This homemade traditional Greek pork gyros is the real deal and better than anything you can get at a restaurant. Brined, then marinated, and cooked on a vertical rotisserie in the oven, it would also be perfect for the grill. The crispy yet tender gyros is served with warm pita, tomatoestzatziki, fries, or anything you like, is a delicacy not to be missed.

If you love this Homemade traditional Greek Pork Gyro, you will also love these Pork Skewers With Yogurt Lemon Sauce, Chicken Skewers Orzo Bowls with Lemon or Bifteki-The Greek Burger!

A plate with sliced tomatoes and onions, olives, feta cheese cubes, pieces of greek gyro lemon wedges and pitas.

Why this recipe sings

It is a well-known fact I make souvlaki every time I feel homesick. It is also my most requested dish every time we have guests. I make versions with chicken and pork, wrapped in homemade pitas, and served with lots of veggies, sauces, and fries.

I was on a quest to make authentic traditional Greek pork gyro on a vertical rotisserie. Lacking the outdoor grill, I found a relatively small vertical rotisserie I could use in my oven. It took a few tries to perfect this recipe. Lots of cuts of meat went on that rotisserie, and Daryl had to sample my homemade gyros versions daily for a week. He was not complaining; he is, after all, my trusted recipe tester but let’s say he had had enough of my gyro escapades. I consulted my butcher for what cut would be perfect for traditional Greek pork gyros at home. We tried various combinations, and the perfect Greek gyros is finally here. It was a major win to perfect the tenderness of the salty, crispy meat that is such a popular delicious food back home in Greece.

A plate with sliced tomatoes and onions, olives, feta cheese cubes, pieces of gyro, lemon wedges and pitas.

What is gyro meat made of

Traditional Greek gyros is prepared mainly with pork or chicken on a vertical metal spit turning around its axis, cooking with the fire on one side. The cooked meat is cut vertically with a sharp knife into small pieces and wrapped in pita bread with sliced tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. We call it gyros pita. It is also served on a platter paired with the same ingredients.

Lebanese shawarma and Mexican tacos al pastor are all similar to gyros. All are descended from the Turkish döner kebab (from Turkish dönmek = I turn) created in the city of Bursa in the mid-19th century.

Doner kebab consists of lamb, beef, or chicken; however, a variation with pork prevailed in Greece. At first in Greece, the gyros were called doner (or doner kebab), but in the early 1970s, the Greek term “gyros” (from the Greek word γύρος gyros, ‘circle’ or ‘turn’) was adopted.

The Greek-American version of gyros is like doner kebab.

How to make pork gyros at home

To make a great traditional Greek gyro, the meat must be tender and not be too lean. The fat adds so much flavor and also gets crispy and delicious. A lean cut with no fat will produce a dry, tough gyro.

The best combination is pork shoulder cutlets with some sliced pork belly.

A pan with pork shoulder cutlets next to a pan with sliced pork belly.

All the meat is brined for 24 hours. Then it marinates for a good amount of time before getting on the skewer. This preparation seems long, but it is easy and worth it. Trust me!

Brine

This is what you need for the brine*:

Left, herbs and spices for gyros brine. Right, cutlets in a water brine with herbs and spices.

Fill a small saucepan with water.

Add the salt and sugar and simmer over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes until the sugar and salt have diluted. Fill a large container with water and mix in the sugar/salt mixture. Stir well. Add all the other brine ingredients. Stir and add the meat. Make sure it is covered fully with water. Place in the fridge and brine the meat, if possible, for 24 hours. It will result in very tender, juicy meat.

Marinade

This is what you need for the marinade*:

Spices on a plate a pan with pork marinating, and three small bowls with vinegar, honey, and olive oil.

The marinade intensifies the gyro’s taste and makes it very flavorful and aromatic. The longer you leave the meat in the marinade, the more it will absorb the seasonings. If you want to marinate meat quickly, use the vacuum-seal method. Get the right equipment; you can vacuum seal your meat and shorten the time you need to wait before cooking.

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Make sure the honey is well-fixed with everything. Rub marinade on the meat, place it in the fridge, and marinate for 3 hours or overnight.

How to make it

Raw pork cutlets on a vertical rotisserie with half a lemon on top, in a baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the vertical skewer on a baking sheet and stack the cutlets by piercing them in the middle. Cut the pork belly slices in half and place them in between the pork cutlets. Trim some fat from the pork belly if you feel it is too much. I concentrate on placing the more meaty parts of the pork belly slices on the skewer and trimming most of the fat. I leave just enough for crispiness and flavor. Otherwise, the gyros might be too fatty and rich.

Place on top half a lemon or half an onion—Cook in the oven for 1 hour and thirty minutes. Rotate the pan in the oven every half hour to cook evenly.

Let the gyro rest for 10-15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, slice/shave the gyros vertically to serve.

*Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Pork gyros on a vertical rotisserie with some pieces cut o the plate and half a lemon.

How to eat gyro

Serve gyro on a platter with a cut-up warm pita, sliced tomatoes, tzatziki, spicy whipped feta, olives, and lemon slices to squeeze for a bright note. Add a sprinkle of smoked paprika before serving.

You can also make gyros souvlaki. Brush a pita with a little olive oil and warm it on a cast iron or on a baking sheet in the oven. Place some gyro shavings in the middle of the pita. Add a generous tablespoon of sliced tomatoes, onions, and a tablespoon of tzatziki sauce. Check this souvlaki recipe for inspiration.

A plate with sliced tomatoes and onions, olives, feta cheese cubes, pieces of greek gyro lemon wedges and pitas.

Tips and tricks

  • Some grills have rotisserie; you can use it for cooking the gyro. Remember to set the rotisserie to rotate often to cook the gyro evenly.
  • You can improvise and make a vertical rotisserie of 3-4 wooden skewers. Stuck them on top of onion and lemon halves—stack the meat as directed in the recipe and cook. The skewers will work great with terrific results.
  • You can also substitute chicken for pork. Use skinless, boneless thighs and skip the brine; marinate the chicken for 3-4 hours or overnight. Cook for 45 minutes, then check every 15 minutes with a meat grilling thermometer if the chicken has reached 165°F and juices run clear. Be careful not to overcook. Cover with aluminum foil if the edges are crisping up too quickly.
A plate with sliced tomatoes and onions, olives, feta cheese cubes, pieces of greek gyro lemon wedges and pitas.

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A plate with sliced tomatoes and onions, olives, feta cheese cubes, pieces of greek gyro lemon wedges and pitas.

Homemade Traditional Greek Pork Gyros

by Jenny | The Greek Foodie
This homemade traditional Greek pork gyros is the real deal and better than anything you can get at a restaurant. Brined, then marinated, and cooked on a vertical rotisserie in the oven, it would also be perfect for the grill.
5 from 20 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Brine 1 day
Course Main
Cuisine Greek
Servings 8
Calories 749 kcal

Equipment

  • large baking pan
  • A vertical rotisserie
  • Rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients
  

The meat

  • 4 lbs pork shoulder cutlets
  • 1 lb pork belly thinly sliced

For the brine

  • ¼ cup sea salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 2-3 fresh herb sprigs Like sage and rosemary sprigs
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 4 garlic cloves crushed

For the marinade

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 tablespoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs roughly chopped, like fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage

For serving

  • smoked paprika optional
  • lemon slices optional

Instructions
 

Brine the pork

  • For the brine, place the sugar, salt, in a sauce pan with a cup of water. Simmer on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until sugar and salt have dissolved.
  • Fill a large container or pot with the sugar-salt mixture and water. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, cloves, garlic, and herbs. Stir well. Place the pork in the brine. Make sure it is fully immersed and cover with water. Chill overnight.

Marinate

  • Remove the meat add dry the pieces well with a paper towel.
  • In a bowl, mix ½ cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon dry oregano, 1 tablespoon sumac, 2 teaspoons sea salt, roughly chopped, like fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage and some freshly ground pepper.
  • Place meat pieces in a pan and pour the marinade all over. Rub pieces with marinade. Let pork belly sit for 3 hours or overnight.

Roast

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Pierce the pork pieces on the vertical rotisserie. Add the pork belly slices between the cutlets.
    Add half a lemon on top or half an onion. Place meat on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Turn pork around every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking.

Notes

Alternative cooking method
You can bake the gyro inside parchment paper, like kleftiko.
Use regular wooden skewers to pierce the pork cutlets and pork belly slices. Wrap gyro in parchment paper, secure it tightly with some twine and bake for one hour. Tear the parchment and place gyro on a rimmed baking sheet to finish cooking. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the gyro every 10 minutes to become crispy with a nice color. You can also use your broiler for 2-3 minutes on each side to crisp it up.
Nutritional Info – Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided is only an estimate and can vary based on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 749kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 57gFat: 51gSaturated Fat: 16gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gMonounsaturated Fat: 27gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 4252mgPotassium: 1060mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 115IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @thegreekfoodie__ or tag #thegreekfoodie__
Homemade Traditional Greek Pork Gyros

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5 from 20 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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41 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such intense deep flavors, reminded me perfectly of the meals we eat at the local Greek restaurant. Well worth the effort putting it together.

  2. 5 stars
    These were so tasty! My parents are always going on about gyros so I thought I’d give them a try. We all just loved this recipe, thanks so much!

  3. 5 stars
    I love gyros and have never tried to make them at home. This recipe turns out perfect. The meat is so flavorful and tasty. I served mine on a pita with onions, feta, and tzatziki.

  4. 5 stars
    I had never had gyros before, but your recipe photo looked so delicious that I had to give it a try. What a burst of flavor in the mouth. I will be making this again!

  5. Does the thinly sliced pork belly go in the brine or just the cutlets? I’m starting this tonight w/brine for Grill Party Saturday.

  6. HI quick question. From previous brine recipes i know that water/salt ratio is quite important for the final taste. How much water should this big container contain to not over salt the meat?

  7. Hi there, I tried making this the other day, it tasted amazing, but the pork was a bit pink in the middle so I think it needs some more cooking time in the oven than you recommended. Also, the pork belly slices came out kind of soggy rather than crispy as I put them in between the pork shoulder steaks as you suggested. So how do you make them come out crispy? Apart from that, great recipe, it reminded me of the gyros I have when I visit Greece. Thanks!

    1. Hi Arun,

      Thank you so much for making our recipe.
      Every oven heats different and temperature can vary. One way to make sure you have well roasted crispy gyro is doing what they do in souvlaki shops here in Greece. They cut the outer layer, slice it and serve it and the gyro continues to roast in the vertical rotisserie. This way assures that you always get nice crispy delicious gyro. At home our gyro is much smaller of course but it is worth trying to imitate their technique a little bit. Slice some thin pieces with a sharp knife all around and continue to roast the rest for a little bit more.

      Make sure the pork belly is not drenched in the marinade and is placed correctly between the layers. Does it reach the edges or is it hidden under the other slices of pork?
      This is a recipe I tested multiple times and it is true there is a trial and error until building the gyro in a way that achieves the best result.

      I am at your disposal for any other tips or help you need.

      Thank you again! x Jenny

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Jennie, great to hear from you and thankyou so much for your reply. I will definitely make it again, practice makes perfect right! I have tried several different recipes for making gyros but your recipe is by far the best 🙂
        I’m actually looking into buying one of those electric vertical rotisseries, just a small one of course, not like the ones they use in gyros take outs and restaurants which cost a small fortune. I found one on Amazon very cheap. What do you think? Should I buy it?
        Arun x

          1. Hey Jennie, I will for sure! I can just imagine the smell of gyros cooking on the spit wafting through the house mmmmm. I was thinking about making it with lamb too though lamb is so expensive especially here in England. I don’t suppose you have any tips for that like what’s the best cut to use? Lamb shoulder or leg steaks maybe?
            Arun x

          2. And I apologise that I keep calling you Jennie, I have no idea why haha I’ll get your name right one of these days x