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What Is Spinning Meat? Mystery Solved!

What Is Spinning Meat? America welcomes street food unlike any other country in the world. You are sure to find the simplest of Indian cuisine, Turkish food, and Nigerian food in almost all states.

This diversity and the penchant for consuming fast food have introduced the USA to spinning meats.

Yes, there is more than one type, but all are equally delicious. While most mistake this delightful concoction for food similar to a meatloaf, it couldn’t be farther from it.

Spinning meat is different. In texture, in flavor, and most importantly, “juiciness”.

Ottoman chefs came up with the idea of roasting stacks of thinly sliced meats vertically instead of the traditional style. This prevented the flavored juice from dripping directly onto the fire and burning off.

What Is Spinning Meat?

Spinning meat is kebabs, gyros, and shawarma. Chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, or goat is marinated in spices and then placed on a vertical rod to roast. It is a slow roasting process that preserves the moistness of the meat instead of drying it out. This is a traveling cuisine; therefore, the marination varies from chef to chef. The most common recipe calls for overnight marination. The meat is soaked in yogurt, cumin, coriander, onion, and garlic. Some might add a hint of five-spice, cloves, cinnamon, or star anise to enhance the depth of flavor.

What is Spinning Meat?
What is Spinning Meat?

Truth Be Told, Spinning Meat is Popular Globally

Thanks to the wonders of globalization, you can find the most authentic version (if there is one) right here in the U.S. 

Even though I haven’t tried one as delicious as the gyro in Greece, I can verify that there are some exceptional versions of shawarma you can enjoy without flying out.

Also, there are several tutorials you can follow where you mimic the ‘spinning meat’ by placing halves of onion on the top and bottom of the rod. But do this only if you are hard-pressed to try it at home.

Time for a confession. I tried this method and ended up with chunks of meat in the dish I placed underneath. Maybe the technique wasn’t right, or I’m not as gifted as the chef on YouTube. Either way, this dish is worth the effort.

How is Spinning Meat Made?

The sausage and meatloaf comparison often puts things out of perspective for anyone looking to try this scrumptious technique. 

Meatloaf resembles hamburger patties, and sausages don’t really have a texture. Spinning meats, on the other hand, aren’t just jam-packed with flavor but also brimming with layers of texture.

If one were to compare, spun meat is closer to rotisserie chicken (cooking technique) than other meat dishes. 

Marinated meat is packed around the metal rod and placed near a heat source. Most street-style vendors don’t cook the meat over an open flame. Rather a contained heater style range is placed vertically near the packed meat.

A Popular Street Food, Spinning Meat is Marinated Meat that Placed on a Metal Rod and Slow-Cooked for Hours Over a Heat Source to Ensure A Juicy, Flavorful and Unforgettable Meat Experience. .
A popular street food, Spinning Meat is marinated meat that’s placed on a metal rod and slow-cooked for hours over a heat source to ensure a juicy, flavorful and unforgettable meat experience.

This then cooks for several hours before it can be served. The best part about the spinning technique is that the meat is always fresh and warm.

The slight crisp on the edge right near the top always does it for me. The chewy meat and crisp, charred edges add a smokiness to the meat.

How to Enjoy the Best Spinning Meat Dish Ever?

Of course, when you find a vendor roasting delicious, juicy, flavorful lamb or beef on the steel rod, you will just want to get one of what they are selling.

But what if I told you it could be better? There are certain tricks to ordering spinning meat dishes. 

Keep the Meat Separate

Whether you are going for the homemade version or ordering out, keep the meat separate. This way, you can truly enjoy the taste of meat and its juices. 

There are quite a few ways spinning meat is served, and most of these involve some type of carbs served on the side, such as pita bread, a taco shell, or even rice.

You can ask for your choice of carbs and get meat delivered separately.

To Truly Enjoy the Juiciness and Deliciousness of Spinning Meat, Keep the Meat Separate from the Sides.
To truly enjoy the juiciness and deliciousness of Spinning Meat, keep the meat separate from the sides.

Mountain of Goodness

This is where you add your own twist to the dish. Choose a sauce you enjoy and get ready to assemble. If you have chosen rice, place a rice bed before adding the rest of the ingredients.

First place the rice, add the meat, then the pickled vegetables and salad, now top it off with a sauce of your choice.

Add Your Own Twist. Choose a Carb and Sauce You Enjoy.
Add your own twist. Choose a carb and sauce that you enjoy with your Spinning Meat.

My Go-To Sauce

Spinning meat often has a subtle flavor. For me, anything without a hint of spice isn’t worth having. Therefore, I have a sauce recipe that balances things out for me.

The ingredients are quite simple. All you need is some cilantro or parsley, a few cloves of garlic, some cumin, salt, and some yogurt.

You can adjust the thickness of the sauce with some water or lemon juice. Take all the ingredients, put them in a blender, and blitz away.

If you aren’t a fan of spicy food, then this is where you stop. For all the spice-loving readers, this is when you add some birds-eye chilis.

Add one or two chilis only to add enough heat to the dish. Your sauce should not overpower the flavor of the meat.

Adding spices like Cilantro, Cumin, Parsley and Garlic to Yogurt will make for a delicious sauce to your Spinning Meat.
Adding spices like Cilantro, Cumin, Parsley and Garlic to Yogurt creates a delicious sauce for your Spinning Meat.

Can You Find a Pork-based Version?

If the regular versions of this meat dish don’t work for you, then pork is certainly an option. But this version of spinning meat is best left to professional chefs.

Getting the right texture with any cut of pork is difficult. Therefore, authenticity can only be achieved by expert meat spinners (if there is such a thing).

Frequently Asked Questions about Spinning Meat 

Are spinning eat dishes good for people watching their weight?

Spinning meat dishes are a perfect balance for all food lovers. There is a helping of carbs, a rainbow of vegetables, a protein source, and healthy fats from the meat. Since the meat is spun on low flame, it doesn’t require additional oil or fats (butter, etc.) to get the right flavor.

Can spinning meat be keto-friendly?

Certainly! This is a versatile dish. Just cut out the carbs from the marination and the serving suggestion to enjoy a guilt-free meal. A keto version can be made with lettuce cups. You can add some shredded cheese and pepper flakes to the meet with caramelized onion before placing it into the lettuce wrap.

Can I preserve the cooked meat?

As long as you keep the meat separate from the carbs and the sauces, you can enjoy it for a few days. Store it in a glass container with a tight lid to prevent it from going bad.

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