Types of Deli Meat (And What Is It)? - Deli Meat 101
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Types of Deli Meat (And What Is It)?
Fresh Deli Meat
One of the types of Deli Meat is fresh, or whole muscle, which are cuts that are fairly simple to make at home but are more difficult to keep in a deli or grocery store. They will be injected with a soluble seasoning, then cooked or smoked until they have 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 type of deli meat is made from 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 in a 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 either smoked or cooked, which will bind the separate pieces together into a single solid piece.
Reformed Deli Meat
A third 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, or Restaurant, or it will be sliced and packaged at a processing plant for sale in prepackaged meals or cold cuts.
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.
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