Doner kebab is fillets of meat stacked on a vertical spit and roasted on a vertical grill. Doner (Döner) means “turning” in Turkish. 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 special doner knife, and an uncooked portion of meat exposed to the fire. Because the meat is vertical, it is self-basting, which helps to account for its rich flavor.
The supremo of doners is Iskender Kebap (“Alexander’s Roast Lamb”), named for a chef in the city of Bursa who created the dish. The lamb was originally raised on the thyme covered slopes of Mount Uludag, in Bursa, and is roasted à la doner, spread atop diced flat pide bread, then topped with savory tomato sauce and browned butter and served with a dollop of yogurt on the side.