Deli Meats

Deli MeatsMeats of Mystery
Making the perfect sandwich starts with the perfect filling. We all have our favorites. For some it’s roasted turkey, for others it is ham, and still, others get even more in-depth with things like mortadella or capicola. There a lot of tasty deli meats available to make your new favorite sandwich but most of us tend to go with the tried and true because it’s a known.

Breaking out of your sandwich rut can be a flavorful eye opener. But where to start? Even the old standbys can be confusing…Virginia ham? Boiled ham? Black forest ham? Isn’t ham, well, ham?

To clear things up, we’ve made a list of some of the most common and not so common options for a sandwich and their different variations.

By far the most popular deli meat is turkey. You may see it oven-roasted, smoked, honeyed or buffalo-style (think buffalo-style chicken wings) but it’s all pretty self-explanatory.

You would think ham is ha— but that is not always the case. There is plenty of variety when it comes to ham.

Virginia Ham
A dry-cured ham from the state of Virginia, usually made from peanut-fed hogs, that is smoked over hickory or applewood. Virginia ham can also be called Country Ham.

Black Forest Ham
A dry-cured ham that has been seasoned with garlic, coriander, pepper, and juniper berries that is smoked over burning fir or other pine brush and sawdust. During the smoking process, the inside of the ham acquires a deep red color and the trademark black skin on the outside. A true Black Forest Ham comes from the Black Forest Region in Germany. Though there are many tasty versions available in deli counters everywhere, more often than not they are made domestically.

Roast Beef is the obvious choice for this category but it is not the only popular choice.

There’s nothing like a really good pastrami on rye for that quintessential deli experience. Pastrami is typically made from the navel end of the beef brisket which contains more fat than the typical brisket cut. It is then cured with a mixture of salt and spices before being smoked at low temperatures. After smoking, the pastrami is then boiled until it’s fully cooked. At that point, the pastrami is steamed to add tenderness and to make the meat easier to slice.

Corned Beef
Though some people mistakenly use pastrami and corned beef interchangeably, corned beef is very different from pastrami. Corned beef is made from the beef brisket and is brined in a salt water solution with other spices to cure it. The corned beef is then boiled until it is cooked through and sliced up for your sandwich.

Sausage making is a traditional meat preservation technique and it has become a lunchbox staple. There are so many varieties of sausage, and we are focusing on three of our favorites.

When it comes to bologna most people think of the highly-processed stuff in the yellow package that was that standard for elementary school lunches for decades. In fac,t true bologna is actually quite good and has way better flavor. Bologna is what’s known as an emulsified smoked sausage that hails from the Bologna region of Italy, made from finely ground pork sausage containing cubes of pork fat mixed with various seasoning. But, most importantly contains myrtle berries that give it its distinct flavor. However, because of USDA regulations, you will not find commercially-produced bologna in the US with detectable chunks of fat.

German Bologna
While similar to regular bologna, the German version uses a mixture of pork and beef as well as the addition of garlic to the mix.

Also an emulsified sausage, Mortadella is the largest of all the sausages. It’s made from a mixture of minced pork, pork fat and sometimes peppercorns, olives or pistachios. It can be recognized by its distinctive chunks of fat. Mortadella is traditionally cut into paper-thin slices and enjoyed as part of an antipasto platter.

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