Recipe for Halifax-style donairs

Halifax-style donairs
Halifax-style donairsKaroline Boehm Goodnick for the boston globe

Serves 4

This gyro-like sandwich is a staple for college students and late-night revelers in downtown Halifax. Donair meat is usually sliced from a spinning vertical rotisserie, and it can be served on a pita as a sandwich or on top of pizza. Even among Nova Scotians, donair sauce can be polarizing, but don’t shy away from this sticky-sweet sauce. Make sure to be a bit liberal with the salt and pepper when seasoning the meat.


pounds ground beef
teaspoons onion powder
teaspoons garlic powder
½teaspoon dried oregano
1teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
3tablespoons ice water
Vegetable oil (for searing)
2tomatoes, chopped
1small white onion, finely sliced

1. In the bowl of a food processor combine the ground beef, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper. Pulse until seasonings are evenly incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon of ice water, then pulse again. Repeat with remaining ice water, pulsing after adding each tablespoon. Place meat into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.


2. Set oven at 400 degrees and have on hand a foil-lined baking sheet. Shape meat into a brick and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until meat is fully cooked through. Let the meat rest for 30 minutes, then slice thin. Turn oven to its lowest setting.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat a generous drizzle of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add donair meat and sear until bottom is brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and sear the other side. Remove from pan and place on a clean plate. Repeat with remaining meat.


1cup sweetened condensed milk
3tablespoons white vinegar
¼teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
Salt, to taste

1. Whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, and garlic powder, if using. Season to taste with salt.

2. Put the pita in the oven to warm. Divide the meat among the pita, top with chopped tomatoes and onions, and drizzle with donair sauce. Serve with additional sauce on the side for dipping. Sydney Oland

Sydney Oland can be reached at sydney.oland@gmail.com.