Ravens tailgate gyros

Ravens tailgate gyros (John Thomas, grilling24x7.com / October 11, 2013)

Gyros are a food that you don't see at the tailgate too often. That's probably because the classic gyro meat is a pork meatloaf of sorts that is cooked on a vertical spit. It's pretty hard to pull that off at a tailgate. An easy way to overcome this, though, is to use grilled bratwurst sausage as the gyro meat. Bratwurst has a unique savory flavor that works well with a classic gyro tzatziki sauce — and the best part is that it is simple to grill.

Ravens tailgate gyros

Makes 12 servings

For the Gyros

2 packs flatbread or naan (at least 12)

3-4 tomatoes (sliced)

2-4 sweet onions (sliced thin)

6 ounces Feta cheese (crumbled)

2-3 packs of bratwurst

For the tzatziki sauce

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 garlic cloves

1 large cucumber (peeled, seeded and diced)

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

To make the tzatziki sauce, sprinkle the salt on the peeled, seeded and diced cucumber. Mix it up well and let it sit in a strainer or on a bunch of paper towels for about 30 minutes. This removes most of the water, giving you a thicker sauce. Put the lemon juice, garlic, drained cucumber and chopped dill into a food processor and process until smooth. Stir in the yogurt and refrigerate (overnight for best results).

Slice the tomatoes and onions and store in a transportable container.

When you arrive at the stadium, set your grill to medium-high heat and grill the bratwurst over direct heat. Turn often to avoid burning. When they are finished cooking, remove them from the grill and thinly slice the bratwurst lengthwise using a sharp knife. After the bratwursts are sliced, place the flat breads on the grill just prior to serving. Grilling the bread before serving is often overlooked at a tailgate but is such a critical step. Warm and toasted flatbread tastes great and takes the gyro to a whole new level.

Assemble the gyro with the grilled flatbread, sliced bratwurst, a few slices of tomato and onion, feta cheese crumbles and a generous amount of tzatziki sauce. I like to serve these gyros wrapped in a small sheet of aluminum foil in a serving basket. It reminds me of a Greek gyro that you'd get from a food truck or a street cart and it works great at tailgate.

John Thomas is the author of the Baltimore-based grilling blog grilling24x7.com.