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Deli meats that are a cut above the rest

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hi all :)

I thought I'd bring up a discussion on deli meats that are really a cut above the normal items you may find in the grocery store.

Now I'm not actually a big deli meat person. I've always found that flavor and textures are lacking in many deli items. No matter if it's some thinly sliced meats or deli cheeses...no flavor!

Now, although I'm not a deli person i do enjoy Boar's Head products. No matter what you buy...it's full of flavor...great texture...chicken taste like chicken and turkey taste like turkey. It really is a treat. Hmmm, maybe I am a deli meat person after all ;)

But setting even Boar's Head products aside. Have you found any cuts of deli meats that are really a cut above...even Boar's Head, Jamon Serrano, Prosciutto di Parma, etc.

Here are some of my favorites that I've found so far in the Chicago area, not in any particular order.


Petit Jesu - a nice salami product with great depth and oils that remind you of a certain black pig. I have noticed some inconsistencies with it. But still pretty darn tasty! Be sure to get it sliced thin.

Centimpalo Salamanca, Spain - A real nice eating Chorizo with good flavors.

Prosciutto di Parma Pio Tosini - Wow...this is really so delicate...so deep...so full flavored and irresistible. Right now (for me) this is second only to Iberico Bellota.

Jamon Iberico - I still think that if you have the chance to try regular Iberico side by side with Bellota don't pass up the opportunity. It no slouch! It also taste different enough from bellota that it warrants a try.

Jamon Iberico Bellota - I obsess about it's flavors, really. I wonder if it came out of popularity if the price would drop? I will either get a leg or partial leg at some point. I only wish I could find a reputable source that would have a little bit of a price break. Someday!


What are your favorites? Where are they available?

take care,
dan
post #2 of 33
Boars Head is # seller in New York and Florida. They do not compromise with meat quality. If they go into a store and the item is expired they make them dump it. Their hams are the best in the US. Their gold turkey breast also superior to most. Their cheese however is not made by them it is only distributed by them and overpriced. Your better off with store brand or Cabot brand:D
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post #3 of 33
Boars Head is by far some of the best deli meats we've ever had. Unforrtunately, their price is getting to the point that we just can't afford to eat them. I mean 10 bucks a pound for most of the stuff they sell here is becoming more than just a bit more than I'm willing to pay. Makes me want to make my own at home and don't think I haven't tossed that one back and forth across the table for discussion with the DW a couple dozen times. Unfortunately we need to invest more money in equipment/structure than we spend on the meats. Doohhh!!!!:rolleyes:
post #4 of 33
a good headcheese from the local european provisions, "veal loaf" from the same place....liverwurst with a slice of onion and some mustard. mmmm

of course jamon iberico.
post #5 of 33
I find Proscuitto San Danielle to be even better than Parma ham.

Boar's Head Black Forest Ham is a staple in our house.

If you like Boar's Head product try their frankfurters (not the all beef). Best hot dog ever, with a bite to the skin.

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post #6 of 33
[QUOTE=Koukouvagia;265794]I find Proscuitto San Danielle to be even better than Parma ham.

Boar's Head Black Forest Ham is a staple in our house.

If you like Boar's Head product try their frankfurters (not the all beef). Best hot dog ever, with a bite to the skin.[/QUOT

That is your opinion. We here feel its Hebrew Nationa l(all beef) franks,:D
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post #7 of 33
Well....not wanting to start a "Dog wars" again nor to split hairs (of the dog so to speak:rolleyes: )......Vienna Beef Franks are still the best in this former Chicagoans book. Unfortunately we can't get the Vienna Beef ones here so we have the Boars Head and Wellshire Farms brands as a close second. They are tasty but I guess it's that "Chicago dog" taste I grew up on that sets the tone for me;).

The Boars head Baked Virgina ham is our favorite in the hams category. Black Forest is enjoyed also but it's that Virginia thing that gets us. When in Rome.......Hehehe
post #8 of 33
I know Boar's Head is the most popular, but frankly, I think it's just average.
I find the turkey rather bland, and the Black Forest Ham has a strange, sweet, yet stinky taste. Forget the roast beef-bland bland bland.

The brand I always look for, and usually have to drive to Manhattan to find, is Schaller and Weber. The Black Forest has a clear, cured ham flavor and they have two other types of ham that are out of this world-Westphalian and Nusschinken ( a little smoked ham football) that tastes kind of like smoked prosciutto-delicious! Their wursts are wonderful, my favorite being Bauernwurst made with beef and pork and flavored with cracked pepper and mustard seed.

For roast beef, I love the Saval brand but have a very difficult time finding it anymore.
post #9 of 33
Pfffffft. Hebrew National.
post #10 of 33
Like Happy, we are not big fans of Boar's Head.

We smoke some or roast some "deli" meats ourselves. Turkey, roast beef, roast and/or smoked pork, for instance.

We don't buy much pastrami because there are lots of great overstuffed "pastrami-dips" in the SGV (Genes, Top's, The Hat); but when we do we buy from Langers. Sometimes, rarely, we make our own -- but it's a PITA.

We buy most of our salami, mortadella, cappicolla, head cheese, prosciutto, "hot dogs" (aka sosnichki) etc., from either a local Italian deli (Claro's) or from any one of a number of Armenian/Russian markets -- either one of the Jon's supermarkets or one of the small markets or meat markets in "East Hollywood" (aka Little Armenia) where we used to live. We get great quality and prices from many of the lesser known brands, Schaller among them, sold by the ethnic outlets.

Linda's not nearly as much of a cold-cut eater as I am, and I think she actually likes the Boar's Head Black Forest ham. My impression is that Boar's Head generally isn't as good as it used to be, but is more expensive, so I tend to avoid it when reasonable alternatives are available.

BDL
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post #11 of 33
Well of course it's my opinion, what else would I be contributing? Everyone is entitled to it or so I thought. And for what it's worth I grew up in our family owned hot dog shop in the south so I know my way around a dog. We offered boarshead exclusively but hormels did pretty well also (too salty for me). We tried offering some kosher hebrew national dogs for a while but we couldn't seem to give them away much less get anyone to buy them. And for some reason kosher dogs make my tummy ache without fail. Oh it sucks to be in NY sometimes, I miss good pork.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Hmmm...

While I do think Boar's Head products are better than the usual supermarket meats, I don't think they're a top tier deli meat :). I do think the other meats that I listed are a cut above (even) Boar's Head. I wonder what else is out there?

Latimes-charcuterie


dan
post #13 of 33
I'm not a huge fan of Boar's head, and choose not to use it - but lets face it, it is what is widely available for most.

For Salami, I rather prefer "Framani" or "Salumi" (I'm lucky enough to live in Seattle, -the shipping is outrageous), as far as commercially availibile products go.

Of course, I also have the luxiory of being "Chef de Charcuterie" for a restaurant, so if you ask me about Mortadella or Headcheese, I'm going to say "try making it yourself"
It may take you a few try's to come up with a product you like, but the rewards out weight the investment.

Use the recipe in "Cooking by Hand" by Paul Bertoli, as a starting point and you will find that Mortadella is just about as simple as any good forcemeat -You need nothing more that a robocoupe, plastic wrap and butchers twine to make it happen.

As far as hotdawgs go, I have but two criteria:
A. it is after 1:30 am and I've had no less than 5 cocktails.
B. It is from a street vendor who also stocks sauerkraut and good mustard.
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post #14 of 33
Most of the cooked roast beefs you buy are the pitts.
First most are bottom round USDA commercial '
Second they are boiled or steamed first ,then artificially colored ,then hit with a blowtorch type flamer. Not even roasted . Look at a lot of them they say Cooked Beef artificially colored. No place does it say roast. The worst one used is ARBYS which is chopped and formed. Years ago they were real roast beefs.. Times Change so did quality!!
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post #15 of 33
I've always enjoyed Dietz and Watson products.
A little too spendy for some of the places I've worked, but if I'm making trays for personal catering/family events, that's what I use.

Not saying it's the best, just that I am happy with it.

Dietz & Watson - Home

*Oh, and I have to add, their Horseradish Cheddar is the best I've tried.
Others have a hint of horseradish, theirs has actual flavor. ;)
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post #16 of 33
D&W products are the least expensive down here(wholesale) compared to others and they are not bad for the $.:D
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post #17 of 33
Just to make a clarification............Unless you have deep pockets or another avenue to make reduced cost purchases........You sometimes have to use what you can get and with that said, Boars Head brand is the best we've had based on that. The area we are in is really a black hole when it comes to getting a variety of good choices. If I wish to drive a couple hours in any direction, I probably could find some alternatives but then we're really talking about breaking the budget. :D But based on what we've seen elsewhere Boars head ain't all that bad and in defense of Boars head....... one of our most purchased meats at home has to be the Cap off Top round. I use this primarily since you can't get the local grocer to since your meats any longer and face it, unless you have a pro slicer at home, it's impossible to slice roast beef by hand for Hot Italian beef sands. ;) It is roasted, not marinated, low sodium, and when you add it to the seasoned jus of the sands, imparts a very good beef flavor. Still at 10bucks or more a pound for the label......it's becoming not worth it and I figure I could go buy that slicer and have it paid for in a year with as often as we eat Italian beef sands around here.:look:

When I was running my kitchens, we primarily roasted our own, beef, turkeys, corned beef from raw and the same with chicken for sandwiches. But these were whole cuts available for us to season and given the lack of qualified staff or the budget to pay for them it was a great deal of work to provide this quality of meat for our sands and salads. It was worth it though and our guests could always tell the difference.

As far as processed meat products went, I really liked the P.G. Molinari brand out of San Fransisco and would order from them whenever my vendors would allow. All of their products were outstanding. I would still order from them today but.......again, with the distance and lack of access to a purveyor.....it's definitely cost prohibitive.
post #18 of 33
Good point.
Here behind the Redwood Curtain it can be problematic to get things that people in the East take for granted.
A few years back we had a bad storm over New Year's, and all 3 lines of transportation, from the North, South and East, were blocked.
We were completely cut off from the rest of the world.
Just the fact that this could happen shows how, as much as I would like to think otherwise, we are somewhat of a third-world country up here.
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post #19 of 33
Look at some of the small home slicers. Mine is pushing 10 years old and I make smoked sirloin roast and thin slice it all the time for french dips.
post #20 of 33
Sometime I think Florida is a third world to. When I lived in NY I could get anything and get it fresh. Down here is the first time I have ever seen frozen cold cuts. Whether Sysco or anyone else, the Bologna is frozen, Taylor ham frozen ,dutch loaf frozen. It hurts the taste as well as diminishes quality .I ask why and they tell me well its hot down here. Thats bs, I think they order to much and have to freeze it or they buy more to get better volume priceing.:rolleyes:
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post #21 of 33
lol...behind the Redwood Curtain. JustJim I can almost feel your pain. Living in the Auburn/Grass Valley area we only get snow about twice a year and it maybe lasts a day or two. Any higher up like you the possiblity of getting snowed in and cut off increases dramatically. not to mention the roads get smaller and less maintained.
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post #22 of 33
I agree. Fra' mani's Salame Gentile is one of my favorites, and just thinking about Salumi's Mole is making my mouth water.

I'm a fan of La Quercia. Haven't tried them all, but the organic prosciutto (acorn finished pigs), coppa, and lardo are definitely a cut above. Haven't tried the speck yet but I've heard great things about it.

As far as roast beast, turkey, ham, and the like go, I just don't eat enough of it to have an informed opinion.
post #23 of 33
I like Pork Roll ;) from trenton of course.
post #24 of 33
I had recently seen that from Ritz (who are now out of business), when I ordered sliced deli ham, turkey and beef.
The ham showed up frozen.
I sent it back and asked them to send fresh.
They sent frozen.
Speaking with my rep, it was determined that they were in the practice of buying fresh and freezing, just the sliced ham.
So I asked them to order and ship fresh ham.
They sent frozen.
Their excuse was "well, we have this frozen ham, and we have to rotate product so..."
Because I was one of their larger accounts i was finally able to get them so order and ship fresh, while eliminating their frozen stock to establishments that didn't complain, and eventually everyone was receiving fresh product.
I even heard that many places were thanking me for getting them to change this.

Besides the quality issue with frozen, one of my complaints with frozen product was that I could no longer trust the "sell by" date, as it was often shipped after that date had passed.
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post #25 of 33
Diestel makes some pretty good deli meat, primarily turkey. they do a very spicy chipotle single turkey breast. makes a mess on the meat slicer with all the spices its coated with and the triangular shape do to it being an actual smoked and spiced turkey breast. but i think it was worth it all in all.

Niman ranch is a big free range pork producer, i don't know what deli meats they make, if any, but if your looking for good raw pork cuts...
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post #26 of 33
Thread Starter 
Acorn finished Berkshire pigs? I'll be trying to locate some of this for sure. Which looks like it may be a little difficult in the Chicago area. Although a few restaurants do seem to carry it, Tru being one of them. But I'd really rather get some slices at a deli. European Imports looks to be my best lead. Thanks!



The meat and ingredients looks great! How is the aging with their products?



thanks again!
dan
post #27 of 33
Amen....
Of all the hot dogs... Sabrett's for me!!
As for cold cuts... Boar's Head but there's not a lot of other choices. Used to prefer the old Deli's in NY that MADE their own Roast Beef. Boy, those were good sandwiches!
post #28 of 33
The guy at the deli I go to told me yesterday that they only use acorn finished pigs for the organic prosciutto. As far as aging goes, all I know is what I learned from this short video (1:44 - 2:00). Commercial at the beginning of it, sorry.

Happy hunting, it'll be worth it! :)

EDIT: I was assuming that you were asking about their aging process, not shelf life. If I was wrong just say so and I'll try to get an educated response from someone who carries their products.
post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 
          ok...I've been trying a good number of cured goods from time to time.  In my last batch I got...


    LaQuercia Prosciutto green label organic and Picante - I finally got to try La Quercia!  Both were really quite good.  I could see getting this for an everyday (or every week) prosciutto.  The flavors, depth, texture fat was all there...this is top notch stuff!  Although...compared to Iberico or Iberico Bellota jamon it isn't going to replace either of these two on the top tier of cured meats.  I have to say though...at 155 dollars cheaper per pound, it's a bargain!

    edit add:I just finished the last little bit of LaQuercia tonight, along with some bellota and a few other cured meats sitting beside some nice cheeses.  While it is good...it doesn't live up to any of the Iberico's or the Pio Tosini.  

Dreymiller and Kray Finocchiona - This was very similar to the high quality Petit Jesu but with some nice fennel tones.


   Since I've been going up to Chicago so often to get some Iberico Bellota (and other goodies) the guy in charge of ordering all the meats pulled aside an Iberico Bellota jamon end for me, at a greatly discounted rate.  It ended up being a little over a pound...oh what goodness it was to have so much bellota on hand.  I served it at a party I had at my house and the other half pound at work.  We had a Spanish feast that started with the Iberico Bellota...following we had a monster paella...everything turned out really well.  Oh how good!
  
  dan


small jamon.jpg



Edited by gonefishin - 4/27/10 at 9:48pm
post #30 of 33
I was going to say Boar's Head;) I love the cracked pepper turkey!
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