Deli Meat 101 - What Is Deli Meat?

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    Deli Meat

    Deli Meat 101 - What Is Deli Meat?

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!


    What is Deli Meat?

    Deli Meat covers a wide variety of different types of meat but most types will be Ham, Turkey or Beef. Deli meat can be made a few different ways, it can be fresh, which will be a whole muscle cut that has been cooked and then sliced like a roast or some turkey. Or it can be reformed from smaller cuts or even an emulsified product that is then sliced and sold by weight for sandwiches and subs.

    Fresh Deli Meat

    The fresh, or whole muscle deli cuts are fairly simple to make at home but more difficult to keep in a deli or grocery store. They will be injected with a soluble seasoning, then cooked or smoked until it has reached a safe internal temperature and vacuum packed. They generally contain no nitrates or nitrites so they can have a dull color and the shelf life will not be the same as a cured product. If you are making this at home the meat should be consumed within 3-5 days, when sold in stores this variety is generally sold at a premium due to the costs associated with product loss.

    Restructured Deli Meat

    The more common way is multiple smaller pieces that are formed together to make the turkey or other meat loaves that you see in your local deli. To do this the smaller cuts will generally be injected with water-soluble seasonings and cure for a cured product, then they will be massaged and vacuum tumbler to loosen the proteins in the meat to help the products bind together during the cooking process. They will then be put into a preformed plastic mold, vacuum packed and then either smoked or cooked which will bind the separate pieces together into a single solid piece.

    Reformed Deli Meat

    Another way to make deli meat is to use smaller excess pieces of meat that will be emulsified either with a bowl chopper or a meat grinder, which turns the meat into a thick paste-like substance. Once this is done it will follow a similar process as when it is made from larger cuts that are pressed together. After cooking some of them will be lightly fried to give them a nice crust and add more flavoring. It will then either be packaged and refrigerated for shipping to your local Deli, Grocery Store and Restaurant or it will be sliced and packaged at a processing plant for sale in prepackaged meals or cold cuts.

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  • @Jonathon
    We’ll that was the first thing that came to mind the first batch i ever made. had a cold beer in hand and was sampling one and closed my eyes to savor the moment and the smoke aroma smelled just like i had a lit cigar in my mouth thus the term [meat cigars]

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  • @Jonathon Was there another thread or topic that addressed glycerine and using a vacuum tumbler?

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  • C

    @doug7777 142 degrees is a stalling point where the fat starts to render. I used to get very impatient and start cranking up the heat to get the INT to go up. That usually results in burning all the fat out of the snack sticks. Be patient. The temp will eventually start to rise again. Once it does, it will continue to do so at a steady pace. I have had snack sticks in the smoker for 24 hours or better due to having 25lbs hanging at one time. I have also had 4-5 lbs at a time in the smoker only take 4-5 hours total.

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