East Coast Donair
I was so excited to get this recipe for an East Coast Donair when I heard the electrician Nathan Munroe, that did our kitchen reno talking about it. This is a true Canadian recipe that I grew up on in Ontario and still love them to this day out here in Alberta. Thanks again Nathan for this wonderful recipe!!
I don’t think I realized though that it is was a very Eastern Canada thing, the Donair, but that is where the roots of this recipe came from.
What exactly is this? It is a truly Canadian invention by a man named Peter Gamoulakos originally from Greece.
He was selling his beloved Greek Gyros in Halifax but they weren’t jiving with the east coast meat and potatoes crowd. So he swapped out the lamb for beef and made a sweet “donair sauce”.
This was instantly a hit and caused a feeding frenzy!! It is the perfect late-night snack after a night of indulging!! Trust me I have been there and done that many times!!
So loved this is that Halifax city council in 2015 made it the official city’s food!!
It is traditionally made with hamburg that is molded into a log and formed around a spit. The spit then rotates standing up and meat is carved off the spit in thin strips.
What makes the donair killer though is the sweet sauce, I always ask for extra!!
We are talking eating to the supreme here!! Now you start to see the donair creeping into pizzas and more.
I have so enjoyed going down memory lane (may it be a bit foggy from the late night noshing), thinking back about this delicious recipe!!
You will want to make this recipe and compare it to the donairs you have also loved or if you have never had one then hell, get on it.
You have no idea what you are missing!!
They say it is not a donair without tomatoes and onions, I like lettuce and some like other toppings like cheese.
Any way you slice it, you will love this classic Canadian dish!
In the video we had created the meat is cooked in a loaf pan which is not traditional but easy. The slices should be very thin, not like meatloaf slices.
I have also made it on top of a roasting pan, on the rack to let the juices drip off and dry the meat out more.
Having cooled the meat lets you slice it easier. You rewarm the slices in a pan anyway at the end.
- For the Donair
- 2 tsp. garlic salt
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. onion salt
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- (I did not have the "salts" so I used 1½ tsp. salt and 1½ tsp. each of garlic powder and onion powder)
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper (2 tsp. makes it spicy)
- 2 tsp. white pepper
- 1½ tsp. chicken bouillon
- 3 lbs. lean ground beef
- Donair Sauce
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ cup vinegar
- Chopped tomato
- Chopped lettuce
- Diced onion
- Foil and wax paper for each donair
- Pitas, whole wheat or white
- Mix together all of the Donair spices and add them to the ground beef. Make into a loaf and place on a greased broiler or roasting pan. Bake at 275F for 3 hours. Check with thermometer for doneness, it should read 160F. When loaf is finished let cool or refrigerate (I found it sliced even better after being refrigerated).
- Meanwhile make the sauce by adding in the milk, sugar and garlic powder. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Gently add in the vinegar but don't over stir, it will now thicken. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to eat, make up some rectangles of wax paper and foil. Slice off thin strips from the loaf. Fry in a non-stick pan with a small amount of water. When the meat is heated lay a pita bread on top and let it steam slightly. Take the pita off and lay it on the wax paper that is on top of the foil. Top with the beef slices. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, onion and sweet sauce. Wrap up and serve.