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Viewers vow to never eat doner kebab again after ‘truly revolting’ video exposes how they’re made

Jess Battison

| Last updated 

It’s the early hours of the morning on a Sunday. You’ve suffered the shocking switch of the lights coming back on in the club, you’ve stumbled down the street with your remaining last friends standing, and you’re mumbling an order to the boss man at the takeaway.

And obviously, it’s a big dirty kebab. The slices of meat slathered in lashings of sauce and wrapped up in a blanket of bread is an integral part of a night out for many. But soberly learning exactly what’s in it could be enough to put party-fuelled you off. Maybe.

A YouTube video of Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped took a deep dive into the magical world of the doner kebab.

A Turkish delight, the meat is typically stacked up on a vertical rotisserie and spins around slowly in a cone shape behind takeaway counters in most UK cities and towns.


In the clip, presenter Jimmy Doherty snacks on a freshly made doner kebab and says: “Now look at this doner kebab - I want to find out what meat is in it because you can't really tell - it's just shavings. Quite bready. I don't know.'

He then chats with the shop owner who says his meat is lamb, but he wouldn’t be able to say what everyone else uses. Often, doner can be chicken, beef or lamb.

The meat is shaped into circular patties. Credit: Channel 4
The meat is shaped into circular patties. Credit: Channel 4

So, the presenter heads to Veli’s Kebabs factory in Staffordshire to find out just what is in the doner.


Having a look at the meat, a factory worker tells him: “This has come off one of the big supermarkets. They trim the meat up, they get it aesthetically pleasing for the customer, and the trim that gets leftover we get coming in.

“If [the meat] is labelled up as doner, which everybody associates with what's on a spit, it should be 100 per cent lamb. There are companies out there that are labelling up kebabs and they're containing beef and chicken - and there have been some instances of pork, which, for the Muslim community, is a big no-no.”

We can then see the kebab actually being made – and it’s not the prettiest.

Big pieces of lamb are shoved into a machine and diced before being pushed up into another machine where more ingredients are added.

The doner meat ends up spinning slowly on the rotisserie in takeaways. Credit: Channel 4
The doner meat ends up spinning slowly on the rotisserie in takeaways. Credit: Channel 4

Textured soya protein is used to keep prices low by bulking out the mix and then onion powder and salt is added.

Thanks to the salt, the kebab can then be cut into satisfying strips without falling apart.

Once all the mixing has been done, the ‘doner’ is 85 per cent lamb, five per cent bulking agent, 5 per cent rusk and 5 per cent seasoning. Then it's molded into thick circles to be stacked up onto a 'spit'. Oh, and there's a sheet of lamb skin in between each one. Nice.


Unsurprsingly, a lot of viewers are quite grossed out by the video, writing: “I never knew that. Never having doner.”

Others called it ‘disgusting’ and said they’ll ‘never eat again’.

However, we can’t imagine everyone will stick to their vow of never having a doner again when it comes to three in the morning on the way home from a night out.

One did write: “If you’re still capable of questioning what’s in it [a doner], you’re not p**sed enough to savour it.”

Topics: Food And Drink, Channel 4

Jess Battison
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