There’s nothing quite like a delicious sandwich made with fresh, high-quality deli meats. But with so many brands and options available, how do you know which ones to choose?
Deli meat, also known as cold cuts or lunch meat, refers to pre-cooked or cured meats that are sliced and served cold or hot on sandwiches, wraps, or party trays. Some popular types of deli meat include ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken breast, and bologna.
365 Whole Foods Market
Known for its high-quality and organic products, 365 Whole Foods Market offers a variety of deli meats, including Black Forest Uncured Ham and Oven-Roasted Turkey Breast. These meats are free from artificial preservatives and additives, making them a healthier choice for consumers.
While not offering a huge selection, Land O’ Frost provides classic deli meats such as oven-roasted turkey and Black Forest ham. Their peppercorn beef is particularly popular due to the added flavor from the peppercorns. This brand is a budget-friendly option for those looking for affordable deli meats.
A well-known and respected brand in the deli meat industry, Boar’s Head offers a wide range of high-quality meats, including turkey, ham, salami, and more. Their products are known for their rich flavors and premium quality, making them a popular choice for sandwiches and charcuterie boards.
Focusing on natural and organic meats, Applegate Farms offers a variety of deli meats, including turkey, ham, and roast beef. Their products are free from antibiotics, hormones, and artificial ingredients, making them a healthier option for consumers who prioritize clean eating.
Dietz & Watson
With a long history in the deli meat industry, Dietz & Watson offers a wide range of meats, including turkey, ham, roast beef, and various types of salami. Their products are known for their quality and taste, making them a popular choice for sandwiches and party platters.
A household name in the United States, Oscar Mayer offers a variety of deli meats, including turkey, ham, bologna, and more. Their products are known for their affordability and accessibility, making them a popular choice for families on a budget.
Offering a range of deli meats, including turkey, ham, and roast beef, Hillshire Farm is known for its quality products and flavorful options. Their meats are often used in sandwiches, wraps, and party platters.
Columbus Craft Meats
Specializing in artisanal and handcrafted deli meats, Columbus Craft Meats offers a variety of options, including salami, prosciutto, and more. Their products are known for their unique flavors and high-quality ingredients, making them a popular choice for those looking for something different in their deli meats.
A well-known brand in the meat industry, Hormel offers a variety of deli meats, including turkey, ham, and salami. Their products are known for their affordability and wide availability, making them a popular choice for consumers looking for budget-friendly options.
A family-owned company, Thumann’s offers a range of deli meats, including turkey, ham, and roast beef. Their products are known for their quality and taste, making them a popular choice for sandwiches and party platters.
A well-known brand in the food industry, Sara Lee offers a variety of deli meats, including honey roasted turkey. While not the highest quality, their products are widely available and offer a familiar taste for consumers.
Committed to sustainable and humane farming practices, Niman Ranch offers a variety of deli meats made from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. Their selection includes options like applewood smoked ham, roast beef, and pastrami.
Choosing High Quality Deli Meat
When selecting deli meat, it’s important to look for high-quality lean cuts, such as turkey breast or roast beef. These options are lower in fat and calories, making them a healthier choice for sandwiches and wraps.
When shopping for packaged deli meat, it’s essential to look for products that are fresh and have minimal additives and preservatives. Check the expiration date and packaging for any signs of spoilage, such as discoloration, an off smell, or damage to the packaging.
Deli meats can vary widely in terms of their nutritional value, depending on factors such as the type of meat, processing methods, and added ingredients. In general, leaner cuts like turkey and chicken breast will be lower in calories and fat, while processed meats like bologna and hot dogs may be higher in sodium and unhealthy fats.
Many deli meats contain additives and preservatives, such as nitrates, nitrites, and sodium, which can negatively impact your health when consumed in excess. Some brands offer nitrate-free and low-sodium options, so be sure to read labels carefully and opt for healthier choices whenever possible.
The taste and texture of deli meat can vary significantly from brand to brand and even between different types of meat. Some people prefer the smooth, tender texture of turkey or chicken breast, while others enjoy the rich, savory flavor of roast beef or ham. Experiment with different brands and cuts to find your perfect sandwich filler.
Healthy Alternatives to Deli Meat
Homemade Deli Meat
One of the best ways to ensure you’re consuming high-quality, additive-free deli meat is by making it yourself. Cook a whole chicken or turkey breast and slice it into thin pieces for sandwiches throughout the week. This not only allows you to control the ingredients but also offers the added benefit of being more cost-effective.
Nitrate-Free Deli Meats
As mentioned earlier, look for deli meats that are labeled “uncured” or “nitrate-free.” These products do not contain the potentially harmful nitrates and nitrites found in many other deli meats. Some popular nitrate-free brands include Applegate and Niman Ranch.
Vegetarian and Vegan Alternatives
If you’re vegetarian or vegan, there are still plenty of delicious, protein-rich alternatives to traditional deli meats. Some popular options include tofu, tempeh, and seitan, which can be sliced and seasoned to mimic the taste and texture of deli meat. Additionally, many companies now offer plant-based deli meat alternatives made from ingredients like soy, wheat, and peas.
What is the best deli meat to buy?
The best deli meat to buy is the leanest cut possible, such as turkey, chicken breast, lean ham, or roast beef, as they have the highest nutritional value compared to others.
What brand of deli meat is the healthiest?
Applegate Organic is a healthy brand of deli meat, offering products like Organic Oven Roasted Turkey Breast that are humanely raised, casein-free, gluten-free, and verified non-GMO.
Is Boar’s Head high quality?
Yes, Boar’s Head is a high-quality deli meat brand, committed to providing the finest ingredients, whole muscle beef, pork, and poultry, and spices sourced from around the globe for over 115 years.
What is the best brand of deli turkey?
Diestel Oven Roasted Turkey Breast is a top choice for deli turkey, as it is thoughtfully raised, organic, sugar-free, and does not contain carrageenan or MSG.