Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lamb Gyros -- the Ultimate Grill Experience

* We linked this post at Monday Mania at the The Healthy Home Economist and Friday Foodfight at RunDMT *

I love gyros.  I'll take them in nearly any form, even the ones that get sliced off of a giant cylinder of lamb pate at a Greek fast food restaurant.  However, when I get the chance, I make them at home because the flavor of a fresh leg of lamb marinated for three days in a delicious mix of herbs and spices is simply unbeatable.  I believe that this gyros recipe is the best I've ever tasted, anywhere, and I hope you like it too:

The marinade recipe originally came from here if you want to check it out.

Lamb Gyros on the Grill:
  1. 1/2 C. chopped fresh mint
  2. 1/2 C. chopped fresh parsley
  3. 1/2 C. chopped fresh basil
  4. 4-5 sprigs fresh rosemary (stripped from stems)
  5. 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  6. 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  7. zest of one lemon
  8. juice of two large lemons
  9. 1 Tbsp sea salt
  10. 1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper
  11. 3/4 C. olive oil
  12. 4 cloves garlic, sliced about 1/8" thick
  13. 1 butterflied leg of lamb (about 5 lbs)
  14. several small sprigs of rosemary
Three Days Before Dinner:

Mix the first 11 ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.  If your leg of lamb is not already butterflied, go ahead and do that.  Using a sharp knife, slice the inside of the leg along the bone to expose the bone.  Slice carefully around the bone to free it, and remove the bone.  Now make a couple of slices from where the bone was toward the front and back of the meat so that you can "unroll" it into a flat piece about 2 inches thick.  Trim off the silverskin and excess fat.

Make a bunch of slits in the meat large enough to stuff garlic slices and rosemary sprigs into, and put them in. Here it is with the garlic:

Now add the meat and the marinade to a zipper bag, press out any air, and massage the marinade into the meat.  Place it in the refrigerator for about three days, turning it over at least once per day to make sure the marinade is evenly distributed:

The Evening Before Dinner:

Now is the time to start the sourdough for the pitas.  I posted the recipe for these separately to keep things simple -- here it is.  If you make them on the grill like I did, aim to get them completely done about an hour before you're ready to eat so the grill will be free for the lamb at the end.

Two Hours Before Dinner:

Take the meat out of the fridge and put it on the counter to come to room temperature.

45 Minutes Before Dinner:

Replenish the charcoal on the grill, let it get hot, and put the lamb on over high heat to sear the outside:

Give it 5-7 minutes to get a nice dark crust, then flip it and repeat:

After it has had time to develop the crust on the other side, move the meat to indirect heat and put the lid on the grill.  Shut the vents down to about half and let it slow cook for about half an hour, or until it's done to your preferred level.

While the lamb is cooking, prep the toppings and salad.  A simple Greek restaurant style salad is green lettuce, thinly sliced red onion, tomato, feta cheese, kalamata olives, and Greek dressing.  To top the gyros, I like shaved red onion, very thin tomato slices, feta, and tzatziki.

Ten Minutes Before Dinner:

Take the lamb off the grill and cover it tightly to keep the moisture in while it cools.

When it has had about five minutes to cool, slice it thinly across the grain.  Serve it with the pitas, salads, tzatziki, homemade hummus (recipes coming soon...), and a nice glass of red wine.  Opa!

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