Gyros and burritos are two popular fast food items that shine a tasty spotlight on their respective cuisines. Thanks to their deliciousness, these savory dishes became globally popular. When you look at them, you will notice that they look alike, so one may wonder that are the differences between gyros and burrito and which one is considered better?
Gyros is a Greek dish exclusively made with roasted meat, while burritos can be with or without meat. The flatbread that wraps gyros is pita bread, whereas a burrito utilizes tortillas. Moreover, the meat in gyros is cooked in a vertical spit. Burrito can be roasted, grilled, or baked.
So, let’s put a spotlight on these two dishes. We will look at their origin story, cooking method, variations, and popularity around the globe.
What Is the Difference Between Gyros and Burrito?
To easily choose between gyros and burrito, you need to know their differences first. Luckily, you came to the right place because I’m going to share with you what exactly distinguishes gyros from burrito.
Gyros is one of the more common fast food items hailing from Greek cuisine. The word ‘gyros” translates to “turning,” which references the process of cooking meat on a rotisserie. The roots of its conception can trace back to the Ottoman Empire in the region that we currently know as Turkey.
In that time and place, the practice of making a vertical stack of meat and cooking it on a slowly turning spit started to catch on. Popular dishes like doner kebab, shawarma, and gyros were invented following that tradition. This is why gyros share similarities with shawarmas and doner kebab in terms of preparation.
Burritos have a long descending history as well. Since wheat was one of the earliest domesticated crops, making flatbread from wheat flour and wrapping it around food are also ancient methods. You can trace the root of burritos to the Maya civilization as early as 10,000 B.C.
As for the invention of the modern-day burrito, there is one popular folktale. Juan Mendez, a Taco vendor, rode around on donkeys, which are called burritos in Spanish. He used to wrap the food in tortillas to keep it warm. So, the food came to be known as “food of the donkey” or burritos.
The main ingredient in making gyros is meat, be it lamb, pork, chicken, or beef. Pork is often the meat of choice in Greek cuisine, but other options have become popular in the West. Vegetables such as sliced onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes, etc., all frequently accompany the meat in a gyros dish. Additional animal fat and various spices are also added.
The pita bread in gyros is invariably made from wheat flour. In Greek, pocketless pita bread is the standard for wrapping food like souvlaki. But pita with pocket is also common.
As for the ingredients in burritos, you will see a lot more diversity. Burritos can be with or without meat. But various vegetables are usually in this dish, adding plenty of color and flavor. The tortilla used to wrap the burrito is traditionally a wheat flour flatbread.
As the name alludes to, gyros are made on a rotating spit, also called a rotisserie. Thin slices of meat are placed on top of one another to form a vertical, almost conical stack. Then the meat is placed on the spit. The rotisserie slowly turns and cooks the meat. When it is time to serve, the chef cuts strips or pieces of the stack and leaves the rest in a rotating motion.
Pita bread is prepared separately. First, the flour and yeast mixture is allowed to ferment and become leavened, a process called proofing the dough. Then the dough is rolled into a flat circle. Finally, the pita is baked at high temperatures. This causes steam to form and inflate the dough, which causes two layers of dough to separate and form a pocket.
Then the meat, accompanied by vegetables or fries, is placed inside or wrapped by pita bread. Usually, one side is left open, so you can see a lot of the ingredients.
Burritos can be grilled, baked, or roasted. If it does have meat in it, the meat can be cooked in multiple ways. So, the specific method for cooking the meat is not the key part; it is the tortilla wrap that gives the burrito its signature style.
Of course, the process of making tortillas differs from making pita bread. For starters, the tortilla does not have any yeast in it. So, it solely relies on steam to puff it up. On the plus side, tortillas do not require any proofing time and are faster and easier to make. Tortilla bread is also much thinner than pita. So, there is no chance of pockets forming inside the tortilla.
After all the ingredients are cooked, all of them are placed inside a tortilla. Then the entire thing is rolled, and you have yourself a burrito.
Burritos have been a staple of Mexican cuisine for a long time. Thanks to its close association with the Latin country, burritos have also made their way into American culture. In almost every state, you can find a restaurant or a street food vendor that is dedicated to burritos. And with that comes a whole lot of variation to the core concept.
Gyros is one of the most popular fast food items in Greek cuisine. And its popularity has also found a home in Western culture and also in parts of Asia, though not to the extent of burritos. However, around many places in the world where Greek diasporas are populated, this dish is everpresent.
Gyros Vs. Burrito: Which is Better?
Gyros is pretty much a guaranteed hit among meat lovers around the world. And the soft pita bread is a perfect compliment.
What burritos offer is more versatility. You can be much more creative with this dish. And if you prefer the more crunchy texture of tortillas over the soft pita, burritos should be your go-to.
To sum up, whether you choose the Mexican flavor packed inside a burrito or the meaty delight of Greek heritage, these two dishes are sure to satisfy your taste buds and your stomach at the same time.