Oh, we’re bringing it back the way Peter Gamoulakos, the creator of the Halifax Donair originally sold it. The Hali Gyro with Halifax Donair Spiced Beef or Lamb sliced thinly and marinated like a Doner instead of using Ground Beef. Served with Tzatziki instead of Donair Sauce and the same Vegetables used in a Greek Salad stuffed into Steamed Pita Bread with some Cheese.
I’m not sure if that is how Peter Gamoulakos made them. I do know that he originally sold Lamb Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce, and this was later changed to Donair Spiced Ground Beef & Donair Sauce. Along with adjustments to the seasoning, which became known as the Halifax Donair.
Taking from how most regions prepare Gyros and the same seasoning that is now the Halifax Donair Spice and knowing that he served it with Tzatziki. This is my interpretation of what Peter Gamoulkas might have originally offered to Halifax. While I’m sure he just wrapped it up in Greek Pita Bread and then Tinfoil to peel back and eat like an ice cream. This version stuffs everything into a Steamed Pita Pocket.
What is a Hali Gyro
A Hali Gyro is a Canadian Gyro / Doner recipe, with a hat tip to the original creator of the Halifax Donairs (Peter Gamoulakos) and how he might have originally intended with his Gyros before creating the Famous Halifax Donair recipe. Made with the same Halifax Donair Spice that has a dominant Onion & Garlic Flavor with some good Heat. Using thinly sliced Lamb or Beef, just the same for Gyros or a Doner Kebab, instead of using Ground Beef for Halifax Donairs. Instead of stacking the meat on a Doner Machine, the meat is fried in a skillet. The Hali Gyro can also be made with Pork or Chicken too.
The Halifax Gyro is served with Tzatziki and optionally Red Greek Sauce with an assortment of Vegetables. I like to think he used the same Vegetables that are used in a Greek Salad (Tomatoes, Onions, Cucumbers and Peppers). Although it could have been just diced Onions & Tomatoes, the same as a Halifax Donair.
I also like the addition of Lettuce & crumbled Feta Cheese. Provolone Cheese is wonderful too, or the Mozza & Provolone Cheese Mix. Build it anyway you want, the important part is that wonderfully Spiced Hali Doner Meat with Sauce, Vegetables & Cheese.
Steamed Pita Bread stuffed with Greek Salad Vegetables, Lettuce, Tzatziki Sauce with Red Greek Sauce, Halifax Doner meat and Feta Cheese.
Hali Gyro Ingredients
- Steamed Pita Bread – opened up 40 % along the edge and separated to create a pocket
- Hali Doner Meat
- Thinly sliced or diced meat marinated with Halifax Donair Spice, light tasting EVOO or Neutral Oil & Water or Milk for tougher cuts of meat. Optionally, with a Tbl of Sweet Pimento Paste or Hot Pimento Paste for a Spicier version.
- Tzatziki Sauce, optionally Red Greek Sauce
- Feta Cheese, 3:1 shredded Mozzarella to Provolone Cheese, Sliced Provolone.
Hali Gyro Meat
The same Halifax Donair Spice and marinade can be used across different meats using Beef, Lamb, Pork, or Chicken. For Beef or Lamb, slice the meat thinly across the grain. The thinner you slice the meat, the fuller the wrap is going to be. With Chicken or Pork, dice the meat, much like a Shawarma.
Beef Hali Gyro
Either thinly sliced Beef Steak or Lamb. This one was made with just Tzatziki, Romaine Lettuce and sliced Provolone Cheese.
Pork Hali Gyro
Thinly sliced or diced Pork. With Lettuce, Onion, Tomatoes, and Tzatziki.
Chicken Hali Gyro
Diced Chicken Breast with Tzatziki, Romaine Lettuce, Onion, Cucumber, Yellow Bell Peppers, Tomatoes.
Hali Gyro Seasoning
This is what makes this a Hali Gyro. Good Old Halifax Donair Spice is used to season the meat. The meat comes out dominantly flavored with Onion & Garlic, with some Heat. It’s so Deliciously Greasy Good.
Donair Spiced Meat
Add 3 level Tbl of Halifax Donair Spice to every 1 lb of meat and mix well. Or use the Standard Donair Spice below for every 1 lb of meat.
Standard Donair Seasoning
The Standard Seasoning for a Donair Spice is about 1 tsp each of the below ingredients per 1 lb. of Beef. Except for Cayenne Pepper, which is 1/8 tsp and upwards.
Some only use 1/2 tsp Garlic & Onion per 1 lb. of Beef. You can start with 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Onion & Garlic, and 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper and then up it based on your preference. Some use Italian Seasoning or Za’atar in place of Oregano or alongside Oregano. A lot of MSG is always added in restaurant versions, with a reduction in Salt to account for the Salt in MSG.
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
Hali Doner Marinade
Add the Halifax Donair Spice to the meat and mix well. Let this marinate for an hour or so to get the flavors into the meat more. Then add a light tasting Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Sunflower Oil or other Neutral Oils & Water or Milk if you want the meat more tender. Especially good for tougher cuts of meat.
You can just add the Donair Spice and mix well, then add the Oil and Water right after to marinate. I just prefer to let the meat soak in the flavor from the Donair Spice first, before adding in the liquids.
The Hali Doner Marinade with Beef is also used for the Hali Cheesesteak.
Hali Doner Marinade
- 1 lb Sliced or Diced Meat
- 3 Tbl Halifax Donair Spice
- 1/2 C Oil
- 1/2 C Water or Milk
- 1 Tbl Pimento Paste – optional
Sweet Pimento Paste can be added in and is a really nice addition for Flavor and Color. Either Sweet or Hot Pimento Paste for an even spicier Doner meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Steam the Pita Bread and open along the edge about 40%. Carefully separate to create a Pocket. It only needs a few seconds to soften.
Steamed Pita Bread
Heat a steamer up with 1 Cup of water and steam the Pita bread just for a few seconds until soft.
Open the Freshly Steamed Pita Bread along the edge about 40% and gently open to create the Pocket.
Use a Steamer Cookware set that will allow you to steam the Pita Bread and then Cook the meat in the bottom pan. Once the Pita Breads are steamed and opened up. Empty the water out and use the hot pan to start cooking the meat.
Steamer Cookware Set
Place 1 Cup of water into the bottom pan over max heat and steam the Pita bread until soft. Just a few seconds. Use tongs to grab the Pita bread and transfer to a plate.
Hali Gyro Vegetables
Stuff the Pitas Bread with Lettuce and then add in your choice of Vegetables, or toss all the Vegetables together and stuff the Pitas. This recipe uses the same Vegetables that are served in a Greek Salad. You can also go the Halifax Donair route and just add in Diced Onions & Tomatoes.
- Bell Pepper
Hali Gyro Cheese
Crumbled Feta Cheese is very nice. So is a 3:1 blend of shredded Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese or just sliced Provolone Cheese.
If using the Mozza & Provolone or Sliced Provolone Cheese, these can be placed on the meat after it has just finished cooking and covered to melt the cheese. Then the Hali Doner Meat can be scooped into the Pita Bread. Or you can just place on the Hot Hali Doner Meat and roll. The residual heat from the meat will assist in melting the cheese a bit.
Crumble some Feta cheese over the meat.
Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese
Combine 3 parts of shredded Mozzarella Cheese and 1 part shredded Provolone Cheese.
Sliced Provolone Cheese
Slice the Provolone Cheese slices in half to top the Hali Gyro Wraps.
Hali Gyro Sauce
The main sauce is Tzatziki Sauce that is spread on the top flap and only the top flap. This is because the Tzatziki will soften the Pita Bread quite a bit. So you want to be able to fold and tuck this in to include as part of the filling, while the outside of the Pita wrap stays firm for eating.
Spread the desired amount on the Top inside flap that will be tucked over the filling and rolled.
Drizzle the desired amount of the vegetables or Meat.
Just the use of Mild Mayo Sauce, no Tzatziki or Red Greek Sauce. Excellent on Chicken or Pork.
Can you Freeze Gyro Meat
Absolutely, and it’s extremely easy and perhaps more convenient since you can make large batches up. Portion out the marinated meat into Ziploc bags and freeze. Remove from the Freezer the night before to place in the refrigerator and pick up where you left off when it comes time to cook it.
The best part is that the meat can be used to make this recipe for Hali Gyros or for other dishes that contain cooked Donair Meat, for many dishes using the Hali Doner Meat, including the Hali Cheesesteaks.
This is a quick meal too once the meat is marinated. Since it only takes about a few seconds to steam the Pita Bread and 8–10 minutes to cook the meat. Make a bunch of 1 lb portions and freeze them in Ziploc bags. Take out the night before and place in the refrigerator to thaw overnight, and have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.
Hali Doner Gyro
For the Hali Doner Gyro, use thinly sliced Beef with the Hali Doner Marinade, Lettuce with diced Onions & Tomatoes with 3:1 Mozza & Provolone Cheese blend and Donair Sauce.
Sprinkle the Cheese on the meat just as it finishes cooking and cover to melt the cheese. Transfer to the Pita Bread and top with Donair Sauce, Diced Onions & Tomatoes and Lettuce.
- 1 Marinating Bowl with Cover
- 1 Steamer Set
- 1 Pair of Tongs
- 1 lb. Beef or Lamb - Thinly sliced, can use diced Chicken or Pork
- 3 Tbl Halifax Donair Spice - Leveled Tablespoons or the standard donair seasoning in the notes per 1 lb of meat
- 1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Light tasting or Neutral oil
- 1/2 C Water - or Milk for tougher cuts
- 1 Tbl Pimento Paste - optional – Sweet or Hot for really Spicy
- A Handful Lettuce - per wrap
- 1/4 C Cucumber - Diced
- 1/4 C Onion - Diced
- 1/4 C Bell Pepper - Diced
- 1/4 C Tomatoes - Diced
- Choice of Cheese - see notes
- As Desired Tzatziki Sauce - Prepared in advance
- As Desired Red Greek Sauce - optional, prepared in advance
- Place into a Marinating Bowl 1 lb. of thinly sliced or diced meat with 3 leveled Tbl of Halifax Donair Spice. Mix really well. Optionally, refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the spices to get in and flavor the meat.
- Add in Oil & Water or whole Milk for tougher cuts of meat and mix well. Optionally, add the Sweet Pimento paste. Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least a few hours until all the liquids are mostly or fully absorbed.Prepare any vegetables and sauces you will want for the Hali Gyros.
- Heat the steamer up over max heat with 1 cup of water. Steam the Pita Breads just until soft and open them up about 40% along the edge. Carefully separating to create a pocket.
- Empty the water out and use the bottom pan to fry the meat. Turn the heat down to medium high and add the meat, spreading it out. Leave for 2 minutes. Give it another stir and leave again for another 2 minutes. Then continue to cook, mixing every so often, for a total cook time of 8–10 minutes. All the liquids should have evaporated and just the fat left behind.If adding in shredded cheese or provolone cheese, you can place the cheese on the meat and cover to melt and then transfer to the pitas.
- Assemble the Hali Gyro;Steamed Pita Bread top flap folded backPlace Vegetables in the middleSlather the desired amount of Tzatziki Sauce on the Top inside FlapOptionally Drizzle Red Greek Sauce over the Vegetables or the MeatPlace 1/4 lb of Gyro Meat on topAdd Cheese on top of the meatFold over the Top flap and tuck the filling in to fill the pocket. Roll tight and serve, or slice the Hali Gyro in half and serve. If serving at a later time, wrap the Gyro in wax paper or tin foil and set aside until ready to serve. If saving leftovers, wrap in waxed paper or tin foil to keep the wrap soft and fresh.
Standard Donair SpiceUse about 1 tsp of the following per 1 lb of thinly sliced steak. Except for Cayenne Pepper, which can start at 1/8 tsp and up based on heat preference. Some only use 1/2 tsp Garlic & Onion per 1 lb. of Beef. You can start with 1/2 tsp Black Pepper, Onion & Garlic, and 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper and then up it based on your preference.
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
Types of Cheese
- Use crumbled or diced Feta Cheese
- A 3:1 shredded Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese blend.
- Sliced Provolone Cheese Halves
Hali Doner GyroFor the Hali Doner Gyro use thinly sliced Beef with the Hali Doner Marinade, Lettuce with diced Onions & Tomatoes with 3:1 Mozza & Provolone Cheese blend and Donair Sauce. Sprinkle the Cheese on the meat just as it finishes cooking and cover to melt the cheese. Transfer to the Pita Bread and top with Donair Sauce, Diced Onions & Tomatoes and Lettuce.
- Taco BurritosTry Taco Burritos for your next Taco Tuesday Meal. Stuffed with Refried Beans, Mexican Rice, Red Taco Sauce, Beef, Sour Cream and Cheese. Rolled up and toasted in a pan or grilled crispy. You can add in or omit any Burrito fillings to customize your…
- Chicken Broccoli CasseroleThis is an incredibly comforting Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Casserole. Made with diced Chicken Breast, Broccoli florets and Rice, enveloped by a Flavorful Creamy Sauce, and topped with melted Cheddar or Velveeta Cheese, making every mouthful an absolute delight. Chicken Broccoli Casserole Ingredients Made with Chicken…
- Cream of Mushroom Pork ChopsCream of Mushroom Pork Chops is a simple and comforting dish with fork tender meat and a succulent savory Mushroom Gravy. This recipe is oven braised Pork Chops, with an unthickened Mushroom Gravy used to braise and thickened right before serving. Although there are different…