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How to Make Gyro Meat Using a Vertical Broiler

Last updated on 7/18/2018

Gyros, doner, and shawarma have been enjoyed worldwide for over a thousand years. Not only are gyro sandwiches delicious, but the giant cone of roasted meat helps attract customers and increase impulse buys, which makes them perfect for concession stands and foodservice establishments. In many parts of the world, gyro sandwiches are also paired with beer, so restaurants and bars could increase their beverage sales, too.

While gyros are typically found in Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern restaurants, any restaurant can learn to use a vertical broiler and start making their own gyros. Keep reading to learn about the difference between gyros, doner, and shawarma, what type of meat is used in gyros, and how to use a vertical broiler.

What Is the Difference Between Doner, Gyros, and Shawarma?

This dish goes by many different names depending on who you ask, but what are the differences between gyros, doner, and shawarma?

The dish originated in ancient Turkey, and it was called "doner," which comes from the Turkish word for "to rotate." The sandwich later spread to Greece, which was part of the Ottoman Empire. In Greece they translated the name to "gyros," which means "to turn." Later, the dish found its way to the Arabic world, where they translated the name to "shawarma." And while gyros and shawarma originated from doner, today there are some regional differences in how the sandwiches are made and presented. Here is a breakdown of each type of sandwich:

  • Doner Kebab: Doner kebab is made with roasted meat that is stuffed into a pita or a piece of thin flatbread. The sandwich also usually contains tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, onions, pickled cucumbers and various sauces.
  • Gyros: Gyros start with an oiled pita to which you add thinly sliced meat, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. Some gyro shops will also add fries to the sandwich.
  • Shawarma: Unlike doner or gyros, shawarma can be served on a plate and not in a sandwich or wrap. The plate contains sliced meat, and it is typically served with bread, fattoush salad, tabbouleh, tomato, and cucumber, as well as tahini sauce or hummus.

What Type of Meat Do You Use in Gyros, Doner, and Shawarma?

Not only are gyros, doner, and shawarma assembled differently, they can be made with various kinds of meat. Here are the main types of meat used for each sandwich:

  • Doner Kebab: Traditional doner is made with layers of seasoned lamb, chicken, or beef.
  • Shawarma: Shawarma is typically made with lamb or chicken, but you can also use beef, turkey, or veal.
  • Traditional Greek-Style Gyros: The original Greek-style gyros are made with thinly sliced cuts of pork or chicken.
  • Greek-American-Style Gyros: The original recipe brought over by Greek immigrants has changed dramatically over the years. Gyros that Americans are most familiar with are made with a mixture of ground lamb, ground beef, and spices. The mixture is then formed into a cone and roasted on the vertical broiler.

How to Use a Vertical Broiler

  • how to use a vertical broiler1.

    Slide your choice of meat onto the pole.

  • how to make gyros2.

    Turn on your gyro machine. Make sure to turn on both the left and right heating elements, as well as the motor, so your meat doesn't burn.

  • how to use a gyro machine3.

    Allow your meat to cook until it reaches a safe internal temperature and the outside is crispy.

  • how to make doner kebab4.

    Carve meat off the pole and catch it with a catch tray.

  • what is the difference between doner and gyros?5.

    Assemble your sandwich or pita, and you're ready to serve.


Whether they're served in a food truck, at a concession stand, or in a Greek or Middle Eastern restaurant, gyro sandwiches are delicious and they are an excellent impulse buy. Plus, vertical broilers are simple and cost-efficient to operate, which makes them an ideal choice for foodservice establishments.

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