Doner Kebab Meat – beef or lamb

2 hours Cook
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NomNom Recipes 32

Here is a homemade recipe for the mystery kebab meat you see on the vertical racks of kebab shops. It’s a miniature version, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste and authenticity! ! Use in skewers or gyros stuffed with beef or lamb.

Great food for big events – cutting edge and economical!
See also Yakitori.

beef or lamb
Doner Kebab Meat – beef or lamb- NomNomWow

How many times have you walked past a kebab shop, looked at that giant kebab the size of a punching bag, and wondered how long that meat had been there? I wonder if it’s really meat, or 90% stuffing?

Alright, stop being weird!
! Stores can use fillers, but we don’t have to!

Doner Kebab Meat recipe – beef or lamb

This homemade version of kebab meat can be made with lamb or beef. While beef is a favorite in Australia, in Turkey (the home of Doner Kebabs) it is made from lamb and beef. Both were delicious and I couldn’t choose a favorite!

Even though this is a miniature version of the brick and mortar store giant and we cook it like we cook it in our home kitchen, the end result is as real as it gets and you will be surprised !

Stand up, slice thinly and lightly fry until golden around the edges.
Your house will smell like rotisserie!

What is Doner Kebab meat made of?

Ah, you’ve thought about it, haven’t you? This is what you need. Bacon* is the secret ingredient of this surprising homemade version. More info below!

*NOTE: I get many emails/messages questioning the addition of bacon to this recipe.
I 100% agree that this is a non-traditional addition and you definitely won’t find it in Muslim countries (since Muslims don’t eat pork for religious reasons). It is added for extra fat because home cooks cannot get enough fat from meat to get the desired results. Without the bacon, unless you’re looking for extra fatty meat, you’ll be disappointed with the results – I’ve provided instructions in the recipe card.

  • Beef or Lamb – Get 15% fat for best results. If you look closely at meat in a rotisserie, you’ll see it dripping with fat! ! Ours wasn’t as fatty, but when we tried it with lean meat, it just wasn’t the same. Also remember that the flavor of meat is all in the fat.
    Mix lamb fat with lean beef and you’ll swear you’re eating lamb!
  • Pork Belly Bacon* – The secret ingredient, discovered by Kenji at Serious Eats, whose Gyros recipe we use as a base. It won’t give the meat a bacon taste, but it will add salt to the meat and more importantly it will add fat. This is the key, don’t skip it! (or if so, don’t complain if you’re disappointed with the outcome of the recipe )
  • Non-Pork Substitutes for Bacon – Two options to replicate the use of bacon in this recipe:
  • If your meat is already Very fatty, use turkey bacon or
  • Add duck or goose fat + 100g/4oz extra meat + 1/2 tsp salt.
    Spices – a concoction we invented by tasting meat from our favorite rotisserie; and
  • Onions and Garlic – essential seasonings!
  • *A note about bacon and authenticity – As the skewers come mainly from Muslim countries, bacon may seem inappropriate as pork is not eaten for religious reasons. The reason it’s included is to make this recipe accessible to home cooks. Traditional kebab meat is made with a lot of animal fat. When you watch YouTube videos of layered versions of kebab meat, they put on a layer of meat (like chicken), then cover that layer with shredded fat, then chicken, then another layer of fat.
    too big! Using bacon is an easier shortcut for the average home cook – my butcher doesn’t sell potted fat!

How to make Doner Kebab meat

The best part – how to do it! It’s easy. Once your head is near a piece of meat!

In a nutshell, the meat is pureed in a food processor, turning it into a “dough” that gives it its unique slicer-meat texture (as opposed to meatloaf, which has ground/minced meat made only from hand, more “crumbly” texture).

It is then rolled into a wooden shape using aluminum foil – it retains its shape when suspended from a skewer over a pan (otherwise the raw meat would sag) – and cooked in oven. Tear off the last leaf to be gilded and get up to cut! !

Carving and pan frying

The texture of the charcuterie can be sliced ​​- just like in a rotisserie!

Shave it quite fine, cut it as much as you want/need once and fry it lightly until golden brown. It’s an amazing touch that really transforms the meat because once you scrape off the brown outer layer, the meat inside is pink. It’s as special as we make Mexican carnitas!

Here is a close-up of kebabs fried in a pan. Just fry it lightly, not to make it crispy, just to give it a little golden color like in a rotisserie to cool the meat.

only takes about a minute because it’s so thin.

Doner Kebabs

It’s a big fat and juicy kebab! Very popular in Australia, especially after a late night at the pub with friends!

Made with Lebanese bread or other pancakes, spread with hummus and topped with skewers, lettuce, tomato, onion and sauces such as yogurt, garlic and chili paste. Optional extras include cheese (which I consider sacrilege!) and tabbouleh.

Imagine it over CHARCOAL!!

I had to cook with a boring old oven. I would love to do it with charcoal one day! Imagine it on a spit, slowly turning the hot coals…that smoky flavor will be addictive!

One day, one day…

Doner Kebab vs Gyros vs Shawarma

Gyro, shawarma and doner kebab all have the same meaning. These words both translate to “turning” or “rotating the meat” and refer to the braaispit cooking technique.

Which word to use depends on which part of the Mediterranean or Middle East you are in. Gyros is Greek. Shawarma is Israel and Arab countries (much spicier).
Doner Kebab is what they call in Türkiye.

If the finished product (type of pancake, sauce used) and the seasoning of the meat are of course somewhat different, they are similar in spirit!

As for animal meat, it varies. Chicken, beef, lamb and pork are used to varying degrees in different countries. Whether it’s layers (like chicken skewers) or smooth meat (which I’m sharing today) also depends on where you are.
One thing is certain. I have yet to come across a Doner Kebab/Gyros or Shawarma that I don’t like!

Recipes I’ve shared

In Australia, Doner Kebabs are common, although you will find Gyros in minority areas. In the US it’s the opposite – Gyros is the common version. Harder to find kebabs!

You can find both all over the world these days. I had some great kebabs from all places in central Paris last year!
Here is the Gyros/Shawarma/Doner Kebab recipe I shared before:

Excellent large format food to make ahead

There are two other advantages to this homemade kebab meat:

  • is excellent to prepare in advance – it stays 100% fresh because the meat is so juicy (ahem! oily…). Bake the logs, refrigerate, refrigerate, or freeze, then reheat in the oven; and the
  • is great for feeding a crowd – it makes a lot of money! 1kg/2lbs could potentially feed 8 people – go even further with shaved meat. Maybe 6 if you do very generous things.
    Toast the slices on the grill so you can cook a lot at the same time, although you can also pan fry them and reheat them in the microwave (which I do and it works great).

If that’s not enough to convince you to do it, do it, because it’s an exact replica of rotisserie meat. Or your favorite gyroscopic car. It depends where you live!

Doner Kebab Meat – beef or lamb

Doner Kebab Meat – beef or lamb

Here is a homemade recipe for the mystery kebab meat you see on the vertical racks of kebab shops. It's a miniature version, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in taste and authenticity! ! Use in skewers or gyros stuffed with beef or lamb.
prep time
20 mins
cooking time
2 hours
total time
2 hours 20 mins



  • 1 kg / 2 lb lamb or beef mince (ground meat) , preferably 15% fat (Note 1)

  • 200g / 7oz streaky bacon , roughly diced (Note 2)

  • 1 onion , diced (brown, yellow, white)

  • 2 clove garlic , roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil or olive oil (for frying)


  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 3 tsp salt , kosher/cooking salt (Note 3)

  • 1 tsp black pepper


  • 8 flatbreads (Lebanese bread authentic!)

  • 1 iceberg lettuce , finely shredded

  • 6 tomatoes , halved and sliced

  • 2 red onions , finely sliced

  • Hummus

  • Yogurt sauce , optional (recipe Note 8)

  • More Sauce options: chilli sauce/Sriracha

  • (I use this), BBQ, sweet chilli, tomato sauce/ketchup

  • Extra options: tabbouleh, shredded cheese



Sea fish:

Beef or lamb mixed with all the spices - mix well by hand.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.


Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F (fan 150°C).
Baking dish with aluminum foil.
Make sure the skewers are long enough to support the sides of the dish. (Note 5)

Pure Meat:

Place onion, bacon and garlic in 8-cup/2L+ food processor. Blitz until it turns to paste (29 second video), ~30 seconds. At the top, scrape the edges as you go.
Add meat and blitz until it becomes a paste (42 second video), scraping down the sides (about 1 minute on a high power food processor, about 2 minutes on a lower power food processor). (Note 4)


Pour meat onto work surface. Wet hands with water and form a uniform mass 20 cm long.
Overlap 2 pieces of 60cm / 2ft aluminum foil on top of each other by 1/3. (Note 6)
Place meat on end of foil, then roll up and wrap tightly in foil.
Screw the ends together to form a log 25cm long, then cut off the excess foil. Roll into a regular log.
Thread a skewer into a log.
The logs are placed in the pan, resting the skewers on the edge of the pan. (Note 7)


Bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning once after 1 hour, until log reaches 70°C/160°F (80°C/175°F is best ). At this point, the log is cooked. (Note 9)
Remove foil from logs but leave skewers in place.
Heat the oven to 250°C/480°F, or if the oven cannot reach the highest temperature, it can.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.

Scrape/Fry (rotisserie style!):

The removes the skewer and the meat stands upright.
Fine Shave Meat - Score as much as you intend to use.
Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook ground meat that is light in color but still "flowing" (not crispy). Use it for Doner Kebabs today!


The spreads hummus on hot bread. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
Hope kebab meat.
Drizzle with sauce of your choice.
Rolled up tightly and wrapped in foil if needed (to hold together). Take and devour!


Meat - Fat is better for flavor and keeps meat juicy. Bulgogi meat from the store is very oily - even oilier than this recipe! Meat in supermarkets now usually displays a fat percentage (check the nutritional table), butchers need to know the fat percentage of their meat. Beef is most common in Australia and both are popular in Turkey Bacon - that is. Bacon belly - no size eye. Authenticity Note: Doner skewers come mainly from Muslim countries where pork is not eaten for religious reasons, so you can request to be included. This is because home cooks can't find meat with enough fat, so I add bacon to increase the fat content, which is essential to really replicate the kebab meat from the store. Don't skip it. It's really important. No, he doesn't need bacon. Can't eat bacon? Use one of the following options: for good quality meat at 20% fat, get 200 g/6 oz extra meat and add 1/2 tsp. additional salt. The best quality you can afford, i.e. the cheapest, fattiest meat at the grocery store won't taste as good as high-fat ground beef from the butcher shop; get 20% fatty meat and use turkey bacon instead of pork bacon; or duck or goose fat + 100g extra meat + 1/2 tsp salt. Use 100g of duck fat straight out of the jar and mix it into the meat. Duck fat provides the fat that bacon does and gives the meat that duck flavor (most other animal fats taste like this animal, and duck fat tastes "clean", that is why it is so good for the famous beneficial duck fat potatoes). Salt - I know that sounds like a lot, but remember the meat is shaved very thin so you don't get too much salt in every bite. If you only have table salt, reduce to 2 teaspoons. Consistency of the meat paste - watch the video to see what this should look like - you should be able to make a smooth "smear" on the surface. Optional Kebab - The kebab allows you to remove the meat from the pan and grill it in a cylindrical shape. But if you don't have one, that's fine too - just form a log and bake on a pan or (aluminum) tray. Aluminum foil - double function: maintains the shape of the log during cooking (otherwise a raw log would slip off the skewer) and retains the juice of the log during cooking. Accessory issues - If your logs are too long to fit in the pot/the skewers are not long enough to reach the rim, use something like a ramekin or a scoop of crumpled aluminum foil in the pot to support the log. Or wedge it on a diagonal. Lemon Yogurt Vinaigrette - mix and let stand 20 minutes: 2 cups (500 g) Greek yogurt 2 garlic cloves, minced or finely ground 1 tbsp. cumin (optional​​) 4 th 4 th 4 th Juice/2 tbsp. each Salt and pepper Raw Meat - If you don't have a meat thermometer and you cut and it's a little undercooked inside, don't worry, the slices cook quickly on the Cook ! Storage - Keeps particularly well due to the high fat content! Option: Cook directly, but without browning. Cool in foil, then loosen and wrap in plastic wrap (do not loosen with foil). Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze. On day of thawing, wrap in foil and reheat in oven (according to recipe temperature) until heated through (insert knife to check), about 20 minutes. Then brown and use according to the recipe. Use some now, save some for later - either uncarved wood or cut (not fried) meat. Then fry them in a pan just before using them. Freezing - Logs or cooked pieces of meat can be frozen for 3 months. Then thaw the pan just before serving. Many thanks to Kenji Lopez-Alt from Serious Eats for discovering this amazing technique! We used his method, added our seasonings and tweaked it to make it a real log (added mass, spears, etc.). Nutrition per serving - Meat only, assuming 8 serving
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