Doner Kebab is famous world-wide – it’s actually one of the most popular “fast foods” ever! And so much easier to make than you think!
Remember when we were teenagers, and we used to go to the mall? “Cruising the Mall” was THE thing to do, where to see and be seen? (You didn’t do this? – You must be younger than me!) There was a time when our beloved Glenbrook mall opened a brand new section, which had, of all things, an ice skating rink inside the mall! (Now, why that ice skating rink was so attractive to me is still a puzzler – I’m a terrible ice skater! If it had been a roller rink, now, that’s another story altogether!) Positioned around the skating rink was a food court! WOW!
And, what set this food court apart from other malls I’d visitied at the time were many foods I’d never even imagined, and couldn’t wait to try. “Tater Junction” – a place where there were huge baked potatoes stuffed with your choice of dozens of different toppings – Mexican Potato anyone? Or Gyros – how do you even say that word? I stared at that word for quite a while before even giving it a try. (Hint: its “yee’-row”, people! Not “Ji-Row”!) Wonderfully spiced and slathered in Cool Creamy Tzatziki Sauce, it really was a taste sensation! Like nothing I’d ever tasted – I love that! It is a sandwich I crave. Often.
Turns out, the Greek Gyro is a variation of the original Turkish Doner Kebab (read all about the “rotating roast” here.) There are variations of this dish in just about every country, so it seems I’m not the only one addicted to this classic “fast food.” I first heard of the Döner Kebab from my kids, who had spent some time studying abroad in Italy, where they were first introduced to the Döner Kebab. They apparently ate at “the kebab place” quite often. This Doner Kebab made with lamb is my attempt to recreate this for them.
I found recipes and inspiration from a few different websites – Thanks, Google! It seems there are so many variations, I wasn’t sure which to choose. So I chose one that seemed different from the Gyros sandwich I’m so familiar with. I used cumin, coriander and paprika to spice the meat, and topped the sandwich with a spicy mayo, which I made with Harissa, but you could substitute any hot sauce or use yogurt instead of mayo. So delicious!
Thanks to Alton Brown I learned the secrets of making this tasty sandwich at home. It takes a food processor, and, believe it or not – a brick. You read it correctly, a brick. These items make the texture of the meat firm, yet still juicy, and sliceable, just perfect for a doner kebab! Completely worth the trouble, I promise! You can see from these previous posts about gyros how much I love a rotating roast!
So I can’t promise this is authentic Doner Kebab, but I’m hoping it serves as a worthy variation of one of my favorite sandwiches of all time! I know I’ll be making more Doner Kebab, and Gyros, no doubt! I hope you will, too! And, let me know, what foods have you tried that were so unique and different from anything you’d ever tasted? I’m curious! Enjoy!
Döner Kebab with Lamb and Pita
The Doner Kebab was the original “rotating roast” sandwich! This recipe is my version of the classic. I employ some tricks I learned fromAlton Brown, which aid in preparing and cutting the meat. You could substitute ground beef, turkey, or chicken for part of the recipe if you like. But processing the meat in a food processor and compressing it a bit after cooking ensure that you will be able to thinly slice the meat when serving.
I made my own Pitas using this recipe. But feel free to use whatever pita or flatbread you like.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 60-75 mins
- Total Time: 70-85 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Sandwich
- Method: Oven Roast
For the Meat
- 2 lb ground lamb
- 1 Medium onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 T Ground Cumin
- 2 t Paprika
- 1 1/2 t Coriander
- 1/2 t Cinnamon
- 2 t Salt
- 1 t Ground Pepper
For the Spicy Mayo
- 3 T Hot sauce (I used Harissa)
- 1/2 c Full-Fat yogurt or Mayo
Make the Meat mixture:
- Preheat oven to 325F. Into a food processor, place the chunks of onion. Process about 15 seconds, until the onion is quite minced and pieces of onion are tiny. Pour the mixture out into a tea towel, wrap and squeeze out excess moisture. Return the bits of onion to the processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients of the meat mixture. Process for approximately 1 minute, until the mixture is a thick paste.
- Scrape the mixture into a 9x5x5 Loaf pan. Place the loaf pan into a 9×13 pan and put the pan into the preheated oven. Carefully pour (from a kettle or pitcher) extra-hot water into the 9×13 pan until it is about halfway up the side of the loaf pan.
- Roast the meat in the water bath for 60-75 minutes. Meat should be 160-165F when cooked. Drain the meat well.
- Wrap a brick or other similar object in aluminum foil. Place atop the meat (still in pan) for 15-20 minutes.
- Slice meat thinly with a sharp knife.
- Serve in pita or other flatbread or atop rice. Garnish with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and top with sauce.
Make the Spicy Sauce:
- Mix together mayo or yogurt and hot sauce.
- Serve atop sandwich or meat.
- Serving Size: 1/8 recipe
Keywords: Doner kebab, kebab, lamb, pita, turkish
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Carole Guy says
Excellent result! Followed the recipe exactly and it was really good.
Awesome! So happy to hear you loved it! Thanks for letting me know!
Kim | The Baking ChocolaTess says
Sounds so amazing! I can see why this would be a huge hit anywhere!! YUM!
Thanks so much, Kim! And thanks for visiting!
heather (delicious not gorgeous) says
DROOLING. that crispy meat with the creamy mayo and fresh lettuce and tomato sounds sosososo good.
Thank you, Heather!
David @ Spiced says
I am well aware of doner kebab…there are kebab stands all over Europe! Now if only we had a kebab stand here in my little town in upstate New York. haha! I’ve looked into making doner kebab here at home, but I wasn’t sure how to accomplish the rotating roast thing. Now I know! What a clever trick to use a brick. I totally want…no need…to make this now! Looks delicious, my friend. Thanks for sharing! And with that, I’m off to cruise the mall. Haha!
Thanks, David! I’m hoping to make variations of the Doner Kebab, because it seems every maker of this sandwich uses his or her own spice blend. So many choices here! I think, too, that the food processor is your best friend here, making sure the mixture is a smooth paste. Good luck! (Although this is pretty easy.) Thanks for your visit!
Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen says
Wait. Do kids not go to the mall anymore? That was my life growing up! It makes me sad that today’s youth are missing out. . .although I’m honestly not sure what the appeal of the mall was to me :). Can you believe I’ve never heard of doner kebab? Thank you for enlightening me! This looks delicious!
Kelsie, it’s not as big a thing anymore. Not sure either, what the draw was for me. Guess a safe place to hang with friends. Anyway, Doner is the German version of the Turkish Kebab sandwich. So it seems to be all the rage in certain parts of the world, and hopefully here, in US, soon! Thanks for visiting!
I didn’t know the word “doner” until recently. I found out that a pizza with doner style meat has been a huge hit in the Atlantic Canada for a few decades. I haven’t tried this kebab yet, but I do like its texture. Looks delicious too!
Thanks, Ben! I’d been seeing a local place called the “Berliner Doner Kebab” – finally decided to research it. I learn something new every day!
Hi. Your recipe looks delicious. What would happen if I didn’t use a brick (which I don’t have)? Thanks.
I think as long as you process the meat nicely, the brick wouldn’t be completely necessary. It’s only used to aid in the thin-cutting. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out!
You hit the home run ! Thank you !
You’re welcome! And thanks for your kind words and your visit!