These turkey gyros combine two of my favourite things in one: a restaurant copycat recipe, and the BBQ. Seriously, nothing makes me happier than replicating our favourite restaurant foods at home. Between the sports schedule of three kids, and the budget we’re trying to stick to, restaurant meals are a luxury. This is why I love perfecting them at home.
The other bonus to my turkey gyros is the TURKEY. It’s honestly my go-to meat because it’s low in fat and cholesterol, and high in all kinds of essential nutrients. I exclusively use it in my parmigiana recipes, and whenever I make meatballs or pasta sauces. Turkey’s great at taking on the flavours of whatever seasonings I’m using – which made it perfect for these gyros!
I couldn’t have been more excited to partner with Turkey Farmers of Ontario to bring you this recipe. They’ve got tons more ideas and inspiration here at MakesItSuper.ca. Because I know you all may be thinking “How the heck is she going to make gyros at home? They have those giant spits at the restaurants!” – Don’t you worry! I’m breaking it down step by step, and I’ve got cheats in the recipe notes incase you don’t have a BBQ rotisserie, or a food processor. Everyone can make this – and it is SUPER EASY!
Turkey Gyros Step-By-Step
Step 1 – Make your mix
We’re prepping this dinner the night before we want to cook it. You need the meat to firm up in the fridge so it will stay on the rotisserie for you. All we need is our delicious Ontario Turkey, garlic, onion, and a quick spice mix made up of marjoram, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Throw your onion and garlic into the bowl of your food processor. Give it a good spin until it’s finely chopped. You’ll probably have to scrap down the sides once. Don’t worry if you don’t have a food processor – I’ve got alternate instructions in the recipe card!
Now, just put your ground turkey in, along with the spice mixture. Give it a good mix until it forms a paste. Yes, I know that sounds gross, but it’s how you get the same texture as the restaurants.
Here’s what it’ll look like when you’re good to go. “Mmmmmm, meat paste” – said no one ever. Stay with me though…
Turkey Gyros Step-By-Step
Step 2 – That’s a wrap
Lay a long piece of plastic wrap out nice and flat. Scrap out the turkey mixture onto the wrap, and shape it into a log.
Roll it up and and twist the ends, then repeat with a second piece of plastic wrap. Now the fun part comes. I’m the lucky sort that always has help running in from the backyard…
Grab each of the ends, and use your hands to flip the meat around a bunch of times to tighten it up, like you’re turning both ends of a skipping rope. Oliver loves helping out with this part. Actually, he helped me make the whole dinner this time! See, so easy an 8 (almost 9) year old can make it!
There’s the finished meat log. I couldn’t think of a better name for it, lol. You can see how spinning it like a skipping rope helped to tighten everything up. Now just pop it in the fridge overnight. If you’re really tight on time you can just pop it in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, but the flavour will be better if you can do the fridge overnight.
Turkey Gyros Step-By-Step
Step 3 – Just grill it
Preheat your BBQ for 10 minutes, then slip your Ontario Turkey mixture onto the rotisserie rod. I still use the prongs to make sure the meat doesn’t start to slip at all. I put a small foil pan underneath the meat, and turn all the bottom burners, and the rotisserie burner, on high. Close the lid and leave it for 15 minutes.
Here’s the turkey gyros after 15 minutes. At this point turn any burners directly under the meat to low, and the burners on either side to medium. The rotisserie burner at the back should also be turned to medium if you can adjust the heat. Close the lid, and leave it for another 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, check the temperature in the middle of the meat (but make sure you aren’t touching the metal rod, because that will give you a false reading). As soon as the turkey gyros reach 165ºF, take it off the spit and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Use a very sharp knife to make thin slices, and serve with your favourite sides.
Our favourite way to eat Turkey Gyros
I love turkey gyros because its a dinner just MADE to be enjoyed outside on the back deck. Load up the patio table with as many toppings and salads as it’ll fit, and then just sit back and relax with the family. Tonight we had a greek salad with homemade dressing, greek style potatoes, and a tomato, cucumber, onion, and feta salad.
If you want to leave your BBQ on, you can quickly grill the pitas to warm them up. It just takes a couple of seconds on each side, and a quick flip with the tongs. I like to load my pitas up with lots (I mean LOTS) of tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes, turkey gyro meat, feta cheese, and some parsley.
Oh, and when you’re picking your slices of delicious Ontario Turkey Gyro? Those crispy bits from the outside are EVERYTHING! You can keep any leftovers you have in the fridge for up to four days. Here’s a great resource for storing cooked and raw turkey!
Turkey Gyros Recipe Time!
Alright, enough rambling on, I know. I hear you. You want the recipe! Let me know what your go-to ways to cook turkey are in the comments. I love getting new ideas for my favourite protein!
- 1 sweet onion
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 lbs ground Ontario Turkey
- 2 tsp dried marjoram
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp pepper
Common Gyro Toppings
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced onions
- Shredded lettuce
- Tzatziki sauce
- Pita bread
- Put the onions and garlic in the bowl of your food processor (see notes if you don't have a food processor for alternate directions). Pulse until finely chopped. Add the ground turkey, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper to the bowl of the food processor. Process until completely combined and it forms a paste. You may have to scrape the bowl down a few times with a spatula so it's all evenly incorporated.
- Lay out a long piece of plastic wrap, and shape the turkey mixture into a log about 15 inches long on top of it. Roll the plastic wrap up around it and twist the ends. Roll it up again in a second layer of plastic wrap. Take both ends of the plastic, and flip the turkey log between your hands like a skipping rope. This tightens the ends, in turn tightening up the meat to make it firmer. Place it in the fridge over night. If you're really tight on time, you can place it in the freezer for 15 minutes, but the flavour will not be as good.
- When you're ready to cook, preheat your BBQ on high for 10 minutes. Remove the turkey meat from the plastic wrap, and place it onto your rotisserie spit (if you do no have a rotisserie see the notes section for alternate cooking instructions). I also use the rotisserie prongs to help hold the meat in place, and stop it from slipping.
- Put the meat onto your BBQ rotisserie, with a small foil tray underneath to catch the drippings. Put all of the burners, including the rotisserie burner, on high. Close the lid and leave for 15 minutes.
- Turn the burners directly under the meat down to low. Turn the side burners (if you have them) down to medium, and the rotisserie burner down to medium as well (if you are able to adjust the temperature). Close the lid and leave it for 10 more minutes.
- Use an instant read thermometer to check the center of the meat. Be sure not to touch the metal rod because it will give you a false reading. As soon as the temperature reaches 165ºF, remove the meat from the BBQ and let rest at least 15 minutes before thinly slicing.
- Serve with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and any other of your favourite toppings (like onions, tomatoes, and feta cheese).
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A FOOD PROCESSOR:
Finely dice your onion and garlic. Mix together all ingredients by hand, and proceed with the recipe. The gyros will just have a slightly chewier texture, but will still be delicious!
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A ROTISSERIE ATTACHMENT ON YOUR GRILL:
Get a disposable aluminum loaf pan and spray it lightly with cooking spray. After mixing everything together, press the Turkey Gyro mixture into the loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge overnight.
Pre-heat one side of your grill on medium heat. Remove the plastic wrap and place the loaf pan on the opposite side of the grill, and cook on indirect heat for 60 minutes.
Remove the loaf from the pan, and continue cooking for another 45 minutes over indirect heat. Check the temperature after 20 minutes to be safe, removing the loaf as soon as it reaches 165ºF.
Let rest for at least 15 minutes before thinly slicing to serve.
Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and Turkey Farmers of Ontario and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.