While the idea of roasting pieces of meat on a rotating spit have roots which are thought to date back to ancient times, the modern gyro made its way from Greece to North America in the 1960s and was initially served at small restaurants in Chicago. As the Greek community grew in Chicago, there were a few contenders who claimed that they were the first to make gyros a fast-food choice. Whoever was responsible for it, the tasty trend eventually took off in the 1970s.
Gyro, pronounced “GAEE-ro” in English and “GHEE-ro” in Greek comes from the Greek word “gheereezo,” which means to turn. Gyros are essentially wraps made with beef, pork, chicken or lamb that is roasted with an array of herbs and spices. The traditional gyro can be made from distinct pieces of meat packed together on the rotating spit, or with slices from a uniform loaf of ground spiced meat, all wrapped in flatbread or pita.
Traditionally, in Greece, the meat used is pork or chicken, while in restaurants outside Greece, lamb and beef are also commonly used. The meat is cut into approximately round, thin, flat slices, which are then stacked on the spit and seasoned. Fat trimmings are usually interspersed. Spice mixes generally include salt, hot and sweet paprika, white and black pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder, and oregano. Additional spices are sometimes added (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, anise, coriander, fennel, allspice, sumac).
Gyros are always a popular choice when it comes to Greek food, the great thing about it is they are quick to assemble and are appealing not only because of their reputation for being utterly delicious but also because they can be eaten on the go. In the end, the gyro is a perfect (and traditional) fast-food alternative.