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Gryros - A Traditional Greek Sandwich

Gyro is a traditional Greek snack and made from mainly meat roasted on a spit combined with a special blend of spices, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki sauce. The Gyros is a very popular lunchtime snack that can be found all over the world.


The actual meaning of the Greek word Gyro is spin, and this is exactly what is done to the meat. The meats used are chicken, pork, lamb and veal, which is then piled on a cone and cooked slowly spinning using the direct heat of a grill or element. The layers of fat help to keep the meat tender, but at the same time the heat makes it crispy. An important part of the gyro is the spices that are added to provide that extra special flavour that helps make it such a great tasting sandwich. Some mixtures of spices that are combined with the meat include garlic, oregano, and pepper, paprika and salt. Other combinations used are allspice, cumin and parsley. When the meat is cooked it is sliced thinly from the cone, and placed in pita bread with onions, tomatoes and a yogurt, cucumber and garlic sauce.

This is an authentic Greek gyro, but there are various kinds of fillings used such as in Greece it is common to have thin fried chips in them. Vegetarian options are available using pickled vegetables, lettuce and mayonnaise, as well as the Arabic traditional food known as Falafel which is a deep fried ball of chick peas, and fava beans. The gyros in Greece are sandwiched in thin plain pita bread, but other breads are used that are crispier and flat.

The Gyros, a Greek word that is pronounced as "yee-ros" was in fact not created in Greece, but in Turkey in the 19th century. Here it is more commonly known as the doner kebab. Other variations around the world include the Middle East where it is called the shawarma. The first Gyros in the U.S was invented in 1960 in Chicago. There is much debate about who made the first gyros in the U.S, but nevertheless it is still an extremely popular food snack here as it is around the globe.

Make your own Greek Gyros...

Try making your own with grilled spiced meat pieces of your choice, sliced tomatoes and onions packed into pita bread and finally add a good dollop of the garlic sauce Tzatziki. Delicious.
Here we have put together the recipe to make you're won delicious sauce; although any sauce can be used, the garlic flavour of the tzarziki does give the more traditional taste to the gyros. The Tzatziki sauce can be used to accompany other foods such as salads, grilled meats and sandwiches.

Ingredients for your own Tzatziki

In a bowl mix together 500 ml of thick Greek yogurt, 6 cloves of crushed garlic, half a cucumber finely chopped, fresh dill, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, salt, and a splash of Olive Oil. Allow to chill.

Gyros are a reasonable healthy fast food snack, if you avoid the fried chips and fill with more salad vegetables.