Doner kebab in wood fired oven – Grillers' birthday cake

Even if it’s a birthday cake, we will do it our way. The recipe is a gift from Yorgos (George) Karagiannis, our friend and partner of our Youtube channel Grill philosophy. Here is a good old Doner kebab recipe with a slight difference; instead of grilling on rotation, we will cook it in the indirect wood-fired oven. It’s made of ground mutton and beef combined with a special mix of spices, herbs, and other ingredients. All the ingredients, the instructions, and details on the cooking process are listed below. Here’s an idea for grillers who wish to get creative on their birthday.

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  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) ground mutton (leg, with 25-30% fat)
  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) ground beef (brisket, with 25% fat)
  • 45 g sea salt
  • 7.5 g black peppercorns
  • 7.5 g mild curry
  • 7.5 g sumac
  • 7.5 g sweet paprika
  • 1.5 g allspice
  • 1.5 g nutmeg
  • 6 cloves
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 9 small garlic cloves or 6 large
  • ¾ bunch of parsley
  • 3 tsp peppermint
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 ml whole milk
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 9 small toast rusks

For the yogurt sauce:

  • 0.5 kg Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 30 ml garlic-infused olive oil (4 garlic cloves for 100 ml olive oil)
  • ½ tsp peppermint, finely chopped
  • 250 ml heavy cream

For the red sauce:

  • 250 g chopped tomatoes
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 large onion, pulped
  • 80 ml olive oil
  • Salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped


The mince must contain 50% ground mutton, and 50% ground beef, and 25% of the mince should be fat coming from both types of minced meat. When you start kneading, the mince should be very cold. You can place the mince in the freezer for 1 hour before kneading to make sure it’s cold enough. Use a large vessel to mix the two types of minced meat, and firstly, add the cold, refrigerated milk. Mix and knead well. Then, add the eggs, and knead well one more time. At this point, add the spices gradually, while mixing to distribute them evenly through the mince. We will repeat the phrase “knead well” several times since it’s an important factor if we want to get the right mince texture. 

After you have distributed the spices, and kneaded the mince well, smash the garlic cloves, and add them. Then, add the parsley, and the peppermint, finely chopped, and knead well. Dip your hands in cold water before handling the mince to keep it from sticking to your hands. It’s time to add the corn starch and knead the mince one more time. Finally, add the breadcrumbs gradually, and knead until the mince is no longer soft. In the end, the mince should be quite firm, and not oozy, so add as many breadcrumbs as necessary. After kneading well, cover the vessel. Refrigerate the mince for at least 12 hours. Ideally, keep it in the fridge for 24 hours. During this time, knead the mince once or twice.

Preparing the yogurt sauce:

Add garlic-infused olive oil, salt, and peppermint to 0.5 kg of Greek yogurt. Mix the ingredients, and add the heavy cream gradually until the yogurt is slightly runny.

Preparing the red sauce:

Blend the onion in a blender. Blend the tomatoes separately. In a small saucepan, add the onion pulp with some olive oil, and cook until translucent. Then, add the garlic, and cook for a few more minutes. Add the canned, chopped tomatoes, and then, add the tomatoes that you’ve blended. After simmering, add the salt, and the spices. Cook over low heat until there is only oil left in the sauce. Remove the saucepan from the stove, and wait until the sauce cools down. Then, remove the bay leaf, and transfer the thick sauce to a blender to make it smooth.

COOKED ON Indirect wood-fired oven

Indirect wood-fired oven


Preheat the indirect wood-fired oven, and place the clay baking tray with the “cake” in the oven’s upper chamber from the start – as the oven’s temperature keeps rising. Cook slowly, but make sure the temperature is below 200⁰C (392⁰F). Before preheating the oven, transfer the mince to a round cake ring (25 cm diameter). When the “cake” is done, and the internal temperature is 75⁰C (167⁰F), remove it from the oven. Wait until it cools down. Then, pour the red sauce on top and the yogurt sauce afterwards.

Enjoy with your friends. If you are a griller, we recommend this recipe for your birthday cake.

Happy grilling everyone!