Hali Gyro

Hali Gyro
Hali Gyro Header

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.

Halifax Gyro

Hali Gyro

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
  • Cheese
    • 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.

Open Beef Hali Gyro

Beef Hali Gyro

Either thinly sliced Beef Steak or Lamb. This one was made with just Tzatziki, Romaine Lettuce and sliced Provolone Cheese.

Donair Gyro

Hali Donair Gyro

Made with cooked Donair Meat thinly sliced and pan fried. With Tzatziki & Red Greek Sauce, Onions, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, and Feta Cheese.

Pork Halifax Gyro

Pork Hali Gyro

Thinly sliced or diced Pork. With Lettuce, Onion, Tomatoes, and Tzatziki.

Chicken Halifax Gyro

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.

First Marinade Donair Doner Marinade

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.

  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • 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.

Second Marinade Donair Doner Marinade

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
Ferma Sweet Pimento Paste

Pimento Paste

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.

Pita Bread

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

Steamed Pita Bread

Heat a steamer up with 1 Cup of water and steam the Pita bread just for a few seconds until soft.

Steamed Pita Pocket

Pita Pocket

Open the Freshly Steamed Pita Bread along the edge about 40% and gently open to create the Pocket.

Steamer Set

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.

MasterClass Stack & Steam

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.

Diced Greek Salad

Greek Salad Vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Pepper
  • Onions

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.

Feta Cheese

Feta Cheese

Crumble some Feta cheese over the meat.

Mozzarella and Provolone 3 to 1

Mozzarella & Provolone Cheese

Combine 3 parts of shredded Mozzarella Cheese and 1 part shredded Provolone Cheese.

Sliced Provolone

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.

Another sauce that can be added is the Red Greek Sauce. Drizzled over the Vegetables or Meat. The Mild Mayo Sauce alone without any Tzatziki is wonderful too. Fantastic with Chicken or Pork.

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

Spread the desired amount on the Top inside flap that will be tucked over the filling and rolled.

Red Greek Sauce with Pimento Paste

Red Greek Sauce

Drizzle the desired amount of the vegetables or Meat.

Mild Mayo Sauce

Mild Mayo Sauce

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.

Hali Gyro Pin

Hali Gyro

The Halifax Gyro in the same style, how I believe Peter Gamoulkas would have originally offered to Halifax. Made with thinly sliced marinated Beef or Lamb and spiced with Halifax Donair Spice. Stuffed inside a steamed Pita Bread with Sauce, an assortment of Vegetables and Cheese. Optionally, add some Red Greek Sauce.
Makes 4 decent size (1/4 lb) Gyros or 2 Large Gyros (1/2 lb).
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Marinate Time1 day
Servings: 4 1/4 lb Gyros

Equipment

  • 1 Marinating Bowl with Cover
  • 1 Steamer Set
  • 1 Pair of Tongs

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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 back
    Place Vegetables in the middle
    Slather the desired amount of Tzatziki Sauce on the Top inside Flap
    Optionally Drizzle Red Greek Sauce over the Vegetables or the Meat
    Place 1/4 lb of Gyro Meat on top
    Add Cheese on top of the meat
    Fold 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.

Notes

Standard Donair Spice

Use 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.
 
  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Paprika
  • 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 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.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian, Halifax, Halifax Nova Scotia, Maritimer
Keywords: Canadian Gyro, East Coast Gyro, Gyro, Hali Donair Gyro, Hali Doner Gyro, Hali Doner Kebab, Hali Gyro, Halifax Gyro, Haligonia Gyro, Haligonian Gyro, Maritime Gyro
Author: JAH
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