LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Central Pennsylvania is known for many famous foods. Hershey Chocolate, Snyder’s of Hanover, and Sturgis Pretzels just to name a few. But there is one food that bears the name of the county it came from.
Lebanon Bologna has been around for over 100 years and can be found in many different flavors. The meat was created by the Pennsylvania Dutch in Lebanon County back in the 19th century. Back then, farmers would take the skeletal meat and salt it so it could break down to create a lean product to use for bologna. It is a smoked fermented and cured meat with a similar texture and appearance to salami.
The flavor of this particular meat sets it apart from other lunch or deli meats, as it has a smokey but tangy flavor.
The beef is first ground up and mixed with spices and sugar and then sent to a processing plant. The meat is refrigerated in large bins and separated by the type or flavor of the product it will become.
The meat is then put into a machine that grinds and softens the meat. It then passes through a metal tube, which separates which parts of the meat are edible or inedible as well and it is able to detect metal.
From there, the meat is pushed through perforated casings and then put through a neted material for it to be smoked. Each tube of bologna is hung by this nearing on the ceiling of the smokehouse.
The smoking process can take many hours and even days. The longer the meat is smoked, the more flavorful the bologna becomes. Once smoking is complete, the meat is tested to ensure it is in good condition and quality. It is then cooled, marked and dated, and then shipped to locations around the United States.
There are many variations of this style of deli meat. Some Lebanon variations are sweet, some are double-smoked and some even contain honey.