Gyro sandwich with meat, onions,
tomato, and tzatziki sauce in a pita.
Gyros or gyro is a Greek dish, consisting of meat, tomato, onion, and
tzatziki sauce, and is served with pita bread. Gyros may also refer to the
sandwich, which consists of the same ingredients.
The name comes from Greek γύρος ("turn"), a calque of the
döner kebab ("turning roast").
The Middle Eastern shawarma and Mexican
tacos al pastor are similar to gyros,
and all derived from the Turkish
döner kebab which was invented in Bursa in the
To make gyros, slices of meat are placed on a tall vertical spit, which turns in
front of a source of heat, usually an electric broiler. If the meat is not fatty
enough, strips of fat are added so that the roasting meat remains always moist
and crispy at the same time. The rate of roasting can be adjusted by varying the
strength of the heat and the distance between the heat and the meat, allowing
the cook to adjust to varying rates of consumption. The outside of the meat is
sliced vertically in thin, crispy shavings when done.
It is generally served in an oiled, lightly grilled piece of
pita, rolled up with various salads and sauces. The pita and gyro themselves are
the only obligate ingredients; the remaining condiments to be added always being
at the discretion of the customer, even down to the amount of salt and pepper
Left: Skewers with gyros.
Gyros served in the United States usually use a ground processed meat, pressed
into large cones for cooking. Ground processed meat was also used in Greece
until the 70s, but it was banned after several cases of food poisoning
attributed to substandard storage. After a period of total ban, gyros was
reallowed in Greece, albeit only in the form of raw meat sliced in thin strips.