With the growing interest in natural foods, I thought I would show you how I make my own natural turkey lunch meat. I must admit that it turned out very good. As you can see in the above picture I made a tasty sandwich with it, some lettuce and onion on a ciabatta bun.
Our research and development team strongly suggests that I make this one again and again. A couple of them said that most of it was consumed as they were trying to make a sandwich.
I started by going to our local grocer and purchased a bone in natural turkey breast and some bone in turkey thighs. I removed all the bones and skin as I kept the thigh meat separate from the breast meat. I could have bought the boneless breast but by boning it out myself I saved a couple of bucks.
My goal was to have about 3 pound of boneless thighs and 2 pound of boneless breast meat. However, I ended up with about equal amounts of both.
I have always used Prague Powder (pink salt) to cure the meat but this time I purchased some Celery Juice Powder.
Most green vegetables are high in Sodium Nitrate. The pink salt is mostly just regular salt (table) with Sodium Nitrite added and then colored pink. We need it colored so that we don't get it mixed up with the regular salt used in the formula. Celery juice powder is defined by the government as a natural product. The natural bacteria that occur in meat will break the nitrate into nitrite. In addition to changing the color of the meat, Sodium Nitrite prevents Botulism. This was the main purpose of cure (prague powder). Don't know about you but I like preventing botulism.
This homemade lunch meat is a great, healthy alternative to fatty store-bought lunch meat, and tastes better, too. This has been proven by many positive comments coming from our extensive Research and Development --- our local neighbors.
I cut the turkey, keeping the thigh meat separate from the breast meat, up into pieces that would go into the grinder. I then weighed all the dry spices and mixed them together. I estimated the amount of spices that I needed to add to each cut of turkey. I then mixed the meat and spices, still keeping the thigh meat and breast meat separate.
I covered the container of meat and put in the frig overnight. This allows the salt to start to act on the proteins and it allows the normal bacteria in the meat to react with the celery juice powder turning the nitrate to nitrite.
The next evening I brought the meat out of the refrigerator and ground each separately through the three holed grinder plate. I then ground just the thigh meat through the 1/8 in. grinder plate and now mix the thigh meat and the larger chunks of breast meat with the turkey broth and honey.
Once I had a real good mix, I used a meatloaf pan sprayed with a quick release spray and I placed the meat in this pan. I put about 1/4 of the total amount of meat in the pan and firmly pressed it down several times to try and get most of the air out of the meat mixture. This is mainly for aesthetic purposes. Not to worry, you will have some air pockets as you slice the finished product. No real harm done.
Once all the meat is in the pan, wet your hands and smooth the top of you loaf with your wet hands. You may have to re-wet your hands several time and keep smoothing the top until you get it the way you want it. You are after a nice smooth uniform top so that it has a nice uniform look after it is cooked.
Then I was ready to put the loaf in the oven. I like our oven set at 250° F. and with that it will take about 3 3/4 hour. I also put the loaf pan on a cookie sheet to catch what little bit of drippings you may have.
However, each oven is slightly different, the thickness of your pan may be more or less than the one I used and finally, the meat temperature is probably different.
So, with that being said, please make sure you use an thermometer. The center of the loaf should be 165° F. Once you get to 165, remove from oven and place on counter for about a half hour. It will continue to cook and that is OK.
After about a half hour, remove the loaf from the pan. Place on a plate or any thing so that you can put in the refrigerator. I like to get most of the heat out of the loaf and then wrap it with wax paper or some paper type product to prevent it from drying out too much. Place wrapped loaf back in frig overnight.
Next day, remove from refrigerator, slice and enjoy the best natural turkey lunch meat you have ever had. In fact, one of the key members of our R and D department said the this turkey combined with some of the Best Bacon Ever made an amazing club sandwich.
To get the recipe for this tasty treat, click on our recipe page.