Gyros, Souvlaki, Kebabs - It's all Greek to Me

Gyros, Souvlaki, Kebabs - It's all Greek to Me

Gyros, Souvlaki, Kebabs - It's all Greek to Me

Gyros, souvlaki and kebab are terms quite often used interchangebly in the world of spit roasting but they are actually different. To confuse matters further, the meanings change again depending on the culture for example a kebab is typically something we think of as being on a short thin skewer, whereas a doner kebab is the meat cooked on the vertical spit roasters that people typically eat at 2am after a big night out.


Typically made from lamb shoulder or chicken thigh. The meat is cut into thin fillets and squashed onto a rotisserie skewer between 2 gyros discs. The meat is browned on the outside and carved. The uncarved meat continues to cook on the spit until it is browned and time to carve the outer layer again.

When gyros is cooked, it is commonly served with pita bread, lettuce, onion, tomato and tzatziki (Greek garlic dip.). Once the meat is wrapped in the pita bread with these other ingredients, it becomes a souvlaki. Most people would be familiar with a souvlaki from their local fish and chip shop or charcoal chicken shop.


If you’d like to have a go at making your own gyros, here’s a great recipe to try.


gyros kebabs souvlaki
gyros kebab souvlaki
gyros kebab souvlaki



There are 2 meanings to a souvlaki. In Australia, we typically think of a souvlaki as being gyros meat wrapped in pita bread with tzatziki, lettuce, tomato and onion, however in the Greek culture, there is another meaning.
Souvlaki can also mean small pieces of meat or vegetables threaded onto a thin short skewer. The term souvlaki therefore more refers to the skewer rather than a particular type/cut of meat because as I said, you can have vegetable souvlakis.

spit roasting chicken kebab



Anything put on a small thin skewer….but wait, didn’t i just say that was a souvlaki? Yes.



If you’d like to have a go at making your own souvlakis, here’s a great recipe to try.


Lamb Recipe

Doner kebab

Completely different to the kebab/souvlaki meaning I previously mentioned. The simplest way to describe a doner kebab is like a vertical gyros, but from different cuts of meat, or even minced meat. It’s more of a middle eastern tradition rather than a Greek cuisine.
As an aside, our beloved dogs name is Donna (the real CEO of our company) and growing up in a spit roasting family, she quickly got given the nickname kebab….Donna kebab





Still confused? Nevermind what it’s called. If it looks and smells good, just eat it!
You can also check out our previous blog post about cooking gyros on a bbq spit.

Rhiannon Peterson

by: Rhiannon Peterson