Tuesday, March 19, 2019

gyro-meat prep, first stage

With gyro meat, the prep stages are:

1. Blend together meat, spices, and seasonings to make a meat paste.
2. Shape into loaves. Freeze until you're ready for the next step.
3. Bake, and/or
4. Slice and finish in a frying pan. Store meat in its own juices for transport.

I've done stages 1 and 2. No pics of stage 2, unless you really want to see frozen meat in the freezer. I won't initiate the final stages until, oh, Thursday night. Meanwhile, here are a few pics of stage 1.

Below: spices and seasoning to be incorporated into a 50-50 mix of ground beef and ground lamb. We've got paprika, cayenne, salt, pepper, cumin, sugar, basil, and oregano. Forgot the turmeric, but since turmeric is a somewhat late addition to my usual spice blend, its absence isn't tragic. The ground meat I used was fairly lean, so to amp up the fat content, I also included olive oil. A lot of this oil will cook out during baking.

Below, you see a new addition to my family of gadgets: a food processor that I bought last night. It's some no-name Korean brand ("HiBrand"), and it sucks: the motor began to smell of burned circuitry only a few minutes into the blending process. Stank up my entire apartment for a good hour. It also failed to churn the meat well enough to blend the top layer, and the machine's top doesn't have a hole into which one can introduce a spoon, etc., to poke and prod whatever's being blended. I have a feeling I'll be chucking this loser in favor of a good old Cuisinart sometime soon. If I can find a Cuisinart in Korea.

Lastly, a pic of two batches of meat in the initial stages of being mixed together. The first batch, which looks brown because of all the spices and seasonings, got the full brunt of all my magic powders (plus the fresh onions that I pureed before adding meat on top of them). The second batch—which looks red—was simply meat, and after I had mixed it as much as possible without making the food processor's motor start belching smoke (an actual concern as the burned-circuitry smell intensified), I threw everything into my giant metal bowl and began combining the meat batches with wood spoons. When that proved inadequate, I washed my hands and switched to manual mixing.

The idea, with gyros, is to produce a paste that will harden into a solid block of fairly homogeneous meat. Once everything is frozen, you can either bake the blocks and then slice them, or slice them while frozen and then pan-fry the slices, thereby simulating how gyro meat comes off the rotisserie.

I formed the mixed meat into loaves, wrapped the loaves in plastic wrap, then stuck them in the freezer. The loaves look like giant burger patties, but once they've been frozen, they'll slice into plausibly shaped strips of gyro meat. I've already done a test cook of some of the meat to make sure everything is properly spiced and seasoned. This time around, the meat is much spicier than what I've done previously, but it still tastes fine. I have high hopes. Hell, I might even slice the meat now, then re-bag it in giant Ziplocs so that, when the time comes to pan-fry, I can simply bring out the bags and get right to it. One less thing to worry about.

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