You know you like to eat them (because delicious), but do you really know what gyro meat is? And are you saying it right?
The gyro – mispronounced by Americans across the nation – is a Greek dish made of seasoned meat. First, thinly sliced pork or lamb is sprinkled with white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, sweet paprika and Greek oregano. Then it’s threaded onto a skewer, rotated upright on a vertical rotisserie (sometimes called a “spit,” but we prefer to call it a rotisserie) and cooked with an electric broiler.
To build a gyro sandwich, a pita (hollowed flatbread) is layered with shaved gyro meat, tomatoes, onions and tzatziki – a Greek yogurt dip with cucumber, garlic and sometimes lemon, dill or mint.
An enigma wrapped in pita wrapped in tinfoil…
It’s believed that gyros originated in Greece (“gyro” means “turn” or “spin” in Greek). One thing we do know for sure, is that grilling meats on a skewer, like kebabs, has Eastern Mediterranean roots.
By the 1970s, gyros became popular in the United States. Some say Chicago first, and others argue it was definitely New York City that put the gyro on the map. Either way, you’ll find them served at almost every Mediterranean restaurant and as a common street food in both cities.
No matter where they came from, they’re tasty, affordable and convenient when on the go!
Okay, so how do you pronounce “gyro?”
Whether you say “yeer-roh”, “jai-roh,” “gear-o,” or “hero,” it always tastes the same! You really can’t tell by looking at it how you should say it. But for the record, the next time you go to order the savory, flavorful pita-wrapped meat sandwich, say “YEE-ROH.”