How to Cook Lamb Chops for Gyros

by A.J. Andrews

You need a little creativity to cook gyros with lamb chops at home. Gyro meat, usually thinly sliced chicken, beef or lamb, is cooked using radiant heat from electric coils in a vertical rotisserie, the same type of heat given off by a grill. If you roll thinly pounded lamb chops into tight tubes, it simulates the way gyro meat is packed on a rotisserie's spit. Then you just have to grill the rolled lamb -- which is the same as using the rotisserie, except the heat emanates horizontally -- to get the same crisp, golden-brown texture that makes gyros special.

Preparing the Lamb Chops

Place several toothpicks in water and let them soak until you need them. Expect to use about 4 or 5 toothpicks per lamb chop.

Take the lamb chops out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so the fat and connective tissue warm up a bit. Trim any connective tissue from the outside of your boneless lamb chops and coat them with a thin layer of olive oil. If you have bone-in lamb chops, simply cut the bones out after the chops sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Place a lamb chop in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap on the work surface. Flatten the chop using the flat side of a meat mallet using quick, glancing blows until it measures about 1/4 inch thick or less. Repeat with the other lamb chops.

Coat the flattened lamb chops on both sides with a marinade. Most gyro marinades use equal parts olive oil and lemon juice as the base, dried herb and spices for flavoring and aroma and kosher salt and pepper for seasoning.

Place 1 flattened chop on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll the pounded chop into a tube using the plastic wrap to keep the meat compressed and tight, like how you use a bamboo mat to roll sushi.

Secure each piece of rolled lamb with a few toothpicks to keep the meat wound into a tight tube. Repeat with the rest of the lamb chops. Place the rolled chops in the refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour.

Grilling the Lamb Chops

Set the grill up so it cooks with indirect heat just before the lamb finishes marinating. If using charcoal, light the coals and place them on only one side of the tray. If using gas, light the burners on one side of the grill and leave the other side off. Close the lid and let the grill heat for about 15 minutes.

Place the rolled lamb on the cool side of the grill, or the side without the flame under it. Grill the rolled lamb for about 5 minutes, turning them over frequently so they cook evenly on all sides.

Move the lamb rolls to the direct-heat side of the grill and sear them just until the outside of the meat crisps, about 1 minute, turning frequently.

Take the lamb rolls off the grill and remove the toothpicks. Slice the lamb rolls into 1-inch-wide pieces and serve on pita bread with tzatziki, onions and tomatoes.

Sauteing the Lamb Chops

Take the lamb rolls out of the refrigerator. Heat a tablespoon or 2 of oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat.

Add the lamb rolls to the pan, turning or rolling them frequently so they sear evenly on all sides, about 3 minutes. Space the lamb rolls about 1 inch apart, working in batches if necessary.

Pour about 1/2 cup of water or stock in the saute pan and cover with a lid. Steam the lamb rolls for about 1 minute, then remove and transfer to the work surface.

Remove the toothpicks and slice the lamb into 1-inch-wide strips. Serve immediately with pita, tzatzitki, onions and tomatoes.


  • Thinly sliced lamb chops work best for pounding into gyro meat.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.

Photo Credits

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