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How to make The Famous Atlantic Canadian “Halifax Donair”


Ingredients

Scale

The Donair Meat

  • 3 lbs lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients to assemble Donairs

  • Pita bread (for the wrap)
  • diced tomatoes
  • diced onion
  • Donair sauce – Click here for my Donair Sauce recipe – you might want to make double since 1 recipe of the sauce is good for about 3 donairs. The more, the better!
  • Mozzarella Cheese – this is an ingredient that’s been controversial in the world of donairs. See my note at the bottom of the recipe.

Other things you need

  • aluminum foil – for wrapping the donairs. You need to tear off 1 big sheet for each donair you plan to make.
  • You’re going to need a big stack of napkins… this is part of the experience 
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Instructions

How to make the Donair meat

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F
  2. Using a stand mixer (if you don’t have a stand mixer see my note below), combine all ingredients and mix well for 10 minutes on medium speed with the paddle attachment.
  3. Once everything is very well combined, form the meat into a tightly packed oval loaf.
  4. Place the loaf foil-lined baking sheet and cook in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Allow the meat to rest and cool down to room temperature. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to cool in the fridge overnight. NOTE: If you can’t wait overnight, see my note at the bottom. 
  6. The following day after the donair meat has chilled, cut the loaf into thin slices. I emphasize – thin slices are best.
  7. When you’re ready to make the donair wrap, move on to the next section. You’re ready, aren’t you… I know you are! 

I usually portion out the meat for individual donairs and put them in the freezer for when I want to make some. This recipe is enough to make 6 good-sized donairs.

To make a Donair Wrap

  1. Before starting, make sure you have all your toppings ready to go. Also, make sure you tear off a big sheet of aluminum foil for each of the donairs you plan to make. Make sure they’re big enough to hold everything! 
  2. Take a portion of donair meat and heat the slices up in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil on low heat. You just want to heat the slices up and not brown them too much – just a little darkened is nice.
  3. While the meat is heating up in the frying pan, take a pita and quickly wet both sides under running water. Now take the pita and put it on top of the meat while cooking. Once the pita has been over the meat for about 1 minute, flip it over and let the pita steam for another 1 minute on the other side.

    NOTE: I know this sounds like a weird step, but it’s necessary to make sure the pita is soft enough to wrap around all that meat – plus, you get a bit more of that donair flavour where it’s good! 

  4. Take the pita and place it on a square of aluminum foil.
  5. Top the pita with donair meat and remaining toppings as desired.
  6. Top with donair sauce. Click here for my Donair Sauce recipe
  7. Fold the pita around the meat and roll it up (like a giant taco, then fold over). Wrap the aluminum foil around the donair and place it into the oven for about 10 minutes to warm. (I usually set the oven to 350°F to warm them – this is great when you have cheese in them – so melty so good!)
  8. Repeat these steps for however many donairs you’re making.
  9. Peel the aluminum foil away as you eat the donair. Make sure you have lots of napkins in hand – donairs are famously messy and delicious! Proper donair etiquette calls for using your hands.  

Notes

If you don’t have a stand mixer to combine the meat, that’s ok. Use a food processor to make the beef very finely ground, and then you can mix in the remaining ingredients on pulse for a few minutes. Then mix by hand so that it’s very thoroughly combined.

If you absolutely positively can not wait to have your donairs and don’t have the time to chill the meat loaf overnight, you can use it immediately. In my experience, chilling the meat overnight allows the flavours to develop better, and it also makes it easier to cut into thin slices… and it’s best with thin slices. I’ve made donairs in a rush when I just couldn’t wait to get my fix, and they still tasted great… but I still feel chilling overnight creates the best texture and flavour.

Many donair purists insist there is no cheese on a donair. I put cheese on mine sometimes, and it’s delicious – so do a lot of other people… Even the original makers of the donair (King of Donair) allow customers to add cheese if they want – let’s not argue with King of Donair – if they say it’s ok, then why not??

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes to assemble and prepare individual donairs
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven/Stover Stop
  • Cuisine: Canadian

Keywords: beef, Halifax Donair, Trailer Park Boys, comfort food, wrap,