If you’ve ever eaten gyros at a street fair, you likely remember the meat is typically cooked on tall vertical spits and shaved off by workers—usually men—wielding serious-looking knives. You may think of these savory sandwiches as Greek, but their culinary cousins include Mexico’s tacos al pastor, the Middle East’s shawarma, and Turkey’s döner kebabs. Serve with the suggested tzatziki sauce, garlic mayonnaise, or tahini. Rice pilaf rounds out the meal. Leftovers are great the next day.

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  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground lamb or veal, or more ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons Traeger Souvlaki Rub, or 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pita bread or flat bread, preferably warmed, for serving
  • Tzatziki, for serving see (Note below)


Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cover a brick or a heavy can from the pantry with aluminum foil; set both the loaf pan and the brick aside.

Combine the garlic and onion in the bowl of a food processor and process until both are finely chopped. Scrape into a colander or mesh strainer and let drain for 15 minutes, pressing on the solids. Do not wash the food processor bowl.

To the food processor bowl, add the ground beef, lamb, Traeger Souvlaki Rub, oregano, marjoram, and cayenne. Return the drained onion-garlic mixture to the bowl and process until a paste forms. Press tightly into the prepared loaf pan. If desired, you can prepare the meat up to this point, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours or even overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 325 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Bake the gyro meat in a water bath—this keeps it from getting crusty on the bottom—until the meat is 165 degrees F, 60 to 75 minutes. Carefully remove from the water bath, drain and discard any accumulated fat, and set on a cooling rack. Put the foil-covered brick on top of the meat to compress it. After 15 to 20 minutes, remove the meat from the loaf pan and thinly slice with an electric knife or a sharp serrated knife. Build the gyros using the serving ingredients suggested above, finishing with tzatziki sauce.

Note: While you can usually buy tzatziki in the prepared foods section of your supermarket, it is easy to make at home: In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup Greek-style yogurt or sour cream, 2 small cucumbers, seeded and grated, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons minced fresh dill, 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and salt to taste.