Deli Meats 104 - Basics For Making Fresh Deli Meats
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 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.
Eye of the Round
1 Bag of Soluble Pa’s Black Bull BBQ Soluble Seasoning
Walton’s Automatic Syringe Injector
The first thing you need to do is decide if you want to remove the fat cap before or after you cook this. I like to remove it first when making deli meat. Cut off as much of the fat as you can without cutting too far into the meat. Remove any silver skin or membrane still attached to the meat.
Choose a marinade that includes phosphates of some sort, phosphates allow the meat to retain more moisture through the cooking process and since we aren’t going to cure this we can’t step it up in slow stages so moisture loss can be a major problem. Mix your seasoning into your water, making sure everything is fully dissolved. Inject your meat evenly with as much of the seasoning as the meat will accept. You will know that your meat is fully seasoned when the marinade start shooting back out the injection holes.
Hold the product overnight (or at least for a few hours) to allow the seasoning to more evenly disperse in the meat. My favorite way to do this is to put the meat in a vacuum bag and seal it. It does not need to be a perfect vacuum, simply remove as much of the air as you can from the bag, this will allow more of the marinade to stay inside the meat and will keep anything that leaks out to stay in contact with the meat, adding to the flavor.
Before you put your meat in the smoker or oven you might want to rub the outside with an additional seasoning. I like to try to choose something that will either compliment the marinade I used or something that will juxtapose it strongly enough to be easily noticebale. Rub as much as you want on the outside of the meat, since we are going to slice this so thin and this seasoning will only stay on the outside it is almost impossible to overseason a topical rub when making deli meat.
The cook schedule will be very simple for this type of meat. If you are using a smoker an important decision is to add smoke or not. When I made this I used our PK-100 Smoker but did not add any additional smoke to it.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
225° until the internal temperature is 132°
Remove from the smoker and cover in tin foil for at least 20 minutes. This will continue the cooking process for a few minutes and let the juice and blood absorb back into the meat. If you slice it too soon the juice will leak right out of the meat.
For sandwiches, it is preferable to slice your meat as thin as you can. This will depend on your slicer, trying to slice at the thinnest setting might not give you full pieces, select the lowest setting you can that will still produce full slices.
Making homemade Fresh Deli Meat is really very simple. You have probably made roasts in the oven before and this is the same process, just make sure you are marinating with a seasoning that contains phosphates and you slice it as thin as you can.
- If your preferred seasoning does not contain phosphates you can add some to the marinade to increase the water holding capacity of the meat, just make sure you do not exceed a usage of 2 oz per 25 lb of meat or you might get a soapy taste to your meat.
An important note is that once we have sliced it we have exposed the entire area to bacteria, this means we need to treat it like a ground product now and it needs to be refrigerated and consumed within 3-5 days.
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