Smokey delicious lamb, crispy oven-roasted chips, fresh lettuce, tomato, cucumber and creamy yoghurt all wrapped up in a warm pita. If this sounds like something you are drooling over then you are going to love these smoked lamb yiros!
Why I Love This Lamb Yiros Recipe
What's not to love? I'm a HUGE fan of firing up my BBQ whenever I can. One of the things I like to cook the most is a good hunk of lamb shoulder or pork butt. Yeah, it takes a bit of time but the smell, the taste and the quantity of meat you get is enough to feed an army or to keep for future dinners.
It's a cracking recipe to make for a family or group - stick it on in the morning (follow the steps below) and your BBQ will do the work for you!
I picked up this wicked good lamb shoulder from the guys over at OurCow here in Australia - delivered to the door and the quality was phenomonal. I would thoroughly recommend clicking through and reading a bit about their products and more importantly, tasting them too! Use code ANOTHERFOODBLOGGER15 for a 15% discount and you too could enjoy some smoked lamb yiros!
What Is A Yiros?
A yiro is a gyro. What? Well, if you have ever been to Greece you no doubt would have had one of these wrapped up in foil as either a cheap dinner or at 2am after a night out. In fact, I remember quite a few time buying 2 on the way home and waking up to find one lying on the floor next to me in the morning! I bet you are all wondering now - did he eat it.................
Anyway, due to the lack of English speaking people being able to pronounce it properly many greek shops have opened calling them YIROS. A gyro/yiros uses a warmed pita bread, can come with or without chips - although I see no reason in the world for there not to be chips. Lettuce, cucumber, onions and tomatoes (for the healthy component) and some greek yoghurt aka tzatziki.
They truly are things of beauty!
How To Smoke Lamb Shoulder
Lets get down to the nitty gritty. Smoking a lamb shoulder or any meat can seem daunting but once you have done it once then you will be hooked. No doubt taking many photos of yourself too and bragging to everyone who listens.....
Step 1 - set up your BBQ
I am using a Masterbuilt BBQ that I picked up from the guys over at Barbecues Galore (more on that later). You want to set your BBQ up for indirect heat. If using a kettle-style BBQ then this means the snake method. Luckily for me, the masterbuilt is an offset style so I don't need to mess about with the charcoal. Set your BBQ temp to be about 130-150c and add some wood chunks. I like cherrywood personally for lamb but use whatever you like.
Step 2 - prepare the meat
Here I have used seasonings that you would typically find in Greece but feel free to use your favourite BBQ rub. I have used a mix of salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, paprika, dried dill, lemon & cumin. Rub your lamb all over in a little oil and once the spices have been mixed together add them to the lamb
Step 3 - smoking the lamb shoulder
Once your BBQ is at temp and smoking (from the wood chunk) then add the lamb to the BBQ. If you have a digital thermometer then use it as it will help to keep an eye on the temperature. Now as long as your BBQ is holding a steady temp you can pretty much leave it alone for a while! After 1-2 hours you need to spritz/spray the lamb shoulder all over with water. Some people use apple juice or beer but being cheap I'll use water 😉 Do this 2-3 times every hour afterwards. Is this essential? Not really but what the spritz does is adds moisture to the meat which attracts the smoke and helps to build up that beautiful smoke ring on the meat
Step 4 - wrapping the lamb
So when smoking meats for pulling you are looking for an internal temperature of about 93c. This is a guideline and not gospel. When your meat gets to about 75-80c you want to wrap it. This means wrapping it tightly in foil. At this stage you can add some butter or brown sugar to the mwat when you wrap it but once again not essential. Put the meat back on the BBQ and let it continue to cook until you are around the 93c mark. At this stage your meat is ready to be pulled
Step 5 - pulling your meat
So as mentioned above when cooking low n slow on the BBQ you are looking for an internal temp of about 93c but the truth is good BBQ is about touching and feeling. Jeepers this paragraph is getting a bit dirty! Using a probe you should be able to push through the meat like butter. This is when you know it's truly ready. At 93c it's cooked enough but it may just take another 1 degree to be perfect! They say a lamb shoulder takes about 6 hours to smoke but that's always just a rough guideline. I've cooked some in 5 hours and some in 7 hours so that's why the digital thermometer helps!
Pull the meat from the BBQ, place it in a cooler bag or esky and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before pulling it. At this stage, the bones should slide out and you can just pull it apart with your fingers. Bring on the smoked lamb yiros 😉
TOP TIP - put gloves underneath the disposable gloves to not burn your hands!
Masterbuilt & Barbecues Galore
My new BBQ was delivered a few weeks ago from Barbecues Galore and I haven't stopped using it since. I have smoked a lamb shoulder, pork butt, short ribs, cooked a whole chicken and a few steaks too. Can't recommend it enough!
It works via a digital system. This means it's powered by electricty but uses charcoal too. The benefits of this when making smoked lamb shoulder yiros is you get that wonderful charcoal smell/taste to your BBQ but its also simple to do too as you can set the temperature via the digital screen. I would THOROUGHLY recommend looking into one of you are on the hunt for a BBQ as it will revolutinse your life. Easy to light, simple to set the temperature and better yet quick to heat up too making midweek BBQ's a thing!
The beauty in yiros and these smoked lamb yiros is the filling is so damn easy!! Oven-roasted fries (we all know how to cook those!), cucumber, tomatoes, red onion and lettuce. I like to leave my lettuce leaves whole (cause I'm lazy) and for the rest of the fruti/veg just dice them into even sized pieces - a small dice is good and mix them all together.
Next, make tzatziki - classic tzatziki that contains greek yoghurt, cucumber, garlic, lemon, herbs like - mint, coriander, dill (I just used mint in mine) and seasoning but given we have added cucumber into the lamb yiros already then you can omit that bit. Mix them all together and it's good to go.
Literally it takes about 10 minutes to make the rest of the ingredients and once the lamb is ready to go you can either grill the pitas or heat them in the oven. Place it all family style on the table and let the savages help themselves!
FAQ's and Tips To Make Smoked Lamb Yiros
Of course, not everyone has a BBQ or has the weather to BBQ so you can cook it low & slow in the oven. I typically place it on a trivet with a water or beer in the roasting tray which helps add moisture to it. Follow the same instructions to wrap and rest the meat too
These days there are some GREAT shop-bought pitas you can buy for your yiros but if you are feeling adventurous then check out my homemade pitas - HERE
The beauty about cooking large-format meats are 1. It feeds a crowd 2. Leftovers. Once the meat has cooled enough then portion it into freezer bags, label and freeze them. Leftover smoked lamb shoulder is GREAT for pizzas, breakfast hash and/or burgers. Just defrost it, add it as a topping or heat it up with a little BBQ sauce and you are good to go!
Pretty much anything. Grilled chicken thighs (use thighs as they are more forgiving when grilling), pork, beef and goat. All of these meats can be cooked slowly on the BBQ or grilled quickly to provide you with epic results.
Marri Wood Park Winery
If you have been an avid follower of my blog you would have seen Marri Wood Park - an amazing Western Australian winery feature a few times. I have made recipes to pair with their Pet Nat, Sauvignon Blanc and my favourite their Chenin Blanc. All worth checking out and drinking too I might add!
Bases in Yallingup, WA. They are a family run winery, biodynamic using no pesticides or fertilizers. Their wines are handpicked, hand bottled and labels are guess what - put on by hand too. It's safe to say they are a "hands on" winery who also just happen to produce epic tasting wine at good value!
Lamb Wine Pairing
What wine goes with lamb? Typically I would start by saying red wine goes best with lamb but the best wine is the one you like to drink so if you don't to conform then don't! However, wines that I tend to drink with lamb are grenache if there is some spice to the dish, shiraz and it's pepper notes works beautifully too. But, for me a good Cabernet is a treat with lamb. Those herbaceous undertones from Cabernet, it's vanilla oak and ripe fruits are what makes it work so well with lamb - especially smoked lamb shoulder.
This dish I have paired with the 2018 Marri Wood Park Cabernet Sauvignon. Being a young wine (although drinking really well) It required a good decant to get it to open up and show off it's potential. Beautiful light oaky notes from it's time in French oak, grippy tannins that will smooth out in time, ripe raspberry, leather, spice and good acidity. It's big, bold & beautiful! Better yet at $40 a bottle you are getting a wine that will drink now and SERIOUSLY reward you over 5-10 years too.
- 2-2.5kg lamb shoulder (4-6lbs)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 250 g Greek yoghurt (1 cup)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 handful mint
- 150 g tomatoes (5-6oz)
- 150 g red onion (5-6oz)
- 150 g cucumber (5-6oz)
- 8 yiros pita
- 300 g fries (11oz)
- Set your BBQ up to smoke (130c) the lamb using an offset BBQ or snake method if using a kettle BBQ. I used cherrywood as my wood but you can use any type you prefer.
- Mix all spices, oil & lemon juice together
- Make a few wholes in the lamb by stabbing it with a sharp knife and rub the lamb in the spice rub
- Place the lamb in the BBQ ready to smoke and cook it for 6-8 hours until internal temp is 93c (see tips)
- Once the lamb hits about 80c wrap it in foil until the desired temperature
- Once cooked remove from the heat, wrap in a towel and place in a cooler bag to rest for 30 minutes
- The lamb will be soft and should pull away from the bone with ease
- Finely chop the mint and mix all ingredients together
- Dice the tomato, cucumber & onion to (similar) bite sized pieces, mix together and set aside
- Cook according to the packet whilst the lamb is resting
- Warm your yiros either in the oven or on a grill pan
- Place the lettuce on the base followed by lamb & fries, top with salsa & yoghurt
- Roll up and demolish!
- mixing bowl x 2
- measuring utensils
- baking tray
- chef knives
- chopping board
- it’s important to cook the lamb at 120-140c so that it cooks low n slow – this gives a chance for all the fat to melt and the meat to soften
- during the cooking process you should spritz/spray the lamb after 2 hours and then every hour of the cook. This helps to keep it moist and for the exterior to soak up the smoke from the wood
- resting the meat is INCREDIBLY important – this allows all the juices to redistribute keeping the meat juicy and moist
- 93c is the internal temperature you are looking for but it’s about touch/feel. Your probe should be able to go through the lamb like butter – use the temperature as a guideline and your probe as gospel!
- on average a lamb shoulder will take 6-8 hours to cook but sometimes it can be quicker or slower. When cooking low n slow timing is never exact.
- if your cook finishes quicker than expected then wrap it tightly in a few layers of foil, wrap in a towel and leave it in a cooler or cool bag. It will keep for 1- 2 hours at desired temperature