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Luncheon meat

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I just got back from visiting my husband's family in New Orleans and they had a sliced deli meat called simply "Luncheon meat." Lighter in color than salami. Speckled with fat, so it's not bologna. I'd put it medium on the salty scale. No, it is not Spam or any of it's off-brands. The slices are bigger and softer than that, even when Spam is sliced thin. (I know...I happen to like Spam) Anyone know if there is another name for this stuff? We live in San Francisco and I have never heard of this stuff or seen it. TIA

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  1. I grew up thinking that luncheon meat was pretty much meat that was bought sliced from the market and put on sandwiches, as opposed to a particular type. Will be interesting to see what others come up with.

    1. I haven't thought about luncheon meat in years! Everybody loved it in New Orleans.
      It's still around?
      It was a sandwich staple. Big for school lunchboxes. White bread of course. Or French bread. With Blue Plate mayo. Maybe Zatarain's Chow Chow.
      The closest I come for that taste now is mortadella which I crave.
      It may be a local New Orleans version of mortadella as the city has a very large Italian community and several local meat companies making products of their own. The fat chunks are just smaller in luncheon meat. Pork fat never frightened anyone in New Orleans.

      3 Replies
      1. re: MakingSense

        I, too, love mortadella but mortadella is an emulsified sausage. This stuff had distinguishable bits. Yes, we did eat it on Bunny bread with Blue Plate mayo. That is until the next morning when my husband made fried luncheon meat sandwiches for us. Yum.

        1. re: srr

          New Orleans is a funny place and has a patois of its very own among the natives. I wonder if "luncheon meat" isn't sort of a generic term in families for the house preference among the deli offerings at the local market. It could also have varied among the different companies making the cold cuts sold in the city. Mama was pretty brand-loyal.
          Perhaps Mama and her sisters preferred the one they grew up with and always bought that one while in your husband's family a different choice was called "luncheon meat."
          Pretty tasty stuff, huh? Sorta makes you forgive the Bunny Bread.

          1. re: srr

            "I, too, love mortadella but mortadella is an emulsified sausage." Not totally - proper mortadella has cubes of white fat distributed through it, though those cubes swim in a sea of undifferentiated pink...

            There is a variety - or at least used to be - of lunch meat variously called Spiced Ham or Spiced Luncheon Loaf, depending on the maker, that was my favorite everyday sandwich meat as a child in Illinois. It too was an obvious conglomeration of particles bonded together, so I'll bet we're talking about the same general substance. I liked it better than bologna because it had a more interesting flavor, and because it was the same shape as the bread! I was in some ways a tidy soul... Anyway, our Family Standard Sandwich formula was butter (or rough equivalent) and mustard on one slice, mayonnaise or my mother's bottled dressing (homemade Miracle Whip! Gag!) on the other, and a leaf of lettuce in there somewhere.

        2. Not sure why, but my first thought was Thuringer. When I was growing up, that kind of summer sausage was kind generically referred to as luncheon meat...

          Uncle Ira

          1. Well, after a little more research I think it is called Dutch Loaf. Does that ring a bell with anyone?

            1. "We live in San Francisco and I have never heard of this stuff or seen it."

              You might not be shopping low enough on the food chain ... a place like FoodMax, Food4Less, Walgreens is more likely to carry lunch meat than Andronico's ... although I swear I've seen it at Andronico's. Ya ain't gonna find luncheon meat at Fatted Calf or Cafe Rouge, ya know what I mean. Like others said it has an affinity for mayo and cheap white bread.

              I was thinking it was Oscar Meyer that carried it, but it turns out it is Hormel which also said it is called Dutch Loaf.

              Often sold packaged in the cheap meat section and labelled luncheon meat.

              It is also more commonly sold next to the spam and also canned.
              Really Spam IS lunchion meat. What is really sad is there is a Spam knockoff called Kam ... I mean how low is it if you can't even buy real, so to speak, Spam

              Basically it is just chopped meat formed into a loaf.

              Obviously it is only going to be as good as who makes it. Hormel packaged sliced turkey isn't as good as the fresh baked deli breast. You might have gotten a good version in New Orleans.

              Funny, trying to find Oscar Meyer luncheon meat, it seems that fish seem to like luncheon meat and the canned stuff is used by fishmermen ... there is even special canned luncheon meat just for bait ... now what type of fish likes strawberry luncheon meat?

              1. In my neck of the woods, that Hormel Dutch Loaf stuff was called Spiced Ham.

                2 Replies
                1. re: breadbox

                  I've seen it as that; Oscar Mayer's version was I think called Spiced Luncheon Loaf, but even in Illinois it was generally called simply "lunch meat". It was always a big favorite of mine, though my mom would often insist on getting that yucky olive/pimiento loaf instead. Seems to me that at nine or ten my favorites were (in order) "lunch meat", salami, braunschweiger and bologna. There was also a Lebanon-style bologna that our local butcher made sometimes, and that topped everything!

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I loved olive loaf as a child!! Maybe I should go in search of some as a nice throwback.

                2. Luncheon meat?

                  From my upbringing there was Spiced Luncheon Loaf, Luncheon Loaf, and Luncheon meat. At one time it was made fully out of fresh but slightly nitrated pork shoulder. Most today has been processed with chicken and never has been the same.

                  The Spiced counterpart generally contained pepper but never overpowering.

                  Luncheon from my recollection meant a ready to eat sausage cold cut, salty but a hint of sweetness.

                  Loaf was the form used. One may say those were to resemble something like a football but some if not most others loaves were square.

                  Meat, how funny! It can have pork, beef, chicken or turkey in it so read the label.

                  In those days, Spiced Luncheon was in my opinion 5 times better than even Spam wanted to be. Why, you may ask? Spiced Luncheon needed refrigeration and for it to retain the flavor it needed to be kept rather cold. If your fridge back then would keep milk for a week you probably was fine. Any shorter both would go bad rather quickly. Spam was something less apt to be saved. Either eaten or tossed.



                  I wish this was still available local to see what it is made out of. About 6 years ago it was all pork and beat the socks off of Spam.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: RShea78

                    No, that's not the stuff that you and rworange are talking about. This is something that My SIL got at the deli, sliced and wrapped in paper. It was originally a large piece that came into the deli wrapped in thick plastic. It is different from Spam or canned luncheon meat. I think I'll be able to find it as Dutch loaf or Spiced dutch loaf. Thanks for all the help everyone offered.

                    1. re: srr

                      Sorry but the stated products came as a loaf. One brand was about 2 inches larger than a football, and others came in a loaf about 12-18 inches long.

                      Now I would not think of it as being the product like Spam, however it has been compared to it over the ages. Spam has a ham-ish taste and Luncheon meat has closer to a sausage taste.

                      Unfortunately, you may have gotten confused with the link and I didn't get a chance to edit it.


                      1. re: RShea78

                        "Luncheon Meat" is defined as a sausage or canned meat usually made with chopped Pork blended with either chopped Ham or another meat (Chicken, Turkey, Veal, etc.).

                        "Spiced Luncheon Meat" is a generic term for SPAM (Spiced Pork And Ham), which is made from minced Pork and (usually) Ham and seasoned with spices. An example of a non-SPAM brand would be "Bristol PREM", a Dutch knockoff of SPAM made with Virginia-style Sugar-Cured Pork and Chicken with Smoked Flavoring.

                        "Luncheon Loaf" is usually made from ground processed meat (Pork, Ham, Beef, Chicken, Turkey) rather than chopped or minced boneless cuts of meat and tends to be softer than Luncheon Meat. Olive Loaf is Luncheon Loaf made with Olives inside it, Pimento Loaf is made with Pimentos, and Pickle Loaf is made with Pickles.

                        "Bologna" is an American term that is short for Bolognese Sausage (like Mortadella); it differs from the Italian version because it is finely ground. Oscar Meyer's version (made from processed pork and beef and having a red synthetic casing) tends to be rather bland, but other makers (especially the deli brands) tend to flavor or season it. It is usually made from Pork, but othe rmeats can be used (Turkey, Veal, All-Beef, Chicken, etc.)

                        It sounds like you are either looking for a deli-brand of Pork Bologna (if the slices were round) or a variety of Pork-based Luncheon Meat (if the slices were square or rectangular). The premium brands usually are speckled with fat like you describe.

                  2. here's a good sight with different loaves and wursts:


                    1. I live in Ohio and we call it Dutch Loaf but I've also heard it called Old Fashioned Loaf. And its soooo not even close to SPAM. Its way tastier and doesn't come in a can. You can get it in about any grocery store deli around here. I used to work at a deli, and yes it comes in a big loaf that the deli slices for sandwiches. I can't remember what brand we used. I do know that its usually made from pork and beef with spices and is smoked over some type of hardwood. I found a few pictures if that helps. Good luck with your search!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chickpea00

                        "Dutch Loaf" is coarse-ground Pork and Beef mixed or glazed with savory spices, formed into a loaf shape and then smoked over a hardwood fire. The term is probably derived from "Pennsylvania Dutch Meatloaf", a similar dish from rural Pennsylvania. "Old Fashioned Loaf" was probably adopted to keep it from seeming "foreign" to assimilated middle-class Americans. Pretty much every deli-meat company makes their own version.