Even though I hit up my neighborhood gyro shop on a near-weekly basis, I’d like to try my hand at making a gyro in the comfort of my own home. However, the gyro meat hanging next to the sliced ham and turkey at my local grocery store doesn’t really even look like gyro, let alone taste like it. And while gyro meat appears to be available to buy online from massive retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon, that doesn’t exactly sit right.
So where can you buy some good gyro meat that actually resembles the real thing?
Seek Out Gyro Slices from the Deli
Chef and recipe creator Anna Silver says her go-to place to buy gyro meat is the online deli Shepherd Song Farm. They sell the gyro meat sliced, pre-cooked and frozen, which Silver says allows a much easier cooking process. “All you have to do is heat it up when it arrives,” she explains. “The meat is very well-packed, and they cook the meat with garlic, lemon and onion so it comes with so much flavor and freshness, even though it’s been frozen.”
Perhaps a credit to its freshness, Silver says the deli doesn’t deliver on a daily basis. “One thing to bear in mind is that you can only order the lamb gyro slices on certain days, and they have very specific shipping dates, too,” she continues. “So if you need the gyro for an event, check beforehand whether it will arrive in time.”
Look for the Gyro Loaf
According to Aysegul Sanford, cookbook author and purveyor of the food blog Foolproof Living, anyone buying gyro meat on its own should be wary of packaged gyro that comes pre-sliced. Being cut fresh off the spit is what gives gyro meat that authentic flavor, which is why it’s so hard to find anything that tastes like the real thing outside of your greasy gyro shop. “Pre-sliced gyros meat often results in a meal that doesn’t taste quite like the real thing,” she says, “partly because the meat dries quicker and doesn’t taste as fresh.”
However, that doesn’t mean you need to buy a giant cone of meat and rotate it over a fire at home for a tasty homemade gyro, either. Some stores, “such as the Stamoolis Brothers, which also has a physical shop in Pittsburgh,” Sanford says, offer fresh (uncooked) gyro meat in smaller “loaves.” Buying it as “a little loaf keeps it fresh, and allows you to slice it just before serving for the most authentic dining experience.”
Mine Your Local Greek or Turkish Market
And finally, Nano Crespo, the executive chef at The Drexel in Miami Beach, says to go directly to the source — relatively speaking at least. “The best places are Turkish and Greek markets in your neighborhoods, where you can find the perfect cuts or talk to the butcher who will guide you as to what the best cooking method is,” he tells me. “That will always be your best bet. We have our own exclusive blend of meats after years of trying and testing until we were finally able to pin down our perfect recipe.”