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Halifax Donair

halifax donair
Halifax Donair

Halifax Donair

The Halifax Donair was created by a Greek restauranteur who found that the Greek Gyro didn’t catch on until he used beef and a sweetened sauce. Now you find Donairs all across Canada. We use our Rick’s Casablanca Seasoning for the meat, since it has all the spices found in the traditional Donairs, and adds an extra touch of flavor to make it a touch better we think.

The Donair sauce is made from evaporated milk, a touch of garlic powder and sugar for the sweetness. A bit of white vinegar helps thicken it a bit without adding any tang. While the Donair has this sweetened sauce, you can use this same Donair meat recipe to make your own Greek gyro or other Middle Eastern Döner Recipe. Just use your own sauce.

The Greek Gyro itself is a version of the Döner Kebab, which can be traced back to a Turkish dish of layers on meat on a vertical rotisserie. From Turkey, the dish spread throughout the Middle East, Mediterranean countries and all around the world. The Mexican al Pastor is another version. You find versions of the Döner in countries throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, Southeast Asia and even Japan.

Makes: 4-6

Donair Meat:
2 Pounds Ground Beef
3 Tablespoons Rick’s Casablanca Seasoning

Donair Sauce:
1 Can (12 Ounces) Evaporated Milk
½ Cup White Sugar
2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
8 Teaspoons White Vinegar

For Donair Sandwich:
1 Large Tomato, Seeded and Diced. We use Roma tomatoes.
1 Onion Diced
4-6 Large Greek-style Pita Breads

Donair Sauce:
Add all the Donair Sauce ingredients to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until needed. This also allows the flavor to develop and thicken more. We refrigerate the cooked Donair loaf and sauce rest overnight, if we have the time.

The sauce has a sweetness and not real thick like a Greek gyro sauce. You can also substitute sour cream for half of the evaporated milk if you prefer a thicker consistency, without changing the flavor too much. We prefer using the evaporated to stay truer to the original.

Donair Meat:
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Add the ground beef and Rick’s Casablanca to a stand mixer bowl. Mix on medium-low for 5 minutes. The texture will be finer and the seasoning will be thoroughly combined. Remove from the bowl and form into a ball on a large cutting board. Pick up the meat, and throw it down with force onto the board. This helps to compress the meat and get rid of any air pockets. Do this 15 to 20 times. This will give it a tight, packed consistency without any pockets and helps the loaf stay together while cooking and slicing.

Form the meat into a loaf about 10″ long and 4″ wide. Place the loaf on a broiler pan, or on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet if you don’t have the broiler pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, turning it over after 30 minutes. Check the doneness after 1 hour. The internal temperature should read 160F. Cook the extra 15 minutes if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before slicing and reheating. Chilling the loaf makes it easier to slice.

Assemble the Donairs:
Warm the pita breads in a skillet for a minute, turning over once. You can also steam them or heat them in microwave so they are warm and softened up. This makes them easier to roll when filled.

Slice the Donair loaf into thin slices, about ⅛” thick. Heat a bit of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add slices and heat for a couple minutes, flipping them over once until lightly browned but not crispy.

Put some Donair meat on the pita, along with some diced tomato, onions and Donair sauce. Roll tight, wrap a piece of foil around the Donair to keep together while eating. Enjoy.