Perhaps you are craving for something and want to have lunch on the Sunshine Coast. You can’t seem to pinpoint what it is. You like it meaty and tasty.
However, you’ve already had your burger fill for the week. What else is there?
What if you find there’s something so succulent, meaty, tender, and juicy out that is NOT a burger? Exciting, right? This may be the right time to be introduced to the gyro.
And no, it’s not some device to measure angular velocity, alright?
Folks, introducing the Gyro. Nope, it’s not Gee-row nor Guy-row nor Jai-row. It’s Yee-row.
First thing’s first, burgers are awesome! They are one of the most beloved comfort foods out there. However, it’s just as good to try other dishes too.
The variety gives spice and adventure to our gastronomic experience. Nothing beats discovering other dishes that may easily become one of your favorites if you give it a chance especially if you have lunch on the Sunshine Coast.
This time, let the spotlight be directed to the gyro. You might be asking, “What is that Gyro thing?”
Well, today is your lucky day as you get to find out more about this appetizing and enticing Greek specialty. There are delectable dishes out there that must be made more mainstream.
If not mainstream, at least be known by many. At this point, it can still be considered as a best-kept secret.
History of the Gyro
The gyro originated in Greece. It is pretty similar to the shawarma of the Middle East or the doner kebabs of Turkey in terms of preparation and overall characteristics but definitely unique on its own.
Since many US tourists in Greece love the gyro so much, it made its way into the American shores. It was not until the 1970s when it entered the mainstream market.
Since then, the gyro has become increasingly popular.
However, the gyro has not had its worldwide claim to fame. It has yet to be known by culinary fanatics all over the world.
To a certain degree, this is good. In a way, its authenticity has been intact over the years. There aren’t many versions of the gyro yet which makes it stay true to its original roots in Greece.
On the flip side, many also believe that the gyro should be made more popular. Well, it may not be as popular as the shawarma or even the burger.
However, it still needs to be more known than its current popularity rating. The gyro is so good and packed with nutrients, no contest there.
Unfortunately, many people are missing out on the gyro just because they don’t know about it yet.
Preparing the Traditional Gyro
Yes, gyros can be made at home. There are several online resources where you can learn how to make the gyro on your own.
However, the traditional way of preparing it requires a couple of steps. This is how it’s made in Greece and other authentic Greek/Mediterranean restaurants.
If you are not too keen on making them at home, it’s always entertaining to watch the experts prepare them.
The assembly line is visible to everyone. Restaurants may even have it that way to arouse people’s curiosity and entice them to go and try it. Talk about an interesting and effective marketing strategy!
What’s even better, you know exactly what’s happening to your gyro because it is prepared in front of your naked eyes. You know there’s no hocus pocus happening behind the scenes.
If you have been to a Middle Eastern restaurant, this type of rotisserie is somehow a staple. In fact, many use it as a gauge if a restaurant is authentic or not.
This type of rotisserie is vertical – it means it is different from what’s usually seen in restaurants and grills as a product of expert Australian shopfitting.
Because of its vertical orientation, it rotates sideways. The heat source also does not come from the bottom but on the front portion or on the side of the grill.
The grill is installed specifically to prepare authentic Greek and/or other Mediterranean dishes. However, it can also be a good DIY (Do It Yourself) project.
Because many culinary aficionados have already discovered the gyro, they have successfully replicated the grill by making their own version.
There are a lot of gyro grill tutorials online that you can do if you are feeling adventurous. Go ahead, try it!
The choice of meat varies. Some choose to have pork, others go for strictly lamb or chicken.
However, if we were to be completely traditional, lamb is the meat of choice.
At the end of the day, the meat choice does not make so much of a difference. The most important component is how it’s seasoned.
Different strokes for different folks as they say. If the gyro is going to be prepared at home, then one has the freedom to season the meat in whichever way desired.
However, the traditional seasonings used for the gyro are as follows:
– Sweet paprika
– Rigani or finely crushed Greek oregano
The next step is to do a dry rub. Dry rub means rubbing all these spices all over the meat pieces so everything gets an even coating.
When all meat slices are equally coated with the seasoning, it is time to sprinkle the meat with white wine vinegar.
To make sure that no piece or portion of meat is left out, repeat the seasoning and sprinkling of white wine vinegar a couple more times.
This part is interesting because the skewers go vertical. Instead of the usual grill setup where the skewers go from left to right, this kind of rotisserie goes upright.
Preparing the skewer is easy. Just have it through a wooden base so it becomes stable. When it is already steady and stable sticking upright, then you are ready to add the meat slices.
Remember the inverted pyramid principle when assembling the pieces of meat. Before piercing the meat pieces through the vertical skewer, they are arranged according to size.
The smallest pieces of meat go at the bottom and build up the cone with the largest slabs of meat on top.
Make sure to compress every layer of the meat so it is packed solid and firm.
Remember the principle of assembling the Christmas tree? You put the star on top of the tree as the finale, right? The same is true for the meat cone and instead of the star, make it any piece of fat.
As the cone meets the heat, the fat on top melts and slowly drips down to every piece of the meat.
Well, patience is a virtue. Your patience might get tested while waiting for the meat to get cooked because it won’t be ready until after an hour or so.
While waiting, you can set the table, play with your kids, watch TV, or better yet, workout to burn calories! Well, this is if you are making the gyro yourself at home.
If you are having it at an authentic restaurant, there’s no need to wait for one hour. They have the meat pre-cooked and ready for assembly. In one hour, your gyro is ready in just a few minutes!
The gyro is almost ready! Know that the meat is as good eaten as they are or with Tzatziki sauce. However, for the complete experience, building a sandwich would be so much fun. It will be ready in no time anyway.
The sandwich is made of pita bread brushed lightly with olive oil. Then, add the tzatziki sauce which acts as the glue, more like the mayonnaise is to the burger.
What’s next? The big, plump, juicy, and thick slices of tomatoes. Don’t forget the tangy and sweet slices of onions, too.
We are now ready for the star of the show- the meat! Though the meat takes a little time to cook, the wait is surely going to be worth it. The meat will be so tender and juicy.
Carving the meat an angle reveals these beautifully cooked and delectable pieces that are surely going to capture everyone’s hearts (and taste buds).
To get everything staying in place, the gyro expert wraps it in butcher’s paper. Most of the time, it will be served to you that way.
The gyro is special as it is. It’s good that Greek/Mediterranean restaurants are growing in number. This way, many people are exposed to other culinary treats other than the usual ones all the time.
Trying something different broadens everyone’s perspectives in terms of gastronomy and what it can offer. It also introduces and exposes us to the world’s amazing cultures.
With the more Greek and Mediterranean restaurants available serving gyros, more and more people are introduced to its awesome taste.
However, no one knows when it will become a mainstream dish (or if it ever will be). Anyway, that’s not the issue.
As long as it is made available for everyone, I think that won’t be so much of a hassle at all. Just let time take its course. See what plans it has for the gyro.