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In Greek, the word gyro or γύρο (pronounced YEE-roh) means "turn or revolution," and that's just what this fabulous cone of pork does on an upright rotisserie grill. Other versions of gyro adapted from the Turkish döner kebap or Middle Eastern shawarma are never made with pork, only lamb and/or beef (sometimes ground), goat, or chicken.
Making a gyro is a major undertaking, and for a professional such as Bobby Bounakis, the process took just under an hour from the time he brought in the fresh pork to the time the 88-pound gyro cone went up on the rotisserie to start cooking.
Bounakis knows from experience how many gyros to make every day. The day these photos were shot was a "slow day," so the cone weighed "only" about 88 pounds (40 kilos) to be made into gyro sandwiches on pita bread with tomatoes, onions, tzatziki, and french fries.Continue to 2 of 19 below.
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Start With the Pork
A pork gyro starts with thinly sliced pork leg, shank, or shoulder meat.Continue to 3 of 19 below.
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The Meat Is Seasoned
The pork slices are placed in layers, and each layer is lightly sprinkled with a seasoning mixture of salt, pepper, sweet paprika, and finely crushed Greek oregano (rigani).Continue to 4 of 19 below.
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The Meat Is Sprinkled With Vinegar
After seasoning, the meat layers are sprinkled with white wine vinegar.Continue to 5 of 19 below.
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The Process Is Repeated
The seasoning and sprinkling with vinegar are repeated until all the meat is seasoned and coated.Continue to 6 of 19 below.
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The Rotisserie Skewer Is Set Up
The skewer is set into a wooden base to keep it upright, and the bottom plate for the cone is set in place.Continue to 7 of 19 below.
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The Cone Is Built Up
Smaller pieces of meat are laid on the metal base plate overlapping so there are no spaces between the meat and the skewer.Continue to 8 of 19 below.
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The Cone Is Built Up Even More
As the cone grows, it widens out as larger slices of meat are added. Larger slices are draped around the skewer or threaded over it.
If there are small pieces hanging out at the edges, they are cut off and used to fill any space between the meat and the skewer so there are no gaps.Continue to 9 of 19 below.
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The Meat Is Compressed
As the cone of meat is built, it is pressed down to compress the meat so it is packed solid. The last step before placing the gyro cone on the rotisserie grill is to place a very thin slice of fat on top. As the fat cooks, it will seep down through the gyro to keep it moist.Continue to 10 of 19 below.
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The Cone Is Placed on the Rotisserie
Moving the cone is an event in itself, and once placed on the rotisserie, it is adjusted to a specific distance from the heating elements, turned on, and the cooking starts.Continue to 11 of 19 below.
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Gyro Is Ready
One hour later, the gyro meat has cooked enough on the outside to be thinly sliced. Now, it's time to make a gyro sandwich.Continue to 12 of 19 below.
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The Gyro Sandwich Starts With Pita Bread
Pita bread is brushed with a little oil and grilled on both sides to brown and soften, and placed on a piece of butcher's paper.Continue to 13 of 19 below.
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Add Thick and Creamy Tzatziki Sauce
A typical gyro sandwich with "the works" will start with tzatziki, a sauce made with thick, creamy Greek yogurt.Continue to 14 of 19 below.
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Tomatoes and Onions Are Next
Slices of tomatoes and onions finish off the tasty additions to a gyro sandwich with "the works."Continue to 15 of 19 below.
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Finally the Gyro Meat Is Sliced
Some places use electric cutters to slice very thin pieces and create more gyro sandwiches out of a cone, but at more traditional eateries, an old-fashioned knife is used to slice the meat in juicy strips.Continue to 16 of 19 below.
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The Meat Is Added to the Sandwich
A large portion of meat is added to the gyro sandwich.Continue to 17 of 19 below.
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French Fries Top It Off
In the Greek tradition, fries are added to the gyro sandwich. If you're going to eat this famous "street food," it's more convenient than "fries on the side."Continue to 18 of 19 below.
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The Sandwich Is Wrapped
The (huge) sandwich is wrapped up in the butcher's paper it was built on.Continue to 19 of 19 below.
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The Gyro Is Ready to Eat
A couple of napkins and a beverage are all you need to accompany a fabulous and authentic gyro sandwich.