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Pita Pocket Sandwiches, also known as Gyro Sandwiches, are very popular in the Middle East and along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, where the meat of choice is goat, or lamb.  You can use any method for preparing the meat, but we prefer to grill ours, as it tastes better, gets rid of much of the fat, and is more authentic.  For an authentic Mediterranean taste, give our Pita Pocket Gyro Sandwiches a try.

Special tools:  Outdoor grill, we use a Webber gas grill, wood chips
Preparation time:  About 10 minutes, resting time about 10 minutes
Cooking time:  About 15 minutes
Yield:  2 generous servings or 4 small snack-size servings

1/2 pound lamb or goat, cut into thin strips
2 pita loaves any variety, cut in half
Basque brand Meat Tenderizer Barbecue Sauce, about 4 oz
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taster
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed, diced and minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped very fine
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 fresh tomato, preferably Roma, diced
1/3 cup peeled, diced cucumber, any variety
1/2 jalapeno pepper, optional, diced; adds heat and "earthy" taste, but is not authentic for Mediterranean tastes
Grill spray, as needed

If you're planning on using wood chips to implant a smoky taste into the food, soak them in water for 48 hours prior to cooking, as wet wood gives off more smoke, and doesn't burn as rapidly.

Slice lamb into slices, each about 3/8" thick; 1/2 pound works out to four slices.  Place lamb in a covered plastic container and marinate in Basque Sauce for at least two hours, overnight is better.

To make vegetable garnish, combine yogurt, cucumber, tomato, onion, pepper, salt, oregano, and garlic powder in a covered plastic container and refrigerate for several hours.

Left:  Lamb, marinating in Basque Sauce.  Right:  Diced tomato, cucumber, onion, chopped cilantro and yogurt. Not shown in the photo are the spices.

Add wood chips to grill, spray grill with non-stick grill stray, light grill, and allow grill to reach high temperature, about 400 degrees.  When chips start to smoke, place lamb strips on grill, directly over flame, cover grill, and cook for about 3 minutes; until grill marks appear.  Turn meat over and cook for another 2 minutes; until grill marks appear. Remove meat from heat and loosely wrap in aluminum foil.  Reduce heat to low and return meat to grill, placing it away from the flame, using the indirect grilling method.  Cover grill and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until meat is done.  Meat should have grill marks on the outside, and be slightly pink in the middle.

Allow meat to rest 10 minutes before cutting.  Cut each pita bread in half.  Chop meat into small pieces.  Spoon a quarter of the chopped meat into each pita half and stuff as much vegetable garnish as the sandwich will hold on top of the meat.  Serve immediately while the meat is still warm.

If you've ever had the pleasure to visit the fascinating city of Casablanca, or for that matter if you've seen the movie, you'll recall all of the small food vendors in the market place, grilling goat or lamb, and stuffing the contents into pita halves.  This recipe recreates that taste, or at least as I remember it.

Left:  Seared lamb strips ready to be wrapped in aluminum foil and removed to indirect heat.  Right:  I like my meat chopped a little on the coarse side.e  Note the seared outside of the meat and the slightly pink color inside. This is the way I like to cook my meat.

Although it isn't absolutely necessary, using water-soaked wood chips on an outdoor grill will implant a delicate, smoky taste to the meat, which really brings out the flavor.  I prefer mesquite for red meat, but oak or hickory will work just fine.  The author of this recipe assumes the reader is familiar with basic grilling techniques.

I really like the Basque Barbecue Sauce, as it really adds to the flavor, and has a tendency to tenderize the meat.  It can be found in the vinegar and barbecue sauce section of your local supermarket.  

As long as you have the grill fired up, why not dice some squash, onion and jalapeno pepper for a delicious, stir-fry side dish?

Photo:  Pita Pocket Gyro Sandwiches, stuffed with vegetables, lamb and yogurt and ready to eat. Mmmmmmm!

You'll probably have leftover vegetable/yogurt mixture, which will work as a spread on many kinds of sandwiches, or can be integrated into a tossed-green salad.

For a quick, easy meal with a Mediterranean flair, give my Pita Pocket Gyro Sandwiches a try.

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