Gyro are a staple in Greek cuisine where they are believed to have originated. Gyro have gained popularity around the world, but how they are made and ingredients used can vary greatly. Here’s what you need to know about what goes into authentic Greek gyro and how to assemble them.
What is a Gyro?
A gyro is a tasty Greek wrap (sandwich) or plate that is made with pita bread, gyro meat, vegetables, and tzatziki sauce. Even though gyro can be made with a wide variety of ingredients, something more commonly done outside of Greece, authentic Greekgyros are made with certain ingredients. When people want a gyro like one they would typically get in Greece, they make it in the traditional style.The history of the gyro goes back to the Ottoman Empire and by the 1970s the gyro was a popular fast food. During the 1970s, the gyro also made its first appearance in Chicago and New York City.
Traditional Gyro Ingredients
So, what is in a traditional Gyro? Here’s a look at the ingredients:
Greek pita bread is different than others on the market. The bread is soft and fluffy, and you need to get it right. If you don’t know how to make it, you can always buy it. Pita bread can be frozen so you can buy or make plenty of it in advance and freeze it so that you can always have it on hand for when you want to make gyros!
Gyro meat can either be pork, chicken, or lamb. Traditional gyro meat is cooked on a vertical rotisserie and sliced when needed. For homemade gyro you can use ground meat. The meat mixture will include red onion, garlic, fresh lemon juice, cumin, nutmeg, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. It’s a good idea to allow the meat to marinate for at least an hour before cooking. If you want to experience gyro meat as you would in Greece, you might be able to find a store that sells it.
Tzatziki is a sauce made from Greek yogurt, dill, cucumbers, and garlic. It’s also a main ingredient in a traditional gyro.
There are also other ingredients that can be found in gyros. They usually include vegetables, such as chopped tomatoes and onions. Some versions also include a little chopped cucumber. Feta cheese is nearly always an ingredient, as well. Some versions do include a few French fries, which is a common occurrence in Greece.
How to Assemble a Gyro
Greek gyros are always rolled. Since the pita doesn’t always hold together, it is usually wrapped in aluminum foil. This not only helps the sandwich hold its shape, but it also keeps it warm. Lay a large piece of foil on the counter. Place a pita bread on the foil. Spread with tzatziki and then add the gyro meat, feta cheese, vegetables, fries (optional), and another dollop of tzatziki. Roll the sandwich and then wrap in the foil.
Authentic gyros are a traditional food in Greece and all over the world. They make a wonderful lunch or dinner choice and can be eaten on the go or in a relaxed setting.