Encouraged by taxmama-ga's high praise, and painfully aware that
you have not received notification of activity on this question,
I'm going to go ahead and post my comments as an official answer
before the question expires altogether.
I'm in AZ too, so I'd love to see you succeed with this. I first
tasted shawarma in a pita sandwich in Athen, Greece, in the 60s,
where it's known as gyros, and immediately thought that it would
easily rival hamburgers in popularity if it were brought to the
states. Unfortunately, most of the gyros meat is distributed as
pre-sliced, and it is considerably drier and less flavorful than
when it is sliced off the meat bundle as it cooks.
The machines are not too difficult to locate. A company called
Autodoner makes some very good ones, which are available from
the USA Restaurant Equipment Company:
More options on this page from ABestKitchen.com:
They may also be able to point you to a meat supplier, which
seems much harder to locate, if it's possible at all, since
the traditional way of "installing" the meat on the rack is
by adding strips of it onto the skewer until you have a full
slab, as can be seen in the layering evident in the photo
from this Wikipedia page on Shawarma:
Different combinations of meats are used, marinated in olive
oil and shawarma spices, as seen on this Amazon.com store:
Even if pre-formed meat slabs were available (my research
suggests they're not), I can't imagine that they'd taste
as good as freshly marinated and skewered on a daily basis.
At this juncture, I must express my appreciation to my
colleague, denco-ga, for having provided links to the
two sites which do sell gyro cones, while at the same
time, I'll stand by my recommendation of creating them
A blog named the Qatar Diary details how the shops in the
Middle East prepare the meat for the spindle, in an article
titled: 'Shawarma: Maker's envy, eater's delight!':
"Bhaktawar says it took him about two months to master the
art of making shawarma. 'Initially, I used to faint almost
everyday because of the heat coming directly at me.'
A shawarma shop purchases 15 to 20kg of chicken, beef and
lamb everyday. 'It never goes waste. All of it is over by
10.30 at night,' says the owner of another eating joint nearby.
At most shops, the shawarma maker starts slicing the meat one
by one into thin pieces at about 1.30 in the afternoon and
builds up logs of them on the cooker.
'The procedure takes about an hour,' Bhaktawar says.
You'll be surprised that at every shawarma shop your sandwich
'will taste different' because every shop has its own style of
'It's the difference in the spices,' Bhaktawar explains. 'An
Arab joint will make it differently, and an Indian joint will
make it differently, with a little more spice, whereas many
others make it bland.'"
"'We buy five kilograms each of regular beef and chicken. Every
night once the restaurant is closed we slice the meat up into
pieces and keep it in the freezer. The next afternoon, we
assemble it on the stick," says Mahmood Jamal, a professional
shawarma maker from Egypt. He says he was selected out of about
50 professional shawarma makers from Egypt who were being tested
for the job. Rojina makes the shawarma especially for Egyptians,
who 'like more of liver, kidney and brain.'"
More on the page:
Searches done: Unfortunately the amount of time which has passed
precludes my ability to retrieve the pertinent searches from my
browser history, but if you have any questions, let me know.