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Is there anything better than Boars Head cold cuts?

In a rather long sandwich thread, someone never heard about Boars Head and asked what was so special about them because people mentioned them so often in the thread.

What is so special about them other than they are not Oscar Meyer and usually fresh cut? Off the top of my head the only thing I can think of is that I associate them with being a better quality than generic deli meat but I can't tell you why.

I never did a taste off between Boars Head and Oscar Meyer or whatever other cold cut might be out there.

I did do a taste off between Boars Head pastrami and some locally made pastramis. It was second to the bottom, the taste being mainly salt.

I do like Boars Head Black forest ham, but again, never compared it to another.

From the website it says they don't use fillers, artificial flavors or colors, by-products or cereals ... so I guess that makes them special.

Very funny picture and recipe for a Dagwood sandwich on the site. I guess it is about presentation.

The Dagwood uses Boars Head bacon which I don't think I've ever tried. Any good?

What about the condiments? Anything especially chow worthy there?

I don't know about the bottled pickles, but if your market ever has a pickle barrel of whole pickles, don't pass these up. They are crispy yet so juicy ... almost succulant if a pickle can be that ... those pickles are reason enough that Boars Head should be in business.

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  1. Agreed -- better than generic as a brand, but not better necessarily than niche products. Our local independent butcher shop opened a year or so ago with a variety of imported deli meats and cheeses and finally had to capitulate to carrying Boar's Head in order to compete with Kroger, Marsh, and O'Malia, even though they are miles ahead of the chains on their other offerings.

    4 Replies
    1. re: grover78

      Boars head brand has very high quality products for being such a large company with broad distributorship. If you have local store that cooks some of their meats in house then they might be able to make a slightly better product, the reason being that they don't have to worry about preserving the meat as much: they can brine turkey with less salt, use literally zero preservatives (besides salt) and don't have to pack their meat in water because all the meat has to do is brine, cook and set in the fridge at wich point it is ready for the deli case. That is literally 72 hrs from raw meat to deli case. Considering it is logistically impossible for Boars Head match that, their products are really freaking impressive.

      Edit: I am 25. I have 10 yrs experience in the food service industry 5 of which are in a full service gourmet deli that has carried boars head and many other brands.

      1. re: deliguy

        The quality is hardly "very High". It is average at best. You even said it yourself that they are a large company and you compare the quality to the size of the company. They have the best marketing, and nice labels. And when you compare them to generic, they are better. Which is why they BUY their way into supermarkets. They BUY their way into stores so they can eliminate any competition. I have a few deli's in my area in Manhattan that carry Boars Head and Thumanns. I only order the Thumanns.

        1. re: buddyboyII

          By no means do I think they are all they're cracked up to be. I just look at what it actually takes to make good deli meat, and what different factors affect taste, freshness and healthyness (not a word but im tired) of the products, as well as draw from my experience having sold and eaten several different brands over the years. Based on that it is my opinion they they make an above average product given wich is impressive given the scale of their business (though a lot of old timers tell me they used to be better). There are a lot of boars head haters on this site, i think some of that is just because they are the big dog on the block now (and because it's a little annoying how powerful their branding is).

          Mind you when i say i've sold many different brands that doesnt mean im comparing BH to oscar meyer and hormel, we're talking apples to apples quality stuff.

        2. re: deliguy

          I am not really into cold cuts but Boars Head does seem to have a less processed texture to it, especially their turkey products. Locally we have Dietz & Watson which is pretty good but IMHO Boars Head is noticeably better.

      2. I always pick up Boar's Head bacon when I buy supermarket bacon. I've never done a taste test with it but I like it.

        1. BH mustard is very, very good. I believe it has white wine in it that helps make it stand out above the rest. I'm sure they use other quality ingredients in there as well. The taste is great!

          4 Replies
          1. re: Cheese Boy

            Boar's Head Deli Mustard is the best! I grew up with Gulden's, but made the switch when I was old enough to shop on my own...

            1. re: Cheese Boy

              The best thing about the BH mustard is that it uses less vinegar and more ground mustardseed than the usual grocery brands, and costs only slightly more. Over the years, the grocery store brands have been increasing the level of vinegar to give their product more shelf life, until the vinegar is all you can taste. The Boar's Head mustard ( I get the deli-style with white wine, but it also comes w/o the wine) tastes like mustard and doesn't pucker your mouth. It also has a little horseradish in it for extra zing. It can make even the blandest low-fat cheese sandwich taste delicious!

              I wonder if that's actually what people like about their coldcut sandwiches--the mustard!

              1. re: ClearEye

                We love that BH mustard...I bring a bottle out to my son in San Francisco whenever I visit him...it's really the best...AND lower sodium than most prepared mustards in case anyone cares...that's a great plus for our family!

                1. re: Val

                  For years and years, I used a NY mustard that I swore by . Then last year BH gave away a bottle every week with a different cold cut combo. My husband had to call me at work to tell me how good it was first time he tried it, which is highly unusual for him. Luckily my deli sells me a gallon at a time, we really go through mustard and that little jar doesn't even last a week.

            2. I must be in the minority -- I can't stand their products as every single one of their cold cuts taste the same to me (their use of preservatives, perhaps?). I will specifically NOT have a sandwich if all a deli offers is Boar's Head meats.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Carrie 218

                I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way, Carrie.

              2. NWORANGE, I suggest you need a point of reference. Contact www.salumicuredmeats.com. After trying some of their products, I think you'll find Boar's Head is just barely above Oscar Meyer in quality.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Leper

                  Yeah, I hope I didn't make it sound like I was a fan of Boar's Head. I just would rather buy them instead of Oscar Meyer if that's the choice.

                  I'll go with a house brand if available or something that might be imported. I guess I am wondering about why people do like Boars Head.

                  Thanks to the link to the Batali site.

                  And Carrie, long ago I did do a back-to-back taste test of BH corned beef & pastrami. Couldn't tell the difference.

                  1. re: rworange

                    I think people are brainwashed by Boars Head commercials, think everything else is garbage and that's why they're willing to pay 2 or 3 dollars a lb more. BH doesn't make their own cold cuts, it is made to their specifications at plants that make other brand cold cuts too, and there are plenty of very close imitations that are just as good, especially on a sandwich. Their Ovengold turkey is great, but now everyone has a solid breast of their own so I don't look for it anymore. Deli owners have told me their ham and bologna are the best, I guess they would know but I prefer Farmland ham and Wunderbar/German bologna myself. I will buy Boars Head when it's on sale, but only if it's the same price or cheaper than the generic. Their cheeses seem bland to me. Luckily nobody around here has only Boars Head in their case! They'd love to have a monopoly on deli meats, but it will never happen. Most of their stuff is just too expensive, even for the deli owners. I like Farmland bacon a lot better than Boars Head too, and most delis I know use it (for price as well as quality). I don't think I've ever bought anything Oscar Meyer, I have this weird impression that they have a lot of fillers, but now that I think of it I don't really know.

                    1. re: coll


                      I had to laugh when I saw this post about Wunderbar "German" bologna. It is my absolute favorite bologna... by far! It also happens to be the cheapest stuff ever marketed (it is routinely 99 cents a pound here in the Boston area). I believe it's made by a company called Russer, which also markets other cold cuts as well.

                      I can only imagine what it's made from!

                      I do tend to buy higher end hotdogs (Hebrew National in particular) but are they really worth the extra cost?? Probably not.



                      1. re: gusman2424

                        If you've got a Trader Joe's in the area - they have a great price on Hebrew National - $3.09 in the SF Bay Area, last time I shopped for them, 12/06.

                        1. re: gusman2424

                          Oh, higher end hot dogs are definitely worth the extra cost. Nathan's Natural Casing dogs for one, the Hebrew National's are also good. Cheap hot dogs are nasty, quality dogs (preferably with natural casings) are divine.

                    2. re: Leper

                      Who's gonna spend $33-37 per 2 lb. package of cured meats???
                      This is for rich folks -- get real!!!

                      1. re: KeepinItReal

                        Wecome to Chowhound. It's not really about price, but taste.

                        The problem I have with many of these artisan cold cut/sausage vendors is that even after spending all that money, the stuff isn't that great. For a while I was really ticked at local salami makers who were learning their craft ... most of them not very good ... and charging prices that should mean a tested and true recipe. I don't want to pay for someone's learning curve. Don't sell it until it is ready.

                        I don't mean that the link was to someone like that. At any price I'm unlikely to buy two pounds of cold cuts.

                        So ...$33 breaks down to about $16.50 per pound of something. Yeah, I'd spend about $4 for a 1/4 pound of coldcuts. Heck, a Subway sandwich is $5 ... and that is just garbage.

                        1. re: rworange

                          Thanks for the greeting, RWORANGE.. I've been here for ages, just lurking but I just had to chime-in on the outrageous price of that artisan vendor.

                          I agree wholeheartedly -- how dare they charge top price if they're still learning the craft?
                          It's more proof that young American business has a ugly sense of entitlement that leaves a bad taste in my mouth... nothing like former generations who prided themselves on precision, consistency & value.

                          I am a big fan of APPLEGATE products; the quality is amazing -- Plus it's free of anything unhealthy! When I was a member of Brooklyn's Park Slope Food Co-Op (the oldest in the U.S.) I could afford to buy these items since the price was considerably lower in comparison to regular supermarkets. Too bad the healthiest food is the most expensive in America... maybe more citizens could avoid the need for so much healthcare.

                          Yes, Subway is pretty nasty!

                    3. rworange, I am glad that you broke off from the sandwich thread to pose this question. I posted there about this, but my question was probably too on-the-fringe; you have given me another opportunity to ask:

                      How does Boar's Head compare with RENAISSANCE? Renaissance is a brand that our Albertson's Supermarket just began to carry. The server told me that it was superior to Boar's Head, but I wouldn't know. Can anyone vouch for this Renaissance brand? How does it compare to Boar's Head?

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: liu

                        Interesting. I saw the Renaissance brand the other day as well.

                        Curious ... did the Albertson's server explain how (or why) Renaissance was superior to Boar's Head?

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Hi, ipsedixit! "Did the Albertson's server explain..."

                          No, it was an order/look at my watch/and run kind of day, so I didn't stop to inquire. I will press on next time and try to find out why they are "featuring" this Renaissance brand...perhaps they get a rebate or bonus for what they sell!!

                          What brand does Whole Foods carry for their deli meats? Has anyone done a taste test against their brand? Bristol? Gelson's? I just don't buy a lot of deli meats, but I think I need to pay closer attention!

                          1. re: liu

                            i believe that Whole Foods uses Applegate.
                            no nitrites, no nitrates, no hormones, no antibiotics, no unpronounceable growth-promoting chemicals, animals fed a vegetarian diet, etc.

                        2. re: liu

                          When a local store switched the counterperson confessed that it was a much cheaper product. It also appears to have more additivies.

                          When I was growing up Boar's Head was the premium brand and it was obviously of much better quality than the other choices. But I don't think that is true anymore.

                          1. re: JudiAU

                            Oh, I know...I grew up with Boar's Head as the premium choice in supermarkets in Houston(read: not the mom n pop's or delis) and with their increased presence over the past several years I think quality's totally gone downhill.

                        3. BH are very good deli meats but there are exceptions to things they make that I like.

                          - Turkey - I find it too salty and I am fortunate that my grocer bakes its own breast so I can buy fresh baked turkey breast
                          - Black Forest Ham - In CT we also have a brand Karl Ehlmer that makes a much better BF ham than BH
                          - Salami/Bologna - Gotta go with Hebrew National or Shofar if available
                          - Chees - I like Land o Lakes for the American and the others i choose a non- BH brand as well.

                          So BH is the choice over generic or house brands, but there are others that if available are better.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jfood

                            I do like the BH imported gold swiss cheese.... I think it's the only product of theirs I like. It has a really nice sharp bite, and has the appropriate crystals.

                          2. I got an imported mortadella at The Cheese Shop in Indy on Sat. Most excellent and studded with pistachios. Boar's Head cannot come close.

                            1. Boar's Head is not available in any of the stores where I normally shop.

                              9 Replies
                                1. re: coll

                                  Coll, I agree. It's unfortunate people have to eat that crap loaded with sodium nitrites and fat and then wonder why they are ballooning or their BP has suddenly skyrocketed. BH is junk, with the exception of the mustard. I like their mustard -- the one with white wine.

                                  As an aside, do you have any idea what it costs to buy one of their routes? I know someone who fairly recently sold their truck and route. Negotiated pricetag, was over $350 thousand ... of which $100 thousand was under the table. Absolutely ridiculous sum of money for people who *deliver* baloney and baloney-related products. JMHO.
                                  If BH were to go out of business, it would probably help Americans eat healthier.
                                  I'd just miss the mustard, that's all. :(

                                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                                    I don't know offhand, but that sounds right. When you have a Boars Head route, your customers are supposed to buy everything form you, not that they do, but it's a sweet deal. I knew someone who bought a Tropicana route in the 70s and it was $50,000, so it's got to be somewhere around there. (And Boars Head doing "under the table" sounds right too, the route owners are unbelievably pushy) Well they sell more than bologna though, they've got cooked and raw roast beef, raw chicken cutlets, bacon..those are their bigger profit items, they charge a lot extra for these and try to force the delis to buy this stuff from them too. Well, it's a living I guess.
                                    My favorite mustard is Bauers, it's made in small batches in Long Island City, costs about $3 a gallon wholesale. Don't know if they sell little bottles of it though. I like any New York style deli mustard but can't believe the price they charge in supermarkets and delis. $3-5 gallon is what it should be in reality. Bet you pay that for a little jar! But I could make a sandwich out of just mustard myself.

                                    1. re: coll

                                      Beaverton Foods in Oregon makes really nice mustard under the names Beaver and Inglehoffer. Comes in little round jars. I didn't figure I'd see it again after we left Oregon, but we can get it in our very own little grocery store here.

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Whoa, you know quite a bit about BH. Impressive. I've never heard of Bauers brand mustard. $3 a gallon wholesale, wow! BH gets that much for a small jar! I know BH route owners and they make a very good living here in NY. They jokingly tell me that nowadays most of the deli owners they encounter are all named 'Mohammed'. A sign of the times I'm sure.

                                        1. re: Cheese Boy

                                          yes, I do love inglehoffer mustard.... Davidson Co. supplies my store with it, and it is tasty stuff..... def has a good bite

                                    2. re: coll

                                      seems like someone has a "beef" with boar's head. as someone with some inside info on the company and routes, your giving out alot of incorrect information. Coll get your facts right. anyone check out a boars head nutritional book lately? many items, even roast beef are AHA certified. and if you consider turkey broth a quality ingredient then bon appetit. b/c thats the 2nd ingredient in most other turkeys. they also use carageenen to make 4 lbs of turkey into a 8 lb piece. i will pay the extra money for a quality product from boars head anyday. anyone here should know with food you get what you pay for.

                                      1. re: nyc27

                                        You do realize, don't you, that the AHA gets a share of the gross and profits from every product it "certifies?" It's a complete crock.

                                    3. re: revsharkie

                                      imho, you are lucky that they aren't taking up space in the store.

                                    4. For "supermarket" cold cuts I think that Applegate does a much better job in the taste department. They're pretty salty, but they claim to be minimally processed and preservative and nitrate free...and I think they taste pretty darned good for supermarket cold cuts. Fairway (NYC only) and Whole Foods have them. I'm trying to eat more turkey these days, and Applegate has a turkey bologna that is really really good when you're craving that little kid comfort food sandwich.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ballulah

                                        Love Applegates beef hot dogs when I am trying to be healthy. Low in fat, calories and no nitrates.

                                        1. re: jenniebnyc

                                          I go one further and get tofu dogs when I just have to have a hot dog! I'm such a scatterbrain that I can never remember the brand that tastes exactly like hot dogs, and if I guess wrong I end up buying the ones that are disgusting. I even found a decent and tasty whole wheat hot dog bun. If you load on some good condiments, it tastes (mostly) the same...without the guilt. Haha.

                                      2. BH is not fantastic, just better than stuff like oscar meyers.

                                        In the NY area you can sometimes get Karl Ehmers, which are excellent quality meats.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JMF

                                          Agree about Karl Ehmer's. They also sell through their website quite a few of their products.

                                          1. re: RichK

                                            One of the only cold cuts I buy is Ehmer's country ham - it's delicious and, amongst friends and family, it's referred to as crack.

                                        2. Agree that BH used to be the standard but with increased awareness and accessability to boutique brands, it's no longer coveted as it was. For turkey, I always buy the in-store roasted, when availabale. The best ham I've found is Madrange French bistro ham. Roast beef is usually a disappointment, but my local market sells a sliced london broil that is delicious.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: greenstate

                                            just so you know, many in-store roasted turkeys are shot full of chemicals first.

                                            they look natural, but they are not

                                          2. I agree with Carrie. I don't like BH at all. They seem to have alot of sodium and water added, especially the turkey. I won't eat sandwiches with BH cold cuts. If I'm going to have a cold cut sandwich, I will go to an Italian deli with fresh meats.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jenuine cowgirl

                                              water added? did you just make that up? most of their turkeys have less than 2% "other ingredients" its just whole turkey Breasts!! many times those fresh meats are of a lower quality. your paying for the "homemade" not the actual quality of the product

                                            2. I'll join the "me too" crowd about the sad state of affairs where Boar's Head is touted as the best. Most of it is pretty pale and flavorless compared to good cold cuts. Living outside Milwaukee biased me though. I'd highly recommend the selection of cold cuts from Usinger's (www.usinger.com) -- the braunschweiger, landleberwust, yachtwurst, mortadella, teawurst, and coarse mettwurst were among our favorites. Of course, now I live far away so it is hard to get them, though you can sometimes find their ring bologna far from Milwaukee.

                                              1. Boar's Head bologna is my favorite. I wish I could get it here in the UK. I haven't tried the other cold cuts, though.

                                                1. I'm guessing that many of the posters on this thread live in areas where they have a lot of choice among deli meats. Many of you may live in a city with a tradition of pride in food handling. Some of you may live in cities that actually have independent delis and meat purveyors. Unfortunately, some of us do not.
                                                  We do not have delis here and what passes for a hot dog in most of our supermarkts makes Oscar Mayer look like Kobe beef. Given that sad state of affairs, the arrival of a sandwich shop serving Boar's Head was an absolute godsend. A year of two later two local grocery chains began carrying it. It beats the pants off of the local "no name" mystery meats. At least it looks like a recognizable animal product rather than a gelatinized pressed loaf.
                                                  And Cheese Boy - nobody "has to" eat deli meats, BH or otherwise. I limit my intake of this type of food just for the reasons you mentioned but they're a nice taste treat once in a while. It's time everyone stopped blaming food manufacturers for the nation's health problems. There is such a thing as personal responsibility. More people need to exercise it more often.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: rockycat

                                                    I worked in a grocery store deli in the Midwest for a few years in college (oh, god, that was 17 years ago...) and have to agree completely with Rockycat's assessment. What we served was CRAP and it was generic and it was no-name. My store was the average midsized-town store and that was the only deli meat available. Boar's Head is a huge step up from that.

                                                    I love all of my 'gourmet' grocery stores now but remember, as soon as you leave the city, in most cases, you're leaving them behind and you'll be stuck with Safeway and their store brand.

                                                    Oh, by the way, if it's not ham, turkey, or roast beef; it's been in that case for MONTHS.

                                                  2. I think that the Dietz and Watson brand that has ben making it into the Boston area ig good-also enjoy the Stop and Shop's roastbeef and some of their "healthy cold cuts"-read more expesive-are good.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: sandramrma

                                                      Ohhhh. . .my husband worked at a deli for a short time and he proclaimed Dietz and Watson roast beef to be the absolute best thing he ever tasted.

                                                      Re: the rest of the threads, I like Boar's Head, but in Florida, for turkey breast at least, I prefer Publix brand. I don't often get deli sandwiches so it's not a big deal to me, but I do make a point to seek out D&W if they have it available.

                                                      1. re: sandramrma

                                                        The Ahold owned Giant supermarkets in Maryland are currently in the process of switching from Dietz and Watson brand to Boars Head.

                                                      2. I have bought Applegate from WHole Foods several times and have had to throw it away- goes bad or is bad when I buy it. Also tastes nasty. There must be a reason that they put nitrites in cold cuts- to keep them fresh.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: emilief

                                                          Hmmm...I've never had that problem, and I buy them once, sometimes twice a week and have done for a couple of years. Do you buy from the deli counter or pre-packaged? Normally I'm not an advocate of the pre-packaged stuff, but I couldn't get to Whole Foods or Fairway last weekend and was stuck in my neighborhood where the pickins' are slim. I actually bought their pre-packaged prosciutto (something I never ever do, I make treks to far off places for better than the best prosciutto) and it was actually alright in a pinch. The slices weren't too thick or leathery, and the ham had that silky texture prosciutto should have. I also got some of the Genoa salami, and it was nice and thinly sliced and tasted great for convenience food.

                                                          I also like their regular roasted turkey, and the herbed roasted turkey. The uncured ham is one of the best tasting hams I've found outside of artisinal delis where they make it themselves.

                                                          1. re: ballulah

                                                            YES...the uncured, unsmoked, unmessedwith ham is the best...reminds me of ham I had at a french co-workers house- her sister got it thru customs on a visit and it was unreal...same unadulterated flavor

                                                          2. re: emilief

                                                            Even the applegate farms meats have nitrites in them!!!! If you read the label it says no nitrites added. That is not a lie, it is misleading though!!! They use starter cultures which once in the product start to creat nitrites on there own. If you were to have the product tested it would come back positive for nitrites.

                                                          3. I live in N.J. where we have access to quality meats. There are a lot of German butcher shops around; four in my town of Union. Most of the sub and sandwich shops use either meats from Boars Head, Thumanns, or Dietz and Watson. I think all are very good, though I haven't compared them side by side. I usually get a ham and cheese sub, and have found Boars Head ham to be great. Their beef hot dogs are excellent. Everything from Thumanns is good while their beef and pork franks are the best in the country. Best Provisions out of Newark, N.J. makes my absolute favorite beef frank along with Usinger's of Milwaukee. Best's makes beef products such as pastrami, corned beef, roast beef, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. Most of their meats are sold in Florida at either Albertson or Publix. I found out from the plant manager that the corned beef, pastrami, and roast beef sold at Wegmans Supermarkets under their label (Wegmans) is actually supplied by Best's, so it must be good although I've never tried it.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: hotdoglover


                                                              Since your from union. Is Kartzman's still around past Stuyvesant Village?

                                                            2. Shickhaus (sp?) bologna is a long time fav but dh does love cold cuts and BH meats are sold throughout NJ.

                                                              Cheese on the other hand I would not buy from a deli because we prefer to cut our own and purchase from cheese shops or specialty cases.

                                                              If I ate cold cuts often I would experience migraines.

                                                              1. The only reason to buy Boars Head or Deitz and Watson is you have way to much money to spend. Check out private label deli meats. Most are just as good as BH and DW. Why are they so expensive? Because BH and DW usually come in with wads of cash and tell the people they are selling to they can only cary their products. Money talks!!!!!

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: hammanny

                                                                  If nothing else I've been paying attention to what else is in the Deli Case because I couldn't think of anything besides generic, Oscar Meyer or Boar's head. I've noticed Saag's and Columbus though I'm not sure where they fall in all of this. I had a fantastic Columbus salami recently but it wasn't in the normal deli counter and was part of the artisan line.


                                                                  Like Columbus, there seem to be levels of cold cuts within a brand. A local cafe owner said the Sarah Lee turkey he was carrying was top of the line, real turkey breast and not the usual pressed version in the deli case. Haven't tried it yet.

                                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                                    Everyone is carrying a solid breast like Boars Head now: Sara Lee, Perdue and Plymouth just off the top of my head. I never see Oscar Meyer around here except precut in the cheese section. The poultry companies all have different levels of breasts, starting with totally processed (tumbled they call it, held together with carrageen), then next 3 or 4 separate "lobes" pressed together to form a breast, then you have the solid breast which is smaller because it's really a solid single breast.
                                                                    For example Perdue has 1 Star, 2 Star, 3 Star and 4 Star, each extra star signifying an increase in quality and price. the 1 Star is like a giant sponge, you can just about squeeze the water out. If you get the breast that costs between $6 and $9, you're probably getting the top of the line. Hey, at that price, ask them for a taste first, my delis usually give you one without asking!

                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                      more incorrect info. there is NO carrageen in BH products. did u get turned down for a route or something?

                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                        I live near the US border and have the option of Dietz and Watson, Sara Lee, Boar's Head or any number of Canadian brands. I do not know if it is the feed or what but Canadian turkey is not even similar. Even a Brand like Butterball is not even vaguely similar to its counterpart on the other side of the border. I was brought up in Canada so maybe that is why I prefer Canadian turkey

                                                                  2. I find it hard to believe there are better cold cuts than Boars Head. I've gone through alot of delis and nothing has ever beat Boars Head when it comes to cold cuts. Everything else seems less moist, less flavorful, less fresh, and dry.


                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: GurglingStomach

                                                                      I find it hard to believe you've never had better cold cuts than Boars Head. I'm curious what brands are available to you?

                                                                      1. re: GurglingStomach

                                                                        I agree with GurglingStomach. I don't seek out the high end deli meat, especially, but BH makes a darn good sandwich.

                                                                      2. Thumann's deli meat is by far the best!! It blows Boar's Head away in taste and is lower in sodium, fat, and not to mention it doesn't have any MSG like Boar's Head. All lean cuts and great tasting. I have sold Thumann's in my store for 20 years and my customers say I have the best subs in town. If you have ever been to the Jersey shore then you know what a good hot dog is, and you can thank Thumann's for that!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: docknee

                                                                          I love Thumann's deli meats and especially their hot dogs. I buy the Thumann's grillers (beef and pork in the blue package) and prepare them at home on my griddle. I never compared Thumann's and Boars Head cold cuts side by side, but I guess if you preferred Boars Head, you would go with them. I am a hot dog fanatic and am wondering where at the Jersey Shore you can get a Thumann's. Most of the places I've been to at the shore serve a Schickhaus frank, which is good, but I prefer Thumann's. Where is your store? I'd love to stop in this summer and have a sub.

                                                                        2. i dunno if it's just some shyster-ish grocer practice now to attempt and sell nearly bad or bad deli meats or if it's honest mistakes from the deli people --- but i've had to return ham and/or turkey twice to albertsons (dietz/watson) and twice to publix (boars head) in the last 6 mos or so.

                                                                          it's gotten so that i make sure to tell them i'm ultra picky and insist when i order: absolutely no slimey-ness and no irridescence on the meat and i make sure to inspect a slice first.

                                                                          oddly enough, a place where i haven't yet had a problem with quality was a walmart super center deli, and the turkey (honey maple) was delicious, though i can't remember the brand name. i know it was about $4 a pound cheaper than boars head. EDIT - it was called prima della.

                                                                          i've had several albertson's / publix deli people try to tell me the shiney slimey irridescence is 'normal' on ham and turkey. uh, yeah and no thanks.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: hitachino

                                                                            I wonder if the quality at WalMart could be due to the lower prices resulting in increased volume, and thus, fresher hams being sliced?

                                                                            1. re: Harmy

                                                                              One thing I found out about Walmart is almost everything they sell is made especially for them, in a cheaper way. I was happy to see Levi jeans for my husband at $20, but when I got them home they just didn't seem right. I contacted Levi and they told me that the normal ones are made here but the Walmart ones are made in Mexico, and are completely different. I don't know about their food products but an interesting insight nonethe less. They are big enought to have factories dedicated to just them.

                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                Many manufactures run a special product line to meet the price point for the big box stores. This is especially true with plumbing fixtures & tools. I wouldn't be surprised if the same is not true for certain food items.

                                                                          2. My doctor told me that if I'm going to eat deli meat to stick with Boar's Head because it has fewer nitrites. She doesn't strike me as a foodie, though

                                                                            1. I was reading this thread, and it was interesting. Boar's Head has gotten pretty big and there meats are manufactured throughout the country. Some items are made for them. Their ham items (bologna, Boiled Ham, Black Forest) all contain MSG. In NJ, I see a lot of Thumann's products. Boars Head has better advertsing. Thumann's has better meats. Land O lakes and Finlandia have the best cheeses (American or Swiss.) DiLusso Salami has no peer. But for ham, roast beef, chicken breast, CB/Pastrami, and a variety of Turkey items, I say Thumann's is the best. They now have an All Natural line where there is NO nitrates or garbage.

                                                                              The Shickhouse bologna stuff was funny. The albel says made with chicken and turkey and pork. It's just one big pink filler. My kids get the leaner healthier Thumann's.

                                                                              I eat steak. LOL.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: grandave

                                                                                Fortunatly, I can get to Usinger's. While my parents used to live across the street from a deli that served Boar's Head, I just like Usinger's better. The outlet store is a wonderful place. They do have lots more than sausage :)

                                                                              2. I think many posters who are citing independent Delicatessans are not reponding to the spirit of the original question. BH is not a boutique producer.

                                                                                BH Horseradish sauce has no preservatives, and is good. Their deli mustard with white wine and HR also very good. I find their meats lower in sodium and they taste better than Von's, Safeway, or Albertson's deli coldcuts.

                                                                                Now that Trader Joe's has the Uncured (no nitrites added) coldcuts, pastrami, ham, and roast beef, I buy those for sandwiches. I find them fresher tasting, and they last a week or two in my fridge meat drawer. The pastrami is some of the best I've ever had, and I've had some made by a childhood friend's Italian family using a very old family recipe.

                                                                                1. We go through a lot of cold cuts when camping at the beach in Panama City, FL. Last year we were running low on the deli sliced ham (Winn-Dixie cheapo house brand)... Ran up to Publix and bought some BH Black Forrest- there was no comparison! The Winn-Dixie house brand was way better- and way cheaper too!

                                                                                  1. I'm a fan of Thumanns for meats but nothing beats Cooper Sharp for cheese on a sandwich...sliced at the deli- yellow or white- both are very good

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                      When one is in a Stop and Shop or A&P, and faced with THEIR brand vs Boar's Head, BH looks like gold.

                                                                                      No, they don't compare to good deli coldcuts, though.

                                                                                      1. re: chef4hire

                                                                                        Fan of Thumanns here too. Tasted them all and Thumanns overall beats them. www.thumanns.com
                                                                                        I totally agree about that Cooper Sharp deli cheese. Blows all the American cheeses away.
                                                                                        This cheese has flavor that will hold up to any meat. http://www.schreiberfoods.com/schreib...

                                                                                      2. We have always been a fan of cooked ham rather than smoked ham for sandwiches, and grew up on Boar's Head Deluxe ham in New York. It has a distinctive flavor, and if you aren't interested as much in smoked hams, this is a pretty reliable product in terms of taste and quality.

                                                                                        Interestingly, Hormel now makes a low salt cooked ham that sells for about $3.00 per pound versus the $9.00 I have to pay for Boar's Head, and it is at least as good and satisfying a product. We swear the taste is nearly identical. The regular Hormel cooked ham, which Wal-mart sells for about $2.65 per pound, is a tad bit saltier if you prefer that.

                                                                                        My favorite cooked ham, however, is made in Canada, and is Madrange French Style ham. I am paying about $13 to $14 per pound for this. Despite a slight bit of fat rind, we really enjoy this flavor and texture.

                                                                                        I can't say whether the other BH products are better or worse than other major brands. They seem the same to me in terms of quality. I shop at different stores and therefore buy different brands all the time. Emil's makes a great Southwest turkey and other smoked turkeys, and Prima Della offers a great chicken breast. I have purchased Sara Lee turkey breast too, and was quite satisfied. I don't see much difference in quality or taste unless it is a speciality flavor, like the BH Lemon Pepper Chicken breast.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                          Boars Head, Dietz & Watson, and a few other companies produce quality meats. There is no comparison to the cheaper meats most stores carry. If you only knew what was in them. Ask the deli clerk to show you the label of your favorite brand next time you shop. It likely has modified food starch and/or carrageen (seaweed). Both suck up an enormous amout of water. Your meat may have little muscle definition, because it is made up of emulsified small pieces which are sucked of the bones. If you don't like the price of quality, but a smaller quantity. I would rather buy a half pound of quality meat, or do without, than to eat some products out there.

                                                                                        2. Alot of opinions and valid points on this thread.
                                                                                          While I don't eat processed meats often enough to have strong opinions I will say,
                                                                                          I just finished a BH roast beef sandwiche and you would be hard pressed to find another brand as delicious as this was!
                                                                                          Rare, sliced thin, tender and full of flavor. Has to be one of the best I've ever had and I will be back for more lol

                                                                                          1. We like some BH meats, like Virginia Ham but Schickhaus bologna is hands down better than BH bologna. Only buy cheese from a cheese spec shop or farm.

                                                                                            Occasionally the BH turkey breast goes on super sale and I'll buy it but I'd rather roast my own turkey breast and slice it.

                                                                                            1. The way that Boar's Head works is that they BUY their way into a store and the deal includes kicking out better brands. That way the only thing they are compared to is brands that aren't as good. So of course they seem like the best. But, If they were the best they wouldnt have to BUY their way into stores. BH is ok, but hardly the best. I prefer Thumann's because they taste as good or better, and Thumann's deli meats are healthier across the board. I found a document that proves this.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: buddyboyII

                                                                                                I'm going to back you up on the Thumann's recommendation. When I moved for grad school, it seemed as if Boar's Head was everywhere, and being touted as highend mass produced deli meat. I'd never seen it before, but when I finally began to order it, I discovered that it tasted like the same old cheap stuff my Mom always bought at Grand Union. Bland and flavorless.
                                                                                                But a few years ago, we moved to an area with Thumann's, and when I tried it, it was a clear departure from any other deli meat I'd had before that. The turkey actually tastes like real turkey, ditto the ham. Now we are off of deli meats all together, but Thumann's is the only one that ever really stood out to me (and I've also had a lot of Dietz and Watson at my sis's house -it's good,but not as good as Thumann's).

                                                                                                1. re: Cachetes

                                                                                                  Try a Thummans hot dog. I have yet to have a hot dog better than Thumann's Hot dogs. They are like potato chips you can't just eat one. Most other dogs have a salty, greasy after taste. There is a hot dog place in newburgh, new york called Pete's Dogs. They used to get their infamous hot dogs from a local packer. They were very good. That packing house shut down and Pete's now uses Boars Head hot dogs. The flavor was good but literally when I was done all I had left was the rubbery natural casing. As far as I know that was the only time I ever had BH hot dogs.

                                                                                                  1. re: buddyboyII

                                                                                                    I've stated that Thumann's makes my favorite beef and pork frank. But comparing them to an all beef dog is like comparing apples and oranges because the styles are different. I'd have to say that Boars Head all beef franks are one of my 3 favorite all beef dogs (along with Best's and Usingers) and I prefer them to Thumann's beef dog. I've been to Pete's and love their dogs. I've spoken to some of the regulars who claim they like the Boars Head better than the previous brand (Temple Hill) that was made by the now closed Newburgh Packing Company.

                                                                                                    Some people think the casing on the Boars Head is too tough, but the underlying dog is excellent. Boars Head beef and pork German style frank can't compare with Thumann's.

                                                                                                    I also think Boars Head meats are good, but I do prefer Thumann's. I know that all their products are made at their plant, while this is not true of Boars Head. Some of their products are made for them by other companies.

                                                                                                    1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                                      HDL, alas, Best's hot dogs are no more. Sara Lee shut them down in early 2009. We bought quite a few packages and stuck them in the freezer, but the supply is rapidly diminishing.

                                                                                                      1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                                                        I was referring to Best's in Newark, N.J. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

                                                                                                        1. re: hotdoglover

                                                                                                          If I couldn't get Best corned beef for St Paddy Day, I would be very sad.

                                                                                              2. Honestly, it is ok, but I find some generic just as good, I find some gourmet better. It is ok but not great. And I definitely don't buy it over other brands. It is average, but I'm not picky, a good honey or good black forest ham is good. I care less who makes it sorry, it just doesn't bother me. I can eat pretty much anything and not worry about brands. I have more fun with the people I go to visit rather than the food. So to me people come first ... food second. Even a sandwich, I make what I have. Not a big deal. However I always appreciate a great ham or turkey or cheese, but I don't get all bent up out of shape if it isn't a certain brand or a certain cheese. I just eat it and go on.

                                                                                                Mustard. Boars head is good, but had many others just as good 1/2 the price, just generic.

                                                                                                Maybe just me, but brand doesn't bother me. I don't like boiled ham but anything is fine for me. Yes, if I am paying for it in a restaurant I would hope a quality ham, but don't care what they use and honestly I would ask and just eat it regardless. There is way more to life there worrying over lunch meat. Sorry, I got better things to do and that is the least of my worries.

                                                                                                1. Boars Head 3 year aged Canadian cheddar, the best you can get in a supermarket, very sharp...

                                                                                                  1. I don't know if it's T H E best but I really enjoy the Boars Head rare roast beef.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: How2Wagyu

                                                                                                      It's so hard to find real rare roast beef now, it's all made in factories now due to health dept laws. Cooked on low for something like 8 or 9 hours.I like it when it sits in a pool of it's own blood, sorry if that grosses anyone out but that's how I think of rare roast beef.

                                                                                                    2. Maybe it's not a fair comparison but I think Whole Foods' in-store roasted turkey and roast beef are infinitely superior to any brand-name product.

                                                                                                      1. I haven't knowingly had anything Boar's Head recently but by recollection liked it a lot. Lately, I've been getting very thin-sliced salamis of different kinds (the spicy ones and the mustard ones) at Bristol Farms in L.A., and have been remarking to myself how much better these are than what pass for cold cuts in the prepackaged grocery store section for cold cuts. They're something you actually want to eat on some nice bread, with some nice mustard and cheese, like for dinner even.

                                                                                                        1. boars head cold cuts are clearly better than any of meats out there. someone mentioned its advertising strategies but to be honest i have seen much more oscar meyer commercials than anything. there's no comparison, boars head is the clear cut favorite. when I walk into a deli, no boars head no sale. its the same way for my friends and every person in my family.

                                                                                                          1. "Is there anything better than Boars Head cold cuts? "........

                                                                                                            In a word, yes.
                                                                                                            As the people with taste above have already said - Thumanns - especially their roast beef.

                                                                                                            1. You have ostracised the Northern state of Canada. No Boar's Head here (I think).

                                                                                                              Much of the Canadian mass-produced stuff comes from a billion dollar company called Maple Leaf, who had a serious listeriosis outbreak two years ago and haven't quite regained their reputation. A better comparison to Boar's Head would be a Toronto company - Brandt Meats. Really quite good.

                                                                                                              Meat processing goes a long way back in Canada, the first regulations being set around 1705.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                Is Schneider's still in business (Kitchener company I think)? They made excellent cold cuts.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                                    Oh, their mac n cheese loaf, a lunchbox staple.

                                                                                                                1. Re "is there anything better than Boar's Head": Yes. Neuske's. Their bacon actually takes like bacon and their braunschweiger liverwurst will make you faint if you put it in a sandwich with good mayo and crunchy green leaf lettuce, maybe a touch of Dijon. Hard to find, though, and pricey.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                    I would faint if someone gave me liverwurst with mayo and lettuce ;-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                      I'll agree about their bacon on both counts. Yes, it is extremely tasty and extremely expensive. But since I only cook bacon a few times a year I'm willing to spend the extra money for something so delicious. In my area at least, the bacon is the only product of their's I can find.

                                                                                                                    2. Hello everyone,
                                                                                                                      I have throughly enjoyed all the wonderful view points on BH. I am also opening a deli in a matter of weeks in th Rochester, NY area, and really needed this site to give me some options. We have a lot of selections but I want the best, not as far as profit but in taste. I believe that taste will bring better profit. So please if there are anymore suggestions lay them on me and I will do a personal survey to find my best. Thanks a buch everyone!!!

                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: RocCity

                                                                                                                        Roast your own deli meats (REAL roast beef, and especially turkey!) and you'll have customers lining up for them.

                                                                                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                          Delis used to be known by their roast beef and how they cooked it, but now they're not allowed to sell rare by law. At least in New York. Very sad, I don't want fake rare roast beef but that's all you can get now. No juice, and so salty tasting. Turkey I guess you still could, but the health inspectors are such a pain that it's almost not worth it either. Easier to just open a bag and plop it out, no questions asked. Maybe brown the top with paprika to make it look fresh cooked. Sad to say, it's like fast food now, not much difference between one and the other.

                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                            Every deli I go into in Westchester has rare roast beef. Is that just a NYC thing about rare? In whole cuts of meat like roast beef, as opposed to chopped meat, there is little danger of food borne illness.

                                                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                              I'm in Nassau/Suffolk although imagine NYC is as strict or stricter. This is strictly a temperature thing which of course can cause food poisoning. The meat has to be cooked to over 140 which takes away the rareness if you do it yourself. If the beef is not sitting in a pool of its own blood, it's probably factory cooked: they cook the roasts for about 9 hours at a very low temp, which retains the redness while eliminating everything else good about it. But it hits that government approved temp and has that nice rare look. Every deli I know used to buy trimmed and tied top rounds and roast their own, but I don't personally know too many places that do that anymore. Too easy to buy Boars Head.

                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                Prepackaged roast beef at its best can be edible, but no prefab turkey comes remotely close to the taste of fresh-roasted.

                                                                                                                        2. re: RocCity

                                                                                                                          When I lived in Chicago I used to travel from the South side to Devon avenue on the North side to pick up cold cuts. The cold cuts were all imported from Canada. Living in Rochester it is not that far to the Canadian border and I suggest you take a long extended trip to see what is available here. Brandts has been mentioned but Pillers makes some excellent salami. In Montreal a trip to Slovenia will introduce you to a number of excellent European sausagesas well as to the excellent stuff they make themselves. Since you are not going to be feeding the entire USA I might suggest you avoid nationally advertised brands and go for artisanal deli. Felix Mish in Verdun (montreal ) for example.
                                                                                                                          i live on the Quebec Vermont border and must say that we have some of the best deli in the world on both sides of the border but very little that you would find in a supermarket. We have some of the finest cheeses in the world and a large number of small butcher shops that prepare their own meats. It seems to me that great deli can only be made on a limited scale. I would think if you are serious in your desire to run a first class deli that there are any number of small scale operations that could supply your needs but there is lots of work to do. I will give you one heads up,, best hot dogs I have had are at Boucherie Viau in Hemmingford Quebec right on the NY/Quebec border where every month hundreds of Americans pick up monthly family meat orders.
                                                                                                                          You must visit Jean talon Market in Montreal and the Capitale deli see one of the best delis in North America but the Jean Talon Market will show you how exciting and diverse a food culture can be.

                                                                                                                        3. There are no absolutes. IMO Boar's Head is a high quality brand and if someone held a gun to my head to pick the best brand I'd go with Boar's head but there are also many other brands. Not every Boar's Head product is the best, someone mentioned Wunderbar baloney, holy crap that's the best baloney around and for routinely $1.99/lb.I refuse to ask what;s in it. Boar's head hands down has the best boiled ham in Boar's head Deluxe ham. I'm still looking for the best genoa salami (needs peppercorns). I wouldnt touch any of that pre-packaged stuff like Oscar Myer unless I wanted to barf. Boar's Head hot dogs are great but there are other good one's such as nathan's with natural casing (as far as I'm concerned a hot dog has to have natural casing and a snap). So in summmary, dont worry about finding the best brand though Boar's Head is top notch, look for the specific item which you like the best.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: emintey

                                                                                                                            Any Genoa salami you like better than others?

                                                                                                                            Nice well-worded post. I hope you post more on other topics.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                                                                                              Hormel DiLusso Genoa is the best. Their Sicilian version has the peppercorns. Farmland ham is better than Boars Head any day. Sabrett or Nathans are great, but I have to say Hebrew National may be better. For cheese, Great Lakes goes head to head at half the price. I could go on and on; as emintey say, Boars Head is OK if you're a stranger in a strange land, but don't think it's the end all and be all.

                                                                                                                            1. re: stevedgrossman

                                                                                                                              Hot Dog! The best except for Katz's on Houston St in NYC - but they don't do retail!

                                                                                                                            2. Myself i like Thumanns brand,but is very expensive,i always end up buying store brands due to cost,taste is not as good as a boars head brand,thumanns,But still very good.Think land o lakes cheese is the best,for spiced ham i like hormel,braunsweiger i think kahns pkg is best.for roast beef i love thumanns .

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                                                                                                                              1. re: cantbeatgoodfood

                                                                                                                                Thumanns is good, but overall I much prefer Boar's Head. Their EverRoast Chicken is outstanding.

                                                                                                                                As for mass produced pastrami, I've never had any that I considered good. If it's store made, you at least have a chance.

                                                                                                                              2. Current good link for Boar's Head nutritional information: http://www.boarshead.com/pdf/Nutritio...

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                                                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                                  Boars Head is the best we can get in central NC. Naturally, if you hail from "the city" their
                                                                                                                                  corned beef and pastrami are sadly tasteless, although not poor in quality. they do roll over
                                                                                                                                  D & W, but they are just as good, if not a tad better.
                                                                                                                                  Had almost forgotten what good cold cuts were, until I grabbed an Italian sub from a Main St
                                                                                                                                  deli in Hackensack, NJ. sometimes I think some folks just don't know how to eat.

                                                                                                                                  my open question for the BH people is how is their beef and pork raised and slaughtered?
                                                                                                                                  we've given up factory farm products.

                                                                                                                                2. In some parts of the U.S., Boar's Head is the best you can get. When I'm in those parts, I eat Boar's Head products. But I've never thought it was very good stuff. On the other hand, if you see any cold cuts/charcuterie/salumi with the Usinger's brand name on it, buy it. Unfortunately, Usinger's is not widely distributed. I think it's a Milwaukee company.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: emu48

                                                                                                                                    I like Boar's Head products. But Usinger's is great. After I moved to Florida, I could rarely get Usinger's.

                                                                                                                                  2. I found this post while searching online to find out what happened to Boars Head brand?!?! I used to think they were so good and now I can barely gag down their turkey...it tastes like that baby food meat stick that disintegrates in your mouth. Then, when I emailed them to find out which of their products were free of hormones, the answer was only their imported cheeses. We've switched to Thumanns turkey and Applegate for cheese for now.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jessini3

                                                                                                                                      I always liked boars head sweet slice ham. I bought some a few months ago and it was inedible, absolutely disgusting! I bought some a few days ago just to see if it was a fluke. Same thing, right in the garbage. I'm done with boars head products.

                                                                                                                                    2. my answer to you: Applegate

                                                                                                                                      1. I grew up with deli and now 60 years later I am still looking for the deli that stimulates the magic moments of the great deli of my youth. Many years of propaganda have dictated that the meat animals themselves are much too lean to provide the sausage makers with the optimum ingredients for fine deli. Boar's Head does a very god job of providing a reasonable product at a reasonable price given the prejudices of a marketplace that dictates against great deli.
                                                                                                                                        The small scale and the ability to get local farmers to breed the correct animals has given our local sausage makers the opportunity to continue to provide our small market with great deli.
                                                                                                                                        I remember the great turkey kielbassa that I got at Trader Joe's in Chicago 10 years ago. It was imported from Canada and was by far the best Kielbassa I had ever found in the USA BH is a distant second. Good Kielbassa does not sell, the taste, texture and price of a deli product that is world class is not what the American public is looking for. Great deli means a product where a very little goes a long way.
                                                                                                                                        Even in Canada mass produced inexpensive items are what people get accustomed to so even a company like BH which uses the spices and formulas of centuries of sausage making art and charges slightly more cannot duplicate the deli of meat with the proper balance of fat and lean that is still the foundation of world class deli.
                                                                                                                                        Recently a neighbour brought me the tongue of one of his butchered calves. The calf was of a breed whose small size and slow growth would never be considered by commercial growers. Needless to say the meticulous care I took in pickling and preparing the tongue produced a product that would be prohibitively expensive in our supermarket economy. Because of affluence of the summer visitors to our region a visit to the meat lockers of our two major supermarkets in Magog will reveal meat that middle class America never sees. The feedlots of Nebraska cannot provide the $25 lb hamburger. There is a trade off in putting steak on everyone's table. Those of us who settle for a lot less quantity for a lot more quality do not fit into the Walmart economy. I am happy to see BH thriving and maybe the generation will see gains in production of suitable animals for great deli.

                                                                                                                                        1. "Is there anything better than Boars Head cold cuts?"

                                                                                                                                          Actually, yes. Sliced ham, turkey & roast beef at a deli that cooks their own meats (no formed products). After that, for the most part, no. All other processed meats seem to have much more fat & salt compared with BH, although I prefer Citerrio pepperoni & genoa salami vs. BH.

                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Clams047

                                                                                                                                            Speaking of which, I can't imagine buying Boars Head prosciutto, when you can get Daniele or better anywhere around here. Yet still, they push it, and presumably sell it?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                              That's another item that surpasses BH.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Clams047

                                                                                                                                              I have a 28 day aged USDA prime grade eye roast thawing as we speak which will be slow cooked at about 250 degrees to rare , chilled & sliced for roast beef sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                              Very easy to do, much higher quality & much cheaper than any of the preformed & store cooked.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                I am totally not surprised. One of my favourite books is a late 20th century reprint of a 19th century cookbook called Cook Not Mad. I applaud what you are doing. I am very fortunate to have a number of wonderful butchers both in Quebec and Vermont one of which raises her own cattle.
                                                                                                                                                Speaking of prosciutto I know honey dew style melons are traditional but this years Quebec "cantaloupes" are in and they are the biggest and best I've ever eaten in fact the fruit and vegetables are abundant and of the best quality I remember. Is everyone else enjoying a great bounty. My squash and tomatoes are better than I've grown in 60 years.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                                                                                                                  Its so easy to do your own roast beef.....tie it to make it round for even cooking, season & throw it in the oven.....its soooo much better, both tasting & health wise.

                                                                                                                                                  Cantaloupe has been plentiful this year. Being they are mostly water I guess the weakly showers in the Mid Atlantic helped.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                    What cut(s) of beef are best for home roasting beef(especially if buying from a supermarket)?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bearhawkeye

                                                                                                                                                      When cooked M/R & thin sliced, just about anything on sale will work.

                                                                                                                                                      I usually buy eye round roast for thin slicing. Not much fat waste or gristle, cooks very evenly when tied & the round shape makes for easy slicing.

                                                                                                                                                      Top round is also good & bottom round is a good budget piece of meat.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bearhawkeye

                                                                                                                                                        Soupe Tokinoise is very much the go to dish here in Quebec for entertaining. Our supermarkets carry what is called a French Roast which is rolled preseasoned and ready for roasting. It is also cheaper than burger. If you liked your roast beef thinly sliced and tasty a French Roast is the way to go.
                                                                                                                                                        The cut of beef is usually chuck or rump, if you are content with beef sliced thin enough to see through because it delivers maximum flavour let other eat their sirloin and standing ribs.
                                                                                                                                                        There is a lot to be said for a flavourful, inexpensive cut of meat that makes wonderful sandwiches and serves for superlative entertainment with some fondue pots and a flavourful broth.
                                                                                                                                                        Our supermarkets carry an assortment of beef, ostrich, caribou and elk also very thinly sliced and flavourful for those who really want to jazz up their soupe Tokinoise. Interestingly enough the same meat also makes those wonder Vietnamese subs.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                                                                                                                          Its funny how taste buds differ. I grew up eating a lot of chuck. Never liked the flavor of it as a kid and can't stand it today. I can pick it out in burger, roast beef & even hot roast beef sandwiches smothered in gravy. I don't even like gravy made from chuck drippings. Maybe somebody could sneak it past me in something like chili I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                            My taste buds differ but I find and prefer the local Quebec Vermont beef to the all the rage Alberta beef that I accessed most of my working life. In terms of taste I found the regional difference in taste far exceeded the different tastes from different cuts. When I eat out I generally opt for the steak tartare which I suspect is a cheaper cut but is the beef taste I am looking for. I suspect the taste I am looking for goes back 60 years ago when I would mix up the egg garlic and ground beef for my mother's hamburger and eat much of it before it hit the stove or the oven.
                                                                                                                                                            Beef constitutes a minuscule part of my wife's and my food consumption and 90% of my my roast purchases end up as stir fry. We are in total agreement with your preparing a roast the way you like it and we try to encourage cooking and baking as among the most worthwhile of human activities.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Moedelestrie

                                                                                                                                                              I have never had Quebec Vermont beef and don't think I have had Alberta beef. Seems Canadian folks on Chow really love their Alberta beef. From the pictures posted the marbling looks really good.

                                                                                                                                                              My dad & my father in law used to eat raw ground beef all the time. A butcher friend who grinds trimmings from hanging beef still does.

                                                                                                                                                              My favorite is strip steak cooked M/R over lump charcoal. We also like hot & cold roast beef sandwiches which is where the eye roasts come into play. The standard cold cut deli roast beef seems flavorless & is usually to well done. It also has a rainbow colored sheen when held up to the light.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                I guess our taste buds converge at the deli counter and the lack of flavour in the deli roast beef although some of the inexpensive American roast beef tastes very metallic. Also I concur on lump charcoal it is great being back in the land of maple lump charcoal I still don't understand propane or briquettes when everyone has air conditioning and good ovens.