The Cooking Rule You'll Need To Break For The Absolute Best Gyro Burgers

Lamb burger with olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes
Lamb burger with olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes - Lauri Patterson/Getty Images

When it comes to making the perfect burger, there are a few rules that are consistently on our minds: Opt for the right amount of fat in the beef, season at the appropriate times, and most importantly, don't overwork your patty. Over-mixing the meat can result in beef that's too tough. For gyro burgers, however, the forbidden technique is exactly what it needs.

Meaning "to turn," gyros are a Greek street food staple that took off in the U.S. during the 1970s and has since maintained a strong fanbase. Made with juicy meat and bright, tangy flavors, the dish has evolved into an Americanized version, known as the gyro burger. The offshoot maintains the dense, crisp texture of its parent dish, which can only be chalked up to the "overworking" of the meat. While pureeing ground meat makes typical burgers too stiff, it works wonders for its Greek counterpart.

Pureeing or blending the meat results in a tighter, compact burger that reflects the iconic dish's thinly sliced texture that won't fall apart on the grill. Either ground lamb or beef works, but a 50-50 mix of both captures the delicious flavor you'll get from a Greek restaurant. Combine them in a food processor, form the patties, and grill them for about seven minutes on each side.

Read more: 13 Underrated Cuts Of Meat You Should Be Grilling

Season Your Gyro Burgers With Bold Flavors

Lamb burger and fries
Lamb burger and fries - Milanchikov Sergey/Shutterstock

To mirror the flavor of authentic gyros, go for spices and herbs on the earthy, woodsy side. The lamb-beef combo is often brimming with cumin, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and minced garlic. Crush the herbs finely before mixing them into the meat and don't be afraid to work the patties extra hard as you do — this only enhances that classic gyro texture.

Once the burgers have been grilled, put the patties into some warmed pitas and dress them up with a few essential Greek ingredients. Give them a briny bite with slices of pickled red onions or a few Kalamata olives. If you prefer a fresh, simple taste, add in some diced cucumber and tomatoes. For a creamy element, swipe on a dollop of plain yogurt or classic tzatziki sauce.

If you haven't filled up on the burgers already, serve them with a few Greek-inspired sides. Canned dolmas are a great shortcut if you don't have time to make them from scratch, but a cucumber or watermelon salad with feta also comes together quickly to accompany gyro burgers. For a heftier meal, plate them with roasted beets or Greek lemon potatoes, instead.

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