Thats a pretty bold statement but I can back it up. You can’t be from the Maritimes, or to be more specific, from Nova Scotia, if you haven’t had at least one donair in your life. And if you are lucky enough to live here you have probably had many a donair. Too many to count. All you others don’t know what you’re missing. I feel bad for you.
Now I’m hungry.
You don’t have to miss out though, you can make your own donair meat at home like we do.
We love our donairs so much in Nova Scotia that Halifax, the capital city, named the donair its official snack. For good reason. Just google the word donair. I’ll wait…. See, what did I tell you.
When we lived in Halifax, just about every weekend we would order our donairs from Tony’s Donair on Robie Street. The FoodNetwork describes donairs as “The sloppy sandwich is a pita filled with spit roasted shaved beef, served with tomatoes and onions, slathered in the signature sauce.” Thats about sums it up. They also say it is usually a snack eaten at midnight. I remember those days.
Back to our homemade donairs…
We started off with ground meat. Normally that would be beef, but we prefer ground pork. I should also mention we multiply the recipe by 4. No sense making a small batch. That would just be silly.
Then we measure out the spices including: oregano, flour, pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic and onion powder, and cayenne.
Jim stirs the spices to combine before adding them to the meat in the mixing bowl.
Once it is completely mixed, the directions call for the meat to be “thrown down with force 20 times, kneading it after each throw.” This makes the final product dense and easy to slice.
Next is forming it into loaves and into the oven it goes for a little over an hour on 350 degrees.
Here is what it looks like fresh from the oven.
After they are cool, we wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a container in the fridge overnight. If you are doing this don’t forget to put them in a container to keep the spicy smell contained.
This is when we break out our meat slicer. I suppose you could cut them by hand, we like the slices on the thin side so we bought a meat slicer a few years ago just for slicing donair meat. Hard core or what?
We also portion the meat for the freezer to have for lunches. Out of the freezer, we just heat the meat slices in the frying pan with a little oil.
Traditional donairs aren’t served with lettuce or cheese, but what you do in the privacy of your own home, with your donairs, is up to you.
Recipe for 450g (1 lb) ground meat
- 450 g (1 lb) ground meat (we use ground pork)
- 1 t salt
- 1 t ground oregano
- 1 t all purpose flour
- 1/2 t black pepper
- 1/2 t Italian seasoning
- 1/2 t garlic power
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper (adjust to your desired hotness)
When we do the batch of 4 lbs of meat the spice recipe is 4X as well. Except we reduce the cayenne pepper by half, so we only put in a 1/2 t cayenne pepper. We only like a little heat. Jim says he’s hot enough already. LOL!
Bake in the oven at 175ºC (350ºF) for 1 hr 10 min (approximate). If you use a thermometer, the internal temp should reach 175-180ºC.