gluten free / paleo/primal

Recipe: Lamb Burger, Gyro Style

Sorry, no pictures on this post. It’s just a burger.

I love gyros. Love love love love love!!!

When I went gluten free, though, one of my favorite foods was suddenly off limits, because most commercially prepared gyro meat uses wheat as a binder. It’s kind of like lamb meatloaf that’s slow roasted. I was sad.

Gyros and fish and chips are my two big cheat foods. When someone figures out a way to make baked fish as fantastic as fish and chips, I’ll stop cheating with it, too. *sigh*

I cheated enough with gyros, though, and got sick most of the time I ate it, that I knew I had to give it up. Permanently. I was sad for a few months. Then I googled “gyro meat recipe” and came across this gem. (Anything with Alton Brown in the title is usually a safe bet for me.)

The first time I made the recipe, I broke my blender. You heard that right. I BROKE my KitchenAid blender. That thing didn’t sweat for anything. Smoothies, crushed ice…no problem. Grinding up lamb? No bueno. Ugh! (Edited to add: I got a new one for Christmas last year. If I do this recipe again, I’m going to break the meat up into several batches, so as to not overwhelm the machine.)

The recipe, however, came out perfect.  It was so perfect, I ate gyros for dinner, then breakfast, lunch, and dinner the following day. Since my hubby doesn’t care for lamb (I’m not sure how we’re still married), this was all right. And I was SO HAPPY!

But the next time I wanted to make it, I didn’t have a blender. I mixed it by hand. It, surprisingly, turned out okay. But it was so much work.

So, the next time I felt like gyros, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just get ground lamb, add gyro spices to it, and grilled up some burgers. Easy!”

That’s exactly what I did.

I took the spices from the gyro recipe and converted it to dried ingredients that I had on hand. Then I took Mark Bittman’s technique for broiling burgers in the oven, and it’s perfection.

Gyro Burger (roughly adapted from Alton Brown’s gyros recipe):

  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tsp finely minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried ground rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash of ground black pepper

Combine the spices. Mix with the ground lamb, but try really hard not to overmix, just like with any burger or meatball recipe. You want the meat to remain pretty tender.

Tzatziki sauce doesn’t make or break this for me, so I don’t need it. If you do, follow the recipe on the page I linked to. Or make your own.

As for the burger broiling technique, if you haven’t tried this before, it is the best way to prepare a burger in your house! Adapted from Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything: The Basics, this is the best technique for burgers at home:

  1. Turn on the broiler. The rack should be about 4 inches from the heat source. Put a large ovenproof skillet (I use cast iron, personally) on the rack 10 minutes before you’re ready to cook.
  2. Prepare meat.
  3. Put the burgers on under the broiler and cook, undisturbed, until they release easily, 3-5 minutes. Turn and cook the other side the same way, topping with cheese if you’re using it. Check for doneness frequently by taking a peek with a sharp knife or using a thermometer if the burger is more than 1 inch thick. For medium-rare, figure about 3 more minutes (if they’re over an inch thick, you’ll need a little more time; if they’re under an inch, you’ll need a little less).

That’s it! These are so tasty!

If you need to adapt to make it FODMAP friendly, you might try sauteeing some onion and garlic in oil, and then adding a small amount of that oil to the ground lamb. I have no idea if that will work. I haven’t tried it, since I just opt to take a Beano for this.

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