East Coast Spicy Donairs


Chef Dave Jenkins, University of Prince Edward Island

You don’t need your own spinning meat spit to make Chef Dave Jenkins’ spicy East Coast donair recipe at home. Chef Jenkins suggests asking the butcher to grind the meat three times to get the classic donair consistency. This recipe was adapted from Chef Jenkins’ original and modified to cook at home.

This recipe was adapted from Chef Jenkins’ original and modified, as necessary, for home cooks.

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East Coast Spicy Donairs



Donair Meat

3 lb (1.5 kg) Regular Ground Beef

1 tbsp (15 mL) smoked sweet paprika

2 tsp (10 mL) fresh ground pepper

2 tsp (10 mL) seasoning salt or plain salt

2 tsp (10 mL) EACH onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and dried oregano leaves

2 tbsp (30 mL) hot pepper sauce

1 cup (250 mL) dry bread crumbs

Classic Donair Sauce

1 can (300 mL) sweetened condensed milk

4 tsp (20 mL) garlic powder

¼ cup (60 mL) white or apple cider vinegar


1 tbsp (15 mL) canola or sunflower oil

4 large pita

2 tomatoes, diced

1 onion, diced

1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 head lettuce, shredded


  1. Donair Meat: Combine beef, paprika, pepper, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, oregano, hot pepper sauce and bread crumbs in a large bowl of a stand-mixer and mix with paddle attachment or in a large bowl and mix by hand, until evenly blended (careful not to over-mix).
  2. Pack into a lightly greased 9 x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Flip meat out of loaf pan onto a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake in preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for about 2 hours or until digital instant-read thermometer inserted in the centre reads 160°F (71°C). Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Cover and refrigerate meat loaf for 2 to 3 hours or until cold.
  5. Classic Donair Sauce: Meanwhile, combine sweetened condensed milk, garlic powder and vinegar in a bowl. Whisk until blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
  6. Donair: Cut about one-quarter of the Donair Meat crosswise, as thinly as possible, into slices. (Reserve remaining for another use, see Tip.) Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add meat slices and heat, gently stirring, until steaming hot. Transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
  7. Add ¼ cup (60 mL) water to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Very quickly dip pita one at a time in hot water, turning to coat both sides, until warm and soft. (Alternatively, heat in microwave for about 15 seconds.)
  8. Place each pita on a plate, top with hot donair meat, tomatoes, onions, cheese and lettuce. Drizzle Classic Donair Sauce over top. Roll up the pita and eat like a folded pizza slice.


Tip: Wrap the extra meat loaf tightly and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for 3 to 4 months. Extra meat can be used as a substitute for pepperoni on pizza, as sandwich meat or for snacking.

Any extra Classic Donair Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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