Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Food Science

So recently I saw where my Facebook friend, Ann Nicole, made gyros.  Her pictures made it look great and her comments made it look easy.  They gyros I'm talking about are the American version of sausage-like sliced meat gyros. Now, I've tried making gyros before.  I loosely used Alton Brown's recipe, but the meat was dry and crumbly.  Maybe I should have followed his recipe more closely.  

Anywho, I went out in search of how to make this gyro meat and get it right.  I came across the Serious Eats blog, which is a blog where he does research on the science of food and does trials and tests.  Apparently there is crucial timing of when to salt the meat so that the juices don't run out of it. And the mixture has to stay cold until just before cooking it so that the meat stays together during cooking.  Plan on starting your gyro meat the day before so it can sit with the salt overnight. And the cooking temperature has to be a lot lower than you would think, since the hotter you cook something, the faster the juices come out.  Now, gyros are made from ground lamb.  I went to two different stores and couldn't find any, so I used a combination of ground beef and ground pork.  But, if you can find lamb, by all means use that.

And the end result?  These Gyros were so awesome that I literally did my own gyro dance!  And, while all this seems time consuming and difficult, it was really pretty easy to throw together.  You do need a food processor for this meal, since the mixture has to be ground into almost a paste.  

Now get out your ouzo and say opa!  It's time for Gyros!

as adapted from Serious Eats
1 lb ground lamb (or ground beef)
1 lb ground pork
1 small onion, rough chopped
6 slices bacon
4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon paprika

1 C plain yogurt
1/2 C mayonnaise
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 T chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cucumber, seeds removed
Salt & pepper, to taste

Pita bread
Chopped Roma tomatoes
Sliced black olives
Crumbled feta cheese
Chopped cucumber
Sliced red onion
Chopped Romaine lettuce

The day before making the gyros, mix the ground lamb (or beef) and the ground pork together with the 4 teaspoons salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, put the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel.  Place the strainer over a bowl and put in the fridge for about an hour to drain out the excess water.  Cut the bacon into pieces.  Add all of the meat ingredients together in a food processor.  Process until the mixture is completely processed.  It will be kind of a paste.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with foil. Spread the paste out on the sheet pan in a rectangle about 8 inches by 5 inches.  Bake for about 30 minutes and until the center of the loaf reaches 155 degrees.  Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes covered.

In a blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients.  

Preheat the broiler.  Using a bread knife, cut slices from the 5 inch side of the meat into about 1/4 inch slices.  Lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan.  Broil for about 5 minutes or until the edges of the meat brown and get crispy.

Serve the meat on the pitas with the sauce and desired toppings.

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