Poor Man’s Gyro and Sauce

I used to work in Alameda and the closest deli was a Greek one. Aside from awesome sandwiches and delicious salads of various kinds, they also had gyros. They’d slice that meat off the turning hunk of meat, top it with some tomatoes and onions, and ladle a bit of yogurt sauce on it and man oh man! That was 15 years ago and I can still almost taste them!

Then last year at our county fair out here in Pleasanton I saw a gyro stand. Now THAT’s fair food! So I got one for lunch. The girls were dubious until they took a bite of mine. Then they went and stood in line for their own. And this year there was no discussion about lunch. We all knew what we wanted.

I got this recipe from a cooking list I’m on that is focused on freezer cooking. This recipe had nothing to do with freezer cooking but sounded great so I tried it tonight. I really didn’t think it would taste much like the traditional gyros but figured I’d give it a try. I did it with just ground beef but the original recipe called for 1/2 ground lamb and 1/2 ground beef.

The spices are great! The garlic and oregano in the ground beef are the key. I might even do more garlic next time. The lady who posted the recipe said she sometimes does 6 cloves to a head in the sauce. I halved the sauce and still had leftovers (but no leftover meat!). Perhaps with grownups who are more sauce hungry the ratio of meat to sauce would be better. Either way, this was really good.

1 cup plain yogurt, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cucumber, grated and drained or squeezed dry
1 tsp vinegar

Mix everything together. You could, and perhaps should, do this ahead of time.

1 pound ground beef (or 1/2 ground lamb and 1/2 ground beef)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Mix together, then form into small patties and fry in a bit of olive oil until cooked through.

Serve with:

pita bread
chopped tomatoes
sliced onions
yogurt and cucumber sauce (above)



  1. Yes! The deli was Demitras! Are they still around?

  2. Was the deli Dimitra’s? I love their food.

  3. This sounds REALLY good! I made traditional gyros and my family didn’t care too much for the meat but they will eat ground beef, I think I will try this.


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