is filets of meat stacked on a vertical spit and roasted at
a vertical grill. Döner means "turning:" the vertical spit
is rotated, or turned, in front of the heat source (charcoal,
gas or electric). When the meat directly opposite the heat
source is properly roasted, the spit is rotated so that the
cooked meat may be sliced off with a huge knife, and an
uncooked portion of meat exposed to the fire.
meat is vertical, it is self-basting, which helps to account
for its rich flavor.
döner is translated as gyro, but may also be called doneri.)The
thin slices of meat are served lots of different ways: plain
on the plate, stuffed into Turkish bread (döner sandviç),
rolled into flat bread (dürüm), or laid atop diced flat
bread and topped with sauces.
döner is made from milk-fed lamb but in the 1980s a heart-healthier
alternative—tavuk (chicken) döner—became popular as well.
Today it's not unusual to see twin döners, lamb and chicken,
sizzling side by side.
of döners is Iskender Kebap ("Alexander's Roast Lamb"),
named for a chef in the city of Bursa who created the dish:
lamb raised on the thyme-covered slopes of Mount Uludag (which
rises south of Bursa) is roasted à la döner, spread atop
diced flat pide bread, then topped with savory tomato sauce
and browned butter and served with a dollop of yogurt on the
I consider this dish addictive!
Turkish Kebabs (Roast Meats)
kebab) simply means "roasted," and usually refers to lamb
roasted in some form, but may refer to chicken—or even (roasted)
familiar Turkish kebap is shish kebap: chunks of lamb
roasted on a skewer. It sounds simple enough, but to make it
best you need Turkish free-range lamb, a true charcoal grill,
and the knack for getting the outside singed while the
inside of each chunk remains soft and succulent.