Food - Drink
Lebanon Bologna: The Smoky Sausage You Should Know About
You may be familiar with the mild, pink bologna sold in most grocery stores, there's another kind of bologna that is a beloved staple of the Northeastern United States. Originating in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Lebanon bologna is a semi-dry smoked and fermented sausage made from 90% lean beef and a mixture of spices.
Lebanon bologna dates as far back as the 1780s, and originated in the Pennsylvania Dutch population that first settled in the Lebanon valley. Lebanon bologna became a standard market item by the 1800s, and dozens of bologna producers were in business by the early 1900s; many of these are still operating today.
This bologna has a dark red color speckled with bits of fat and a smoky and slightly tangy taste, a result of the fermentation process; some manufacturers use potassium nitrate for fermentation, while others prefer a starter culture. Fermenting the meat and spice mixture also lowers the pH of the meat and keeps it safe from bacteria.
Lebanon bologna is a versatile ingredient, and a classic way to enjoy it is to spread some cream cheese across a slice of bologna and roll it up for a snack; it's also amazing in sandwiches or on a charcuterie board. Just be aware that while this bologna is high in protein, iron, and vitamins, it's also high in sodium, like other processed meats.