Chicken Gyro

120/18: Chicken Gyros

120/18 – Chicken Gyros:

Number three in my series of recipes developed for Angus & Oink and this is one I have really been looking forward to cooking – Chicken Gyros.

What is a Gyro?

Years ago, before we had kids we went island hopping a few times around Greece and visited loads of island including some I had never heard of before. On the first trip I remember walking up a little street and smelling some fantastic food. As we got closer there was meat on a spit and the sign said they were selling gyros for some ridiculously low price. Intrigued, we tried one each and fell in love with gyros from that point! 

A gyro is meat cooked on a spit, usually pork but can be chicken also. Usually most places have pork spits cooking but in a busy location or at weekends you tend to see chicken too. The meat is cooked slowly on a vertical spit then trimmed off thinly as it cooks. This meat is placed into an oiled and grilled pita bread (these are more like flatbreads, nothing like the pita bread we get in the supermarket) along with tzatziki, onion, tomatoes and chips.

Here is one I ate on our recent trip to Crete:

chicken gyro

How much for this bundle of taste? Three euros! What a bargain.

The shop had pork gyros available most days but at the weekend when it was busy and catering more for locals they had chicken gyros on. I have eaten mainly pork gyros over the years but my goodness the chicken gyro is incredible. Not sure why it’s so different but there is a flavour explosion in there, it’s definitely saltier than the pork but in a good way. The combination of flavours and the grilled meat works well. It was a chicken gyro I wanted to recreate and I managed to get a few tips from the guys in the grill house whilst I was out there. After three weeks in the resort and eating most of my lunches they were used to seeing me and were happy to help me out.

Here are the other two recipes developed so far for Angus & Oink:

090/18: Piri Piri Chicken Burger

087/18: Tuna Burger in Rice Buns

The Meat:

Four packs of chicken thighs from Gartmorn Farm. I mainly cook only with chicken from these guys these days as it’s some of the highest quality and best tasting chicken I have eaten to date. Quite hard to get quality chicken thighs off the bone but Gartmorn sell it that way which is handy. 585g per pack at £6.73 so total cost was £26.92 but that is 2.3kg of premium quality meat. Cheaper than comparable quality beef or lamb and you wouldn’t expect to lose much weight off it during the cook.

Chicken Gyro

The Prep:

Two lemons sliced and juiced then put in a bowl with 600g of Greek Yoghurt.

Chicken Gyro

Some Greek oregano on top, about a tablespoon. I got this from Amazon:

Chicken Gyro

Added to the mix was 100g of Angus & Oink Big Phat Greek seasoning. (4% of the chicken weight)

angus and oink big phat greek

The rub contains salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic, dill, parsley, celery salt, lemon powder, onion, red bell pepper, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, rosemary, citric acid, marjoram and cinnamon. 

Chicken Gyro

Mixed thoroughly.

Chicken Gyro

The chicken comes with skin on so I pulled it off. Look at the colour of the meat, glorious!

Chicken Gyro

Rather than put this in a bowl I made a bag with my foodsaver, put the chicken in then topped it up with the marinade mixture.

Chicken Gyro

The bag was sealed then I spent a couple of minutes moving the meat around and mixing the marinade into every surface of the chicken. The bag went into the fridge for 24 hours.

Chicken Gyro

I also made tzatziki by shredding a cucumber and putting it in a bowl with 600g Greek yoghurt, two minced garlic cloves, juice of two lemons, a good portion of chopped dill, similar sized portion of chopped parsley, salt, pepper and some extra virgin olive oil. This was covered and left in the fridge for 24 hours so the flavours developed together.

On the day of the cook I made some dough for the Greek pittas.  400g strong bread flour, 18g dried yeast, 1 tablespoon salt, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 175 ml milk and 115 ml lukewarm water. All the dried ingredients are added to a bowl and mixed slowly before the wet ingredients are added (add the yeast to the wet ingredients).

Chicken Gyro

I tipped the chicken out of the bag and into a tray. 

Chicken Gyro

I slowly threaded the chicken onto the Weber rotisserie. Prongs at the bottom, chicken over the central spike and slotted onto the side prongs. Once half the chicken was done I slotted the rest over the central prong then attached the other skewers and pushed the chicken up into those prongs before bringing both sides together.

Chicken Gyro

I had filled a chimney starter with Oxford Charcoal Oak Lumpwood and once fully lit I poured it into charcoal baskets set to each side of the kettle so the rotisserie could run through the middle to cook indirectly. A chunk of apple smoking wood from Smokewood Shack was added to each side.

Chicken Gyro

Whilst the chicken was cooking I prepared the chips. Get some potatoes that are good for chips like Maris Piper, King Edward or Russet. I sliced them, par boiled them then drained them and left them to one side. Next I made rosemary salt to season the chips but finely chopping rosemary leaves, adding Maldon sea salt then bashing it to a fine dust with a pestle and mortar.

50 minutes in the chicken was taking on a great colour. Internal temperature according to the Meater probe was around 60C so it needed a bit more cooking yet.

Chicken Gyro

Another 15 minutes and the chicken was around 70c in most places on the Thermapen. The colours really were looking awesome now and I was looking forward to the charred bits. Chicken Gyro

Whilst the chicken was cooking I had been cooking the Greek pittas in a skillet on the Thuros T1. Shaped as round as possible by hand then lightly scored (stops it puffing up when cooking but also helps roll it round later).

Chicken Gyro

The Lodge cast iron pan was nice and hot, I brushed it lightly with rapeseed oil then put the bread in then pan.

Chicken Gyro

After a few minutes I oiled the other side and flipped it over. Key trick I learnt with the bread, once its cooked put it in a freezer bag. The heat generates a bit of steam in the bag which helps to keep the bread soft and that makes it easy to roll them. Using this method the leftover bread stayed soft for a couple of days.

Chicken Gyro

The Thuros did a sterling job with the bread. Only used a small bit of space and two fistfuls of charcoal to cook all the bread.  Chicken Gyro

As the outside of the meat was ready I carefully sliced off the outside edge as thinly as possible. I used a sharp kitchen knife from Nisbets for this – only £16.99 but sharp as a razor.

Victorinox Fibrox Kitchen Knife 15cm

These bits were ready to eat.

Chicken Gyro

Outside edge sliced, rotisserie back on the grill. Chicken Gyro

Time to Plate Up:

Pitta bread, generous spread of tzatziki, sliced onion and sliced tomatoes.  Chicken Gyro

Add some meat on top.

Chicken Gyro

Followed by the chips and a sprinkling of the Greek oregano. Time to roll it up.

Chicken Gyro

Time to Eat:

The bread rolled up easily as it was so soft. We kept the filling light on the first one as we wanted to make sure we could actually roll it and contain the contents!

Chicken Gyro

After the first batch got eaten I sliced off the rest of the chicken, there was loads of it.

Chicken Gyro

Round two required a larger amount of filling in the bread.

Chicken Gyro

Awesome!

Chicken Gyro

SUMMARY:

As I said at the start we have eaten a lot of gyros over the years and I was really hoping we could get something close to the taste of what we have eaten on our travels. When I had the first bite of this it blew me away because it tasted exactly the same as the chicken gyros we ate in Crete this summer and maybe even a little bit better!

The chicken was awesome, really, really tasty. Very tender and the marinade had worked well to carry the flavours to every slice of the meat. The Big Phat Greek rub from Angus & Oink was spot on as it had all the flavours of the Greek grill house inside. The rosemary salt on the chips was fantastic, such a great flavour. Will use this on chips and potatoes in future I think.

On previous cooks it’s been very difficult to get soft breads but these were awesome. We brought some breads back from Greece to use in case I couldn’t get mine right but without sounding big headed mine tasted better.

Cook Difficulty: 3/5 
Cook Duration: Medium: 2/5
Cook Equipment: Weber Kettle and Thuros T1
Cook Method: Rotisserie / Cast Iron Pan
Charcoal: Oxford Charcoal Oak
Smoking Wood: Apple
Cook temperature: 250c 
Cook time: About an hour
Internal temperature: 70c (Thermapen)
Notes: Wouldn’t really change much.

The Big Phat Greek rub from Angus & Oink is £6 for 100g. You can buy it by clicking the picture below:

angus and oink big phat greek

 

CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA:


SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG VIA EMAIL

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Back to the Home Page

 

6 thoughts on “120/18: Chicken Gyros

  1. First of all, I’m an avid follower!
    We already planned to make our own souvlaki\gyros today and also making bread for the first time. Your recipe for the bread has 1 tablespoon of salt, is that right? Seems like a lot.

    Cheers

    1. Hi Tony, thanks for the feedback. Appreciate it 👍
      It is a tablespoon of salt. Sounds a lot but it didn’t taste too salty.
      Good luck with the cook, tag me!

    1. Thanks Gareth, been wanting to recreate this for ages! Good luck cooking yours, tag me when you post the pictures.

  2. Grilling a vertical spit of stacked meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks was developed in Bursa by Turks in the 19th century called doner kebap, shawarma, and Mexican tacos al pastor, introduced in communist Nea Ionia by refugees from Anatolia during the civil war. Most American “Greek” Gyro is shred by a blender (to keep from destroying the sinews the way meat grinders cross cutting) then the meat is filtered under steam pressure to remove debris dangerous to your dental work.

    1. Hi Gyromenos, that’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing this, always good to learn more about the history and origins of dishes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *