. The thinnest of the dough helps the pita bread to not just rise, but to puff up and make a bread pillow when it bakes. The creation of two layers helps the gyro from becoming soggy, holding all the different ingredients together, and has the right amount of chew and texture to the sandwich.

The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich Strip

I’ve always loved lamb. From Sunday Suppers to leftover lamb sandwiches and lamb curries, I’ve loved this meat for its richness, full flavor, and deliciousness. I also love garlic and how lamb and garlic work so amazingly well together in taste, complimenting each other. I also love goats and pigs… Since I don’t have a Vertical Broiler | Roaster, I set out to perfect the spinning meat cones used to create a gyro. Food science comes into play, learning from a Turkish Lamb Köfte with Stout, the mixing of the meat helps make the ground lamb | goat | pork stick together, resulting in a texture and it holds together. Taking the principles of Italian Meatballs (Flemish Meatballs or Classic Meatballs Simmered in a Tomato, Bacon and Brown Ale Sauce) and Meatloaf, with the addition of a panade or starch in the form of bread, bread crumbs, crackers or in this case panko soaked in liquid, usually milk. I add beer to soak with the Japanese style bread crumbs to help hold onto the meat juices, to craft a tender, juicy, and flavorful meat. This Homemade Gyro Meat becomes the base for all the other ingredients of this sandwich to support and playoff. Sure, this meat can be used to make a gyro, but also try it onto a Greek-inspired pizza, add it to a breakfast taco or a Greek New Joe’s Special…

Slathered over the succulent sliced meat comes a twist from a Tzatziki sauce, my version of a Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro. Instead of using cucumbers, I leave them out of this Greek yogurt sauce, that has been strained to make an almost yogurt cheese-like consistency. With umami help from my White Miso Malt Vinegar Mayonnaise, along with garlic, Meyer lemon zest & juice, a fruity extra virgin olive oil, and effervescent herbs like Italian leaf parsley, mint, fennel fronds, and some S & P, this sauce mixes with the juicy lamb meat, adding creaminess, flavor and extra richness to this sandwich.

Rounding out all the richness, vegetables are needed in most sandwiches. Playing homage to the Greek’s, I wanted to make a few twists to the definition of a Gyro, having only tomato and onion. As I left out the cucumber in the Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro, I add it here, along with fennel bulb, sliced thin, bringing crunch, texture, and the refreshing elements that cucumber and fennel bring in flavor and structure. Red onion adds more texture along with a touch of bite, that is different than fresh raw garlic, while still having that allium family heritage… This Greek Salad Recipe captures the classic salad vibe while having a touch of anise flavor, that compliments the Homemade Gyro Meat perfectly.

These different elements, all showcase the reason for why to cook with beer. Using beer to highlight flavors, in the meat, the herbs used in the spicing and flavoring of the sauce, the salad and the beer used to make the gyro meat, all combine, with each delicious bite of this sandwich. The attention to flavors, both in the beers being used to create these four supporting elements | recipes into the sandwich, transform the average gyro into The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich.

What Beer Pairing to achieve a perfect balance of bitter | sweet | sour | salt with this gyro gone Greek Beer Cuisine? With the hoppy notes found in the Homemade Gyro Meat, to the herbs that uplift the yogurt sauce, a hoppy American Pale Ale (APA) or India Pale Ale | IPA, will elevate those flavors. To play off the sour, found in the Greek Salad Dressing that is tossed with the crisp cucumbers, ripe tomatoes, pop of anise, a Leipzig Gose with the slight salty finish will help cut the richness of the meat, fattiness of the yogurt sauce, as would an American Wild Ale or a classic Belgian Gueuze that will bring out some of those farmhouse | barnyard flavors that might be associated with the gamey lamb | goat meat. Switching gears, a malty Brown AleEnglish Extra Special | Strong Bitter (ESB), or a roasty Stout will play off the roasted meat, the malt-forward pita while adding a counterpoint to all the herbs, garlic, and succulents of this sandwich.

 

Enjoy and Eat Beer!

 

 

Serves: 8 guests

 

 

Adapted from BeerAdvocate Magazine: Cuisine à la Bière | Jul 2014 | Issue #90

The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
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The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich is a pita wrapped with a Lamb | Beef seasoned meat, with a Yogurt Sauce and topped with a Greek Salad, folded into a cone and devoured with a cold brew!
Servings Prep Time
8 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
10 minute
Servings Prep Time
8 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
10 minute
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich is a pita wrapped with a Lamb | Beef seasoned meat, with a Yogurt Sauce and topped with a Greek Salad, folded into a cone and devoured with a cold brew!
Servings Prep Time
8 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
10 minute
Servings Prep Time
8 guests 20 minute
Cook Time
10 minute
Ingredients
Servings: guests
Units:
Instructions
  • Using the same heat source as you used to brown | rewarm the Homemade Gyro Meat.
    Homemade Gyro Meat
  • Add several slices of meat down the outside center of the pita (not inside), top with a few scoops of Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro,
    Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro
  • Then top with a generous amount of the Greek Salad.
    Greek Salad Recipe
  • Fold the pita into a cone or taco shape and use some aluminum foil to hold it together. The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich is ready to serve! For some heat | Spiciness, add your favorite hot sauce as desired
    The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
Recipe Notes

The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich Recipe Variations:

  • To add another layer of creaminess, smear some Beer Hummus onto the pita bread, then build the sandwich as directed
  • I love shawarma sandwiches. I love to add Za’atar Roasted Eggplant, giving the final sandwich more flavor and texture!

More Mediterranean Beer Cuisine Recipes:

Baba Ghanoush 200
Baba Ghanoush
Beer Hummus
Beer Hummus
Chicken & Turkey Köfte with IPA
Chicken & Turkey Köfte with IPA
Greek Salad Recipe
Greek Salad Recipe
Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro
Greek Yogurt Sauce for Gyro
Homemade Gyro Meat
Homemade Gyro Meat
Homemade Pita Beer Bread
Homemade Pita Beer Bread
Homemade Za’atar
Homemade Za’atar
Hoppy Tabbouleh
Hoppy Tabbouleh
Mediterranean Stuffed Leg of Lamb
Mediterranean Style Yogurt Sauce for Lamb
Mediterranean Style Yogurt Sauce for Lamb
Middle Eastern Falafal
Middle Eastern Falafel
Roasted Asparagus
Roasted Asparagus
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
The Ultimate Gyro Sandwich
Toasted Israeli Cous Cous Salad with Spring Vegetables and IPA Dressing
Turkish Lamb Köfte with Stout
Turkish Lamb Köfte with Stout
Za’atar Roasted Eggplant
Za’atar Roasted Eggplant

Sean Paxton

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