Columbus Donair Recipe

Chef Aaron Mercier 2022 Grilling Class Recipe

Columbus Donair Recipe

Chef Aaron Mercier, the executive chef at Watershed Kitchen & Bar, joined us for our first grilling class in 2 years! This recipe for Columbus Donair is based on a Nova Scotian adaptation of the classic Mediterranean sandwich, the Doner Kebab. This is a reimagining of a favorite college-era street food of mine. It incorporates the work of two standout local makers, Macelleria Butcher Shop in Bexley, and Black Cap Hot Sauce by Jack Moore, the owner of Ruffled Feather ferments. You can buy both the Merguez and Black Cap at Macellaria

Ingredients Snapshot:

  • Merguez Sausage (recipe follows or buy prepared) 
  • Black Cap Hot Sauce 
  • Onion Powder 
  • Garlic Powder 
  • White Distilled Vinegar 
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk 
  • Cucumbers 
  • Onions of choice (I prefer white) 
  • Kosher Salt 
  • Herbs Of Choice 
  • Lime Juice, lemon juice, or white vinegar

Merguez Recipe 

  • ½ tsp cumin seed 
  • ½ tsp coriander seed 
  • ½ tsp fennel seed 
  • 1 lb ground lamb 
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish 
  • 2 garlic minced 
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • ½ tsp cayenne 
  • Grill spray or olive oil and a cotton towel 

Mix together and then form around skewers for easy grilling. Sear on a hot grill then transfer to an indirect side to cook all the way through.

Cucumber Salad Ingredients & Recipe

  • 1 English cucumber, sliced thin 
  • ½ small white onion, julienned 
  • Herbs of Choice 
  • 2 tsp salt 
  • Lime juice to taste, or lemon, about 1 tbsp 
  • 1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

Mix all together and set in the fridge to marinate.

Flatbread Ingredients & Recipe

  • 375 g water, 90 F 65% 
  • 580 g AP flour 100% 
  • 14.5 g salt 2.5% 
  • 3.75 g instant yeast .65% 
  • 6 g Extra virgin olive oil, 1%

Mix all in a stand mixer on low speed to combine. Increase speed to medium, mix 8 mins. Rest dough 30 mins. Portion and shape, rest 30 mins. Can be held overnight and covered in a refrigerator. To bake, roll out into 5-8 inch rounds. Can be baked on a cookie sheet or grilled on a griddle. Can be held cold and reheated on a griddle, oven sheet, or even on the grill. Best if re-oiled and lightly seasoned for this step.

Donair Sauce 

  • (2) 14 oz cans sweetened condensed milk 
  • 4 oz black cap hot sauce 
  • 4 oz distilled white vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp each: onion powder, garlic powder, ginger powder 
  • 1.5 tbsp salt, or to taste 

Whisk all these together


Take pita and slide Marquez onto the pita. Top with cucumber salad and Donair sauce and enjoy!



We’d love to hear from you! Give us a comment on what you thought or if you have any questions. Check our grilling class calendar to join us at our next one! 

Grilling Classes


Chef Aaron Mercier 2019 Grilling Class Recipe

grilling class recipe

Japanese Inspired Summer Steaks with Marinated Green Beans, Fermented Blueberries, Grapefruit Kosho and Pepper and Strawberry Compote

Marinated Steaks

Bistro steaks aka petite tenders aka chuck tenders, etc, about ½ lb per person
2 tbsp white miso for every 1 lb steak
If needed, dilute the miso with a small amount of water to get it moving. Mix the steaks into the marinade thoroughly, and cover tightly. I have not discovered an upper limit to the marinating time: they keep getting better as they sit, eventually becoming basically a cured product.

Fermented Blueberries Recipe

Ingredients & Directions:
Toss blueberries in salt to coat, compress lightly in nested containers. Gently stir once per day for five days, more or less depending on ambient temperatures. If you want to be precise, weigh blueberries in grams, and add 2.5% salt by weight. Alternatively a couple teaspoons per pint should do it.

Grapefruit Kosho Recipe

Zest and juice of two grapefruit
Zest of four oranges
Zest of two lemons
4 small habanero, seeded and minced
1 sweet red or yellow bell pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp unrefined sea salt
2 tsp honey
Spread citrus zests out to dry at room temperature for 3-5 hours, then combine the rest of the ingredients. Kosho keeps for about a week to ten days refrigerated.

Pepper and Strawberry Compote Recipe

½ lb strawberries
½ lb red bell pepper
2 tbsp shallot
2 cloves garlic
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp mirin
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp water
1 Tbsp watermelon juice (or other melon or white grape if melon juice not available/too much hassle)
Rough chop solid ingredients, then combine everything but the watermelon juice in a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about an hour, then add the juice, pulse in a food processor and season to taste.

Marinated Beans Recipe

1 lb green beans
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup mirin (sweet Japanese wine)
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
(combine up to 4 days ahead, cover and refrigerate)

Summer Tapenade Recipe:

1/2 cup strawberry compote
1 tbsp fermented blueberries
2 tbsp marcona almonds
A good grip of assorted herb leaves. (I like mint, thai basil, cilantro, and parsley as a base combo but it can get really eccentric if you want. Lovage? Sorrel? Savory? Marjoram? Just grab whatever looks fun at the Saturday market and chuck it in here)
Cook and Assemble:
Prepare a grill for direct, high-heat cooking. Scrub your grates well. Temper steaks to room temperature for an hour before cooking. Grill to rare or, if you must, medium-rare (if you prefer a more done steak, select a fattier cut, such as flank or strip. Bistro steaks are lean and can dry out easily.) Rest the steaks.
While they’re resting, set up a perforated pan on the grill and drain the beans out of their marinade. Grill briefly at high heat. Slice out the steaks, and shingle them out. Place a neat bundle of beans next to them and then arrange a dollop of tapenade along the top.

Chef Ed Kowalski Grilling Class Recipe

grilling recipe

Grilled Blood Orange Flank Steak, Grilled Watermelon with Blue Cheese & Prosciutto, and Grilled Pound-cake with Balsamic-glazed Strawberries.

Grilled Blood Orange Flank Steak Recipe

1/2 cup blood orange marmalade
1/4 cup water
1/4 soy sauce
1/4 cup Goya Mojo Criollo
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp orange juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp grated orange zest
2 lb flank steak

Combine all ingredients except steak in a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Put steak in a covered container (or large Ziploc bag and add marinade, making sure meat is covered. Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight, turning occasionally. Preheat grill to 350-40 degrees F, remove steak from marinade and discard excess marinade (or use as a basting liquid). Grill steak for approximately 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare (130 degrees F internal temperature). Remove from heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice steak across the grain, serve.

Grilled Watermelon with Blue Cheese & Prosciutto Recipe

3 watermelon rounds (1/2” thick), quartered
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
4 oz. thinly-sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
4 oz. Blue cheese, crumbled
Fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
2 tsp. Balsamic glaze

Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees F (medium-high heat). Brush both sides of the watermelon with the olive oil and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Grill watermelon for 1 minute on each side, or until grill marks appear. Transfer watermelon to a serving plate, top with blue cheese, prosciutto, and basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve immediately.

Grilled Pound-cake with Balsamic-glazed Strawberries Recipe

¼ cup Balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 lb. Strawberries, halved or sliced
¼ cup Fresh mint, chopped
2 cups Vanilla yogurt
1 each pound-cake, sliced

In a small saucepan, mix together the balsamic vinegar and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes, until the mixture has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Toss the strawberries with the glaze and stir in the mint. Preheat grill to 350-400 degrees F (medium-high). Brush each side of the pound-cake slices with oil and grill for about 1 minute on each side, or until grill marks appear. Spoon vanilla yogurt over the pound-cake, then top with strawberries.