The first time I ate Gyro, was when I went to Greece as a teenager. One interesting thing about the Greek Gyro ( that really surprised me) is that they make it with French fries inside. They take large pita bread, fill it with meat, tomatoes, onions, olives, tzatziki sauce and French fries. I have never eaten gyro like that besides Greece. Another thing that I really liked about Greek food is that you can order it even at 2 o’clock in the morning. Since it is very hot during the day, most businesses close in the afternoon and then they reopen when the sun goes down. In order to make their money back for the hours they were closed, they stay opened until late in the night. At least that’s the way I remember it from my trip. I went to Greece as a teenager over 15-teen years ago so my memory is a little blurry but I will never forget that delicious gyro 🙂
In United States, Gyro is also very popular. Especially on the East Coast, where there are lots of people from many different countries and cultures. In Greece it’s called Gyro but it is pretty much the same as Middle Eastern kebab. The meat is usually roasted on the special kebab roaster. It is also very easy to make at home. All you need is a grill pan.
Gyro is very versatile and can be made with variety of different meats. It’s usually made with lamb, beef or chicken. I love all of them equally. There is a great Gyro stand in NYC. The first time my husband took me there I fell in love with the food. If you are ever in NYC you must look for a Gyro stand in front of the Hilton Hotel. The stand usually opens up in the night, around 7pm and even before they open they already have a line of people waiting for them. The minimum wait time for the food is at least 15 minutes. No matter if it rains or snows, people are always lining up to try the food.
Unfortunately, I don’t go to New York every day, so whenever I crave Gyro I make it at home. It is very simple to make.
- 1 pound of beef steak (or the meat of your choice)
- 1 tsp. of oregano
- 1 tsp. of paprika
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. of lemon juice
- pita bread
- 1 tomato
- 1/2 of a small onion
- few olives
- salt and pepper to taste
I cut the meat into thin strips and marinate it in the oregano, paprika, garlic and lemon juice. The meat should marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour but its best when left overnight. The longer it marinates the better it gets. After the meat has marinated I bring it to the room temperature. I warm up my grill pan and spray with the cooking spray. Then I add the meat and let it grill for approximately five minutes. (When the meat is on the pan I sprinkle it with salt and pepper. I don’t add the salt to the marinade because it makes the meat tough.) Then I flip it over and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Since the meat is very thin it does not need to cook for a long time. I take it out of the pan, squeeze the lemon juice over the top and let it rest for few minutes.
For Tzatziki souce:
- 1 cup of natural yogurt
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cucumber
- salt and pepper to taste
Important step in making the tzatziki sauce is squeezing as much water out of the cucumbers as possible. I usually grate the cucumber and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. After few minutes a squeeze all the water out.
To make the tztatziki sauce I combine all the ingredients. The sauce is best the next day when all the ingredients marinate with each other.
To assemble the sandwich:
- warm up pita bread on the stove
- cut it in half
- add the meat
- add the tomatoes, olives, onion
- put tzatziki on top