Gyro Burgers and Gyro Sandwiches

Grill Sergeant here …
This recipe is something to do different for Memorial Day weekend BBQ or any BBQ gathering this summer. I whipped this recipe up after being inspired by my wife’s craving for a Gyro Sandwich; but planned Sloppy Joes (homemade sauce, not from can) on Memorial Day for dinner. The Sloppy Joes will be made with ground turkey instead of beef this time. As I do every Memorial Day, I have a shot glass of Jack Daniels (Black) or Captain Morgan to toast in memory of those who have fallen in combat while serving in the US Armed Forces. It is my tradition to do so for several decades now.
While I was stationed in Turkey assigned to NATO LSE Headquarters, where I spent 4.5 years of my life, I developed a taste for Mediterranean foods (Spain, Greece, Turkey and Italy). There are many recipes that are similar to each of those nations, just have different names.

Here in America, Greek and Turkish food  establishments can be found in many cities, but you can make it at home without the expense of importing a Gyro cone machine.

The meat for a Gyro sandwich is traditionally a mixture of lamb and beef; however, you can mix together ground beef, veal, lamb, or pork.
Pork substitutes lamb if unavailable or costs too much at local market. It is something like a meat loaf that can be eaten as a burger or sliced traditionally and served on Pita bread with the garlic sauce. If you noticed, garlic is a main ingredient in most everything you eat in the Mediterranean countries: Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. We love garlic here – and it is good for your health. If a recipe calls for two cloves of garlic, we double it — we never worry about vampire visitations. It’s good for your immune and circulatory system.
After this recipe section I will list some sources where you can watch video and read about Gyro meat and making Döner sandwich meat and other grilling recipes.
To make Gyro Burgers or Gyro/Döner Sandwiches:
2 to 4 cloves fresh garlic
Powdered Garlic (for Cucumber-Yogurt
(Tzatziki) sauce)
Sea Salt to taste
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp Black Course Pepper
¼ tsp finely crushed Greek or Italian
½ lb Lamb or Pork, ground
½ lb Beef, ground
2 lbs Lamb (substitute with Pork is an option), boneless loin or shoulder roast (for Gyro/Döner Sandwiches)
6-8 Pita Bread, with no pockets (for Gyro/Döner Sandwiches)
6-8 Hamburger Buns for Gyro Burgers
Diced Onions to taste
2 tomatoes, sliced
French or American Home Fries
White Wine vinegar or marinate of your
Tzatziki sauce for Gyro/Döner
(see recipe below)
Gyro/Döner Sandwich:
In a separate bowl combine paprika, salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Slice lamb or pork against the grain as thin as possible and pound with meat mallet until only ¼ inch thick. If you have a meat slicer, all the better – you don’t have to pound it. In a flat-bottom container arrange one layer of the meat slices, cut in half if too long, and sprinkle seasoning mix and then sprinkle some vinegar or favorite marinate. Makes sure the meat is moistened with the marinate.
Continue adding layers, spice mix, and marinate until all the sliced meat is used up. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours minimum. You can also do this the night before for deeper marination. Remove meat from refrigerator when ready to cook and fry in olive oil until brown and crisp.
In the center of each pita: spread Tzatziki sauce according to taste; add sliced tomato; add sliced onion; add Gyro/Döner meat. Serve with French Fries or American Fries (optional).


Tzatziki is a Cucumber-Yogurt Dip used for sauce on Gyro and Döner Sandwiches. I found a website that has a recipe for grilling Gyro meat.


3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper, course
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 cup sour cream
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
1 tsp chopped fresh dill


Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper in bowl. Mix until well combined. Using a whisk, blend the yogurt with the sour cream in another bowl. Add the olive oil mixture to the yogurt mixture and combine well. Add cucumber and chopped dill. Chill for at least two hours before serving. This recipe can be used for Gyro sandwich topping or as a dip.

Gyro Burgers:

Peel garlic cloves, crush with garlic press or dice then combine one pound of ground lamb/pork or ½ pound of lamb/pork with 1 pound of beef and mix well. Make sure you have taken off your rings and washed hands thoroughly or consider wearing food handlers gloves or sterile gloves purchased at pharmacy (without the powder).
Shape the meat or use a patty press to make the patties to the thickness and diameter you choose, at least ½ inch thick.
Broil or throw on the BBQ grill. You add cheddar your favorite cheese to make a Gyro-Cheeseburger. Serve with buns, French or American fries, and your choice of side dishes.
Traditional Gyro/Doner Cone Cooking Apparatus 
GodBlessOurTroops_animatedHow to Make a Gyro Machine by Sheharyar Khan.
How Greek Gyro is Made by Nancy Gaifyllia
How to Grill Bratwurst (“Brats”) – video
Traditional Gyro Meat (alternative Greek/Lebanese style meat loaf recipe)