Have you heard of Lebanon bologna? Recently, this popular Pennsylvania Dutch cold cut has been popping up on my radar. When I found a picture of it, I instantly remembered a trip up to Lancaster County when I was a kid. I thought the bologna was salami - maybe because of the marbled appearance. My mother was so thrilled that I wasn't throwing a fuss over lunch meats (like I normally did) that she didn't correct me. It wasn't until I was much older that I learned this bologna with a tangy flavor wasn't salami at all.
This bologna is really making a comeback, and we think it's worth seeking out. Read on to find out a little bit more about this unique bologna product. We also included three of our favorite recipes (outside the traditional bologna sandwich, of course).
Lebanon bologna goes back to the late 1700s when Pennsylvanian Germans used old world curing techniques to preserve meat. Back then, there weren't any freezers or refrigerators to keep meat from going bad. Butchers would use a lactic acid starter culture and salt to cure the meat. Then, they cold smoked it over apple, beech, or hickory wood. This gave it a tangy flavor and a sweet finish.
Today, there are two producers of the tasty cold cut meat in Lebanon County. Seltzer's (the first) has been making Lebanon Bologna since the 19th century. The original recipe has been handed down generation after generation and they still make their bologna the old-fashioned way.
The other company (Godshall's Premium Meat and Turkey) has bought up the remaining competitors, including Kutztown Bologna Company and The Daniel Weaver Company, to place themselves as the second largest producer of Lebanon bologna in the United States.
The Recipes to Use
The history is all good and fun, but now we get to the really important part: what do you do with it? In short, use it anywhere you would use any other cold cut meat or salami. Eat it on sandwiches, use it on appetizer plates, or fry it and eat it with cheese.
No matter how you enjoy it, make sure you pay attention to the type of bologna you're getting before you proceed. Some Lebanon bologna is labeled as sweet bolognas, while the traditional kind is a savory, semi-dry sausage. You wouldn't want to mix the two up so be careful with your choices!
1. Open Faced Lebanon Bologna Sandwich
It doesn't get any more classic than this. The tangy sliced bologna is perfect when paired with sourdough bread, although you could also choose rye or whole wheat. Then just slather it up with spicy mustard, a few fresh tomatoes, and melt some ooey, gooey Munster cheese on top. Sounds like a perfect sandwich to me!
2. Lebanon Bologna and Cream Cheese Roll Ups or "Keto Sushi"
Pinwheels are one of my favorite holiday traditions, but I have to say - I've never thought to make them without the tortillas! It makes so much sense just to roll cream cheese and green chilies inside a dry salami (like Lebanon bologna).
3. Bavarian Wurst Salad
This recipe takes all of my favorite things and combines them together into a delicious package. Cubed Lebanon bologna, chopped pickles, and spicy mustard. Sounds like a winning dish to me!
Serve this alongside your favorite crackers as an antipasto or appetizer dish. Or, serve it with bread and cheese to make a robust platter. Get the recipe here.