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What is a Gyro Sandwich?

A gyro sandwich.
Doner meat being cut off the spit with a knife.
A stack of fresh pita bread which is used in making gyro sandwiches.
Mustard may be served with a gyro sandwich.
Tzatziki sauce includes dill weed, along with yogurt and cucumbers.
Greek yogurt is used in tzatziki sauce, which adds coolness to a gyro sandwich.
Gyros often contain French fries.
Article Details
  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
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A gyro sandwich consists of various rotisseried meats, salad vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and onions, along with a yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. These ingredients are placed on a hearty form of grilled pita bread and served as a wrap sandwich. In some countries, it may also contain french fries or mustard. The type of pita bread may also vary, from the pocket style to a greasier round flatbread.

The meats used in a traditional gyro sandwich may be pork, chicken, beef or lamb. In Greece and surrounding countries, the term gyro sandwich may also refer to a similar sandwich called souvlaki. Greek restaurants in other countries tend to define gyro meat as a mixture of minced beef and lamb, while souvlaki is generally considered a marinated pork product. The lamb and/or beef used is often pressed into a conical shape, then placed vertically on a spit rod for roasting. Sandwich makers will periodically shave off generous portions of this meat and sear it on a grill.

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The grilled meat is then placed on a round piece of warmed or grilled pita bread. A traditional gyro sandwich sold in places other than Greece is notoriously oversized. Sandwich makers then add various ingredients, typically a leaf of lettuce, chopped tomatoes and sliced onions. Some makers add french fries at this point. The final step is the addition of tzatziki sauce, which is made with Greek-style yogurt, diced cucumbers, dill weed and a small amount of vinegar. The ingredients of a the sandwich are intended to work together, with the tzatziki sauce counteracting the spiciness of the meat.

Because a gyro sandwich can be prepared quickly with only a few ingredients, it has become a popular item on street vendors' menus. Many people encounter their first gyro sandwich at county fairs and other special events. Some grocery stores even offer sliced gyro meat in their deli meat section, or offer kits containing the meat, sauce and pita bread. This meat has also become a popular alternative to the traditional pizza toppings, especially in cities with a large Greek population.

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Discuss this Article

turquoise
Post 11

It's funny how some places that sell gyros don't know how to pronounce gyro sandwich!

serenesurface
Post 10

@anon50771-- Well, if you feel that a restaurant is not up to standard, don't eat their gyros!

But as far as I know, gyro machine is prepared in the morning and the meat is used up during lunch time. It's prepared again during lunch for dinner. So there shouldn't be any left over.

Also, as the meat cooks, it is sliced off and the new layer of meat is allowed to be cooked thoroughly before it is sliced off again. So there is no risk of it being under-cooked and bacteria ridden.

ysmina
Post 9

I usually eat beef gyros. I even make them at home myself. Some grocery stores sell gyro meat in the meat department. I buy my pita bread and gyro sandwich sauce and put it together at home.

The other day however, I went to a Lebanese grocery and they were selling gyro sandwiches there. I bought one to try and it tasted so different. It turns out the meat was made from lamb. There was also a different spice on it. It tasted odd to me, almost sour. I couldn't even finish it. I like beef gyros much better.

ZsaZsa56
Post 8

There is this Mediterranean restaurant close to me that serves this amazing appetizer. It is not authentic at all but it is delicious.

It is basically falafel wrapped in gyro meat and served with yogurt sauce for dipping. I know it sounds like something out of McDonald's Morocco, but it is really, really good. My wife and I get an order every time we go.

clippers
Post 7

I would like to make my own gyros at home but obviously I do not need an entire spit of meat.

Can I buy gyro meat in smaller proportions and maybe keep it in my freezer? How hard is it to cook?

jonrss
Post 6

I used to go to this dinner all the time that served what they called a gyro skillet. It was basically gyro meat cooked up with eggs, potatoes and a few veggies and then served with cucumber sauce. It was amazing! I could have eaten one every single morning.

anon202082
Post 4

I have worked in Greek restaurants where gyro meat was prepared on a vertical spit rotisserie, and I can tell you that an average cone of meat did not last for more than a few hours before being used up completely. I remember having to wash the skewer and other rotisserie parts in a big hurry in order to get a new cone started. If a restaurant really had meat rotting on the skewer, then it must be having a lot of other problems besides gyro sales.

The original ground lamb (some say goat) and beef gyro meat has a unique flavor that may take some getting used to. I prefer my gyro sandwiches to be overstuffed, with only lettuce, tomato, onions and tzatziki sauce. I've seen restaurants offer other ingredients such as feta cheese and diced bell peppers. The chicken gyro meat also has an interesting flavor, and it's not always prepared from a spit-roasted cone.

anon50771
Post 2

What about all the bugs that are multiplying inside when its cooking on the outside? I have seen some that seem to linger for days in shops near Birmingham, England.

olittlewood
Post 1

i'm a little put off by the meat, but love, love, love a good gyro!

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