Jimi’s Big Fat Greek Gyro Meal

Bread

At the Buford Hwy Farmers market, you can actually find Kontos Gyro Bread. You don’t want it very toasted, you want it soft and warm. You know those tortilla warmers you can get everywhere now? They work a treat in the microwave for a minute.

Otherwise, use lightly oiled (olive, of course) white or wheat flatbread (not pita) heated up as a stack in the oven on low (200f) or just microwave it for a minute. You can find it in the bakery section of Kroger and Publix.

Gyro Meat (easy version – 2 preparation options)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced or shredded
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp ground dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp ground dried thyme
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation – Stove

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then make a BIG pattie that is about the size of your frying pan. Don’t be a pussy, get your hands up in that shit and mix. If you have cuts on your hands, use rubber gloves. Pretend you’re the TSA, have fun.
  2. Get a big ass frying pan (12” or better) and heat 1 tsp of olive oil on Med-High. If you can flick water on the pan and it dances, it’s ready.
  3. Carefully lay the patty in the pan. The idea here is to have maximum surface area on the pan.
  4. LEAVE IT BE. Wait until that meat is dark BROWN, not grey.
  5. If you can, shimmy it loose and flip, otherwise grab a big-ass spatula and flip
  6. LEAVE IT BE and let it brown. If there are a lot of juices, soak them up with a paper towel, you want things crispy, not soggy.
  7. After you’re sure that it’s brown, turn the burner to Low then start breaking it all up so it looks like ground meat again. By the time you’re done doing that, the rest of the meat should be med well to well done. Get that pan off the heat and continue to break down BEFORE the meat is well done. Transfer meat to a heat-proof dish.
  8. Put the empty pan back on the burner and set to High. Is it smoking? good, throw a cup of cold water on that bitch and scrape the pan. Now you don’t have to scrub it. Fuck non-stick.

Preparation – Grill

Okay, so it’s hot as satan’s anus and you don’t want to turn your kitchen into a sauna. Follow step one from above and proceed below…

  1. Get some skewers, soak in water for a couple hours if they’re bamboo. Oil them if they are steel.
  2. Form the mixture into a ball for each skewer. Form each ball around the tip of a skewer, flattening down the length of the skewer into a ~2 inch oval; repeat with the remaining skewers.
  3. Place the kebabs onto a baking sheet, cover, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
  4. Clean and rub some high-heat (refined safflower, peanut) oil on an outdoor grill.
  5. Preheat on medium-high heat.
  6. Brush olive oil on the meat facing up, then place them facing oiled-side down on grill. When they are all on the grill, brush oil onto the meat side facing up.
  7. Cook the meat until dark brown and flip once and cook until the lamb has cooked to your desired degree of doneness.
  8. Take off the grill and allow to rest for at least 5min.
  9. Slide off the skewers and break up the meat.

Tzatziki (Cucumber Yogurt Dip)

Makes about 3-4 cups

Ingredients

  • Two 1-pound containers plain yogurt
    • (1 container if Greek yogurt, I use Cabot or Fage, none of that low-fat shit, either)
  • 2 cucumbers, partially peeled (or 1 hot-house cucumber)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (again, no fat-free shit)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, crushed/mashed (this will make you strong, like bull)
    • I use a microplane for this, and many other things
  • 1 teaspoon good-quality white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. (If you FAILboat the greek yogurt step…) Line a colander with paper towels and set it over a large bowl. Add the yogurt to the colander and let drain, covered and chilled, about 4 hours or as much as 8.
  2. Grate/shred the cucumbers (don’t include the seeds, they fuck it up) and squeeze between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Add to a bowl along with the yogurt and sour cream. A julienne peeler pretty much pays for itself on a job like this.
  3. On a cutting board, sprinkle a lot of salt over the garlic, and mash with a fork until smooth like a paste. Transfer to the yogurt mixture.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and sugar, and whisk until the sugar is mostly dissolved, and add to the yogurt mixture.
  5. Stir the mixture and gradually pour in the oil, stirring to combine. Season with salt.

Greek Avocado Salad

(I like to put this shit right on there, but it can be served as a side dish)

Ingredients

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • olive oil (do I even need to say Extra Virgin?)
  • salt
  • dick dill weed
  • lemon

Preparation

  • Quarter the avocados lengthwise and pull apart. Peel the skin off each quarter (if this doesn’t happen easily, that shit ain’t ripe–don’t use it. Also, don’t use if they are mush, we’re not making guacamole here.)
  • Cut the avocados into ¾-1” chunks and toss in a bowl with enough lemon juice to coat
  • Drizzle enough olive oil to coat and toss some more.
  • Once the liquids are in, sprinkle (what swishy word) salt and dill weed and toss that salad again. Be gentle, the avocados don’t like it rough.
  • TASTE IT. Does it need more salt? More lemon? It should be rich, unctuous and have a slight tang to it.
    • I adjust this recipe every time, avocados change flavor throughout their ripe cycle (which lasts about 3 days, until they go tits-up).

Assemblage

Okay, so what else goes on there? I usually have some of the below.

  • Feta cheese (try Vigo at Publix, it is the shit! Bulgarian feta is milder/creamier than Greek)
  • Red onions – sliced thin
  • Tomato – sliced thin
  • Green or red leaf lettuce – chiffonade
  • And then of course the z-sauce and meat

Notes & Recommendations…

  • Oil: If the olive oil you have isn’t good enough to sip off a spoon, throw it out (or just use it for frying). Most olive oils are blended with other oils or really old oils. Many from Italy are “cut/stepped on” because the Mob are cunts and put their hands into everything there. Try oil from Spain (Garcia de la Cruz, Ybarra or Borges), and thank me later. California Olive Ranch is shockingly good and reasonably priced. They actually put their harvest date on the bottle and they do NOT blend harvests. Currently, Spain and US are the only countries with stringent standards.
  • Salt: I use something called Real Salt, it’s found at farmers/upscale grocers/Amazon. It’s unrefined and has other minerals that add complexity to it. Yes, salt can actually taste like something more than just salt.
  • Peppercorn Medley: Another staple, and has become much more available recently. Again, it’s an added layer of subtle complexity. It should be fresh enough to crush between your fingers.
  • Meat: 99% of the time, it gets flipped ONCE. Francis Mallmann once said “respect the fall”. Lay it down and don’t touch it until it’s completely seared.
  • Herbs/Spices: typically you half the amount of fresh to dried. So 2T of fresh oregano would be 1T dried. Dried ingredients need at least 20-30min of resting time to rehydrate and reach full potential.

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