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Jan 16, 2007 04:10 PM

Luncheon meat

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?