Pork Butt Gyro

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This past summer in Greece I cemented my affections for pork butt, a particular cut of pork that’s diverse, very forgiving to cook with and it always come out juicy and delicious. The pork butt comes from the front end of the pig (nowhere near its rear), located near the shoulder. It’s not as pretty as your usual curved center-cut pork but it makes it up with flavour and juicyness.

Your usual pork chops have all the fat surrounding the meat but the pork butt contains fat within the meat as well. Dare I say some marbling? Much like beef steaks, pork butt chops render fat when cooking, creating a kind of self-basting and protecting the meat from drying out. This cut of meat is forgiving, hard to screw up but not without some precautions:

  • Grill over medium-high heat as you’re dealing with pork – you want well-cooked meat and to allow some time for the fat to render;
  • Ensure you are giving pork butt – not shoulder. These two cuts are connected to each other on the pig but they are very different: pork butt contains fat in the meat and pork shoulder’s fat is only located around the meat;
  • In Greece this cut is called “laimo” (lemmo) and all the butchers will know what you’re talking about

Pork butt is also very diverse! Other than in being my preferred cut for pork chops it’s also used to make pork Gyro, souvlaki, an ideal cut for grinding for sausage use and I also use pork butt to make a Greek specialty: Kontosouvli!

This past summer I rushed from the center of Thessaloniki to catch a bus back to my family’s summer home in Halkidiki and I just missed my bus by 5 minutes. It was lunch time and I had an hour to kill so I headed towards the food concessions in the terminal and found the Gyro joint also offered thin-cut pork chops wrapped in pita bread with your favourite toppings.

Think deconstructed Gyro as you get a whole pork chop, sliced thin and grilled and slapped in pita bread with fixins’. So simple yet so brilliant! Head to your favourite butcher and ask for pork butt. For thick-cut pork chops ask for bone-in and if you want to make souvlaki, Gyro, kontosouvli or pork butt Gyro, ask for boneless so you can easily cut the pork the way you like it.

I’m hungry all over again and I could go for a pork butt Gyro sandwich right about now.

Pork Butt Gyro (Γυρο με Μπριζολα Λαιμου)

(makes 4-6 sandwiches)

approx. 1 lb. boneless pork butt

1 small onion, passed through a box grater

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. dried Greek oregano

lemon juice

warm pita bread

your favourite souvlaki condiment/toppings: tomatoes, sliced onions, fries, Tzatziki, ketchup, mustard

  1. If your butcher hasn’t already done so for you, place your pork in the freezer for about an hour so that it hardens enough for you to be able to slice it thinly. Once firm enough, take out of freezer and slice the pork but into approx. 1 cm. slices.
  2. In a bowl, add the pork butt along with the oil, onion, salt, pepper, paprika and oregano and toss to coat. Cover and place in your fridge for about three hours. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature before grilling.
  3. Pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill with the intent of attaining a medium-high heat. Brush your grill surface free of any residue and wipe the surface with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. Lightly season the pork with salt and over medium high heat for 3 minutes a side and once cooked, remove from the heat.
  4. Squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle some Greek oregano. Place the pork chop in the warm pita bread then add your favourite condiments and roll up. Have an ice cold Fix Hellas beer and enjoy!

© 2011,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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12 Comments for “Pork Butt Gyro”


I’m hungry too, Peter, after this..Looks sooo flavorful!!! A photo to save for the winter months when BBQ is not an option..(BRRR) Thanks for the input on different pork cuts, as well..Be good :)



speaking for my self , the only real place if really good chips is next to a nice piece of battered deep fried fish, the only reason Greeks came up with adding chips into a Gyro is so that they can cut down on the amount of meat they used before,


Would you believe I saw a pork butt chop in the store for the first time just a week or two ago? Of course I bought it, and it was delicious, and I hope to see one again the future. Maybe I’ll have to try making a gyro out of it.

Are those french fries on the gyro? Naughty boy! They sure do look good though!


i will agree ,,,,never use a filet or ,,,call it the best part of the Pig ,,,for Gyros or Souvlaki or kalamaki ,,,,it is the fat what makes the outstanding taste .

and i use a sweeter Mustarda and a cheap kind of Ketchup …. ;D

btw….. i use KTEL Makedonia too ,,,when i go forward to visit my Family ,,,in Poligyros ;D



That looks very tasty and is one of my favourite “snacks” . Unfortunately, in my recent trip to Greece this summer I have witnessed something disappointing in the gyros places I used to frequent the previous years. The gyros meat is hard, and tasteless. The reason? Many people that used to pick the meat and season it themselves now buy it ready from a factory.



Hello from Greece!

I was doing a web search for spare ribs, and it led to this blog. As I understand it, the blogger is Greek, but lives in the states so if you could tell me how I can ask a Greek butcher for spare ribs, I would really appreciate it! Thank you in advance.

Keep eating pork!:)



French fries (or “chips”) are an integral part of the “gyro-pita” visceral experience…the salty & creamy texture of the fried potato compliment the buttery, earthy savory pork meat. Of course you don’t have to add them…but why not?? :-) And the potatoes are not filler…a gyro-pita is not supposed to be a humongous meat bomb sandwich; the meat is an accent that brings everything else together: The fluffy, oily flatbread, the cool, crisp tomatoes and onions, the garlicky tzatziki…embrace the madness! I also like some spicy mustard in mine, Thessaloniki-style.