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Old 07-21-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
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Making your own lunchmeats

I've been trying to eat healthier, and I have developed a major interest regarding how my food is made and from where it comes.

I really like deli foods. Unfortunately, I have found that many deli meats no longer like me. I do not know whether it is preservatives or what. (Even the "fresh oven-roasted turkey breast" seems to make me a bit queasy of late.) So this weekend, we used a sous vide to make a turkey breast for lunch meat.

I wanted the turkey to be moist and not to crumble when sliced. I also wanted something flavorful. Since we were not roasting the breast, we simply dropped the frozen breast into a food saver bag. Then the following items were tossed in:
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of dried herbs de provence
  • 1 teaspoon of hot shot (medium ground red/black pepper mix)
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon of onion powder
After vacuuming out the air, we sealed the bag. Then we put it in the sous vide and let it cook for a few hours (according to the recommended sous vide book setting.)

We put it in an ice bath immediately after removing it from the sous vide and then into the refrigerator until cold. Then we opened the bag and drained the juices before removing the skin and slicing.

It was very juicy and sliced beautifully. Even the next day, it remained moist and delicious. I think it measured up to anything made by the local deli - even the good one.

My sandwich had turkey, a bit of mayo, and avocado slices. It would have been near perfect with bacon too.

Does anyone else make their own lunch meats?

~Kathleen
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Old 07-22-2014, 03:28 AM   #2
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I've never made deli meats, but I did use leftover meats for Himself's lunch. That was back in the good ol' days when he used to work...*sigh*. But I digress. I would slice the chicken breast meat thin, same with roasted beef (eye of round made a very nice slice for sandwiches), boneless pork loin, and definitely leftover meatloaf. I'd make meatloaf just to have leftovers for sandwiches.
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Old 07-22-2014, 05:41 AM   #3
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I have experimented with various meatloaf recipes for cold cuts.

When I make meatloaf specifically for sandwiches I use Morton curing salt instead of table salt. It gives the finished product a rosy pink color similar to deli cold cuts. I intentionally over season the meatloaf that will be served cold or at room temperature to give it a little kick. Also weight the meatloaf after it has baked and leave the weight in place until it has chilled in the refrigerator. I have made them with ground turkey, beef and pork, whatever happens to be on sale at the time.

I have found that a spiral sliced ham can be a better value than lunch meat if you have a house full of people to entertain for a weekend. It can make an appearance at breakfast lunch or dinner. A half of a spiral sliced ham from Aldi's usually is priced at $1.49-$1.69/lb and certainly makes more of a statement than a plastic bag of deli ham for $4.00 to $9.00/lb plus you get the bone and scraps for a big pot of soup.

Roast pork, beef or chicken can also be a good value if you watch the sales.

Don't forget salad mixtures for sandwiches, egg, chicken or ham salad. The "ham" salad can be made from an inexpensive package of hotdogs ground in a food processor with some onion, pickles or horseradish, a little mayonnaise and some spices.

Cream cheese with various additions can also make a great sandwich filling, try chopped green or black olives, walnuts, pimento, etc...

Look at some of the cookbooks and brochures from the 1940's and 50's or take your inspiration from Dagwood Bumstead!

One final thought, if you are trying to eat healthier then it might be time to break the sandwich habit and focus on a salad or plate meal. Sandwiches are a fairly recent phenomenon in American meals. They did not become a big part of our normal eating routine until the great depression and the invention of the automatic bread slicing machine in the late 1920's.

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:40 AM   #4
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Thank you both for the comments and suggestions. I've been using leftovers, making salads, cooking meatloaves, etc. for decades. I've also been brown-bagging it for over 30 years. Ridding myself of a sandwich option pretty much rids myself of lunch on many days. (I can cut a sandwich in two bite pieces and eat it while I work - which is my only option on many days.)

I'm specifically seeking how to make deli-style lunch meats, and the turkey turned out good. To make it more deli-like, I would need a slicer - though the thinly carved pieces were delicious. I'm considering a rare roast beef next.

I doubt that I would have thought to make my own except that deli-purchased meats have caused some queasiness, and I believe it is because of the high salts and preservatives found in some products even when purchased from different sources.

Today, I have my turkey on homemade honey-oat bread with mayo, avocado, and I added bacon.

~Kathleen
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:40 AM   #5
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I never buy cooked meats for sandwiches. I sometimes buy a piece of raw gammon from the "good" butcher to cook myself and use it for at least one hot meal and sandwiches, salad, etc. Likewise a chicken (always buy whole ones as they're more economical than portions), or a small joint of lamb or pork. Almost all packaged meats for sandwiches contain nasties that enable them to stay on the s/market shelves for ages but spoil the taste and can give people unpleasant symptoms..

I used to salt my own pork to make ham or bacon, etc., but haven't done it for ages. Ridiculous as it may sound, I don't have time now I'm retired!
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:49 AM   #6
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This is a good basic recipe similar to what I make, I leave out the smoke and up the garlic. Sometimes I add marjoram or thyme. If you want more of a deli type texture instead of the meatloaf texture put a third of the meat into a blender with the water to make a homemade version of pink slime, it's gross but it does seem to do the job. When I remove the plastic wrap I re-wrap mine in aluminum foil and then bake them and allow them to cool in the foil wrapper.

Real Homemade Bologna Recipe - Allrecipes.com

You can use this as a starting point for things like pickle and pimento, olive loaf, dutch loaf etc...

Steve's Gyro recipe is also a good starting point, just change up the meats and the spices until you find a combination that you enjoy.

Homemade Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Good luck!
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:19 PM   #7
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What fabulous ideas from all of you! I'm c&p like mad.

I've gotten to the point I just hate all packaged lunch meat.

Fantastic thread Kathleen! Your particular kind of sous vide machine is on my wish list. I would especially like not having a permanent one on my counter.
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Old 07-22-2014, 06:07 PM   #8
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What a wonderful idea! My husband and I dream about getting a slicer and doing our own lunch meat...somehow it seems less like a dream and more of something we could actually do!
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aunt Bea View Post
.

Steve's Gyro recipe is also a good starting point, just change up the meats and the spices until you find a combination that you enjoy.

Homemade Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Good luck!
Kathleen, if you haven't made Steve's recipe you're really missing something. It's just an outstanding sandwich recipe.
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Old 07-23-2014, 08:52 AM   #10
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Going off at a tangent, I like to serve tzatziki with rollmops. It's a bit of a geographical stretch but I really think they go together.

As for the herrings I sometimes buy them ready made but I've been using this Delia Smith recipe which came from the original Cookery Course, for many years.

Soused Herrings - Herring - Recipes - from Delia Online

Not authentically rollmops but very good. Home-made lunchfish, in fact. They keep well if you follow the recipe exactly but obviously you shouldn't keep them in the 'fridge indefinitely.

NB I sometimes use cider vinegar but make sure it's the "real McCoy" and has an acidity level of at least 5% and has no additives (including metabisulphite).
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