Finn lives in California's central valley. He enjoys writing food reviews.
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Dietz & Watson
Searching for the Best Deli Turkey Brand
Who doesn't enjoy a good sandwich? From the French dip to the grilled Reuben, there is a seemingly endless variety of styles to choose from.
What a simple invention: a couple of slices of meat put between two pieces of bread. If you so choose, you can also tuck in a salad and make it a full course meal. Hot or cold, few plates compare to the convenience of a sandwich. It's portable, can be easily eaten while standing or reclining, and there is nothing to wash afterwards except your hands.
Turkey has been one of my personal favorites when it comes to a grinder. A couple of thin slices of turkey breast, some Swiss cheese, and you are just a few short steps away from the pearly gates.
I've gone ahead and looked at some of the more common ones out there and given them a try. These are my opinions, and I hope you find them useful in your search.
Please feel free to add your own opinions, too.
I will probably add to this list as time progresses. In many cases, I only tried one sample from a company—e.g., Oscar Mayer—rather than going through all of their different cuts.
Keep in mind that our opinions may differ, and I would be interested to hear your honest feedback.
From: Sandwich Consumption by Adults in the US
On any given day, 47% of adults ate a sandwich. A larger percentage of men (52%) than women (43%) ate sandwiches.
Most sandwiches eaten by adults contained meat, poultry, or fish (79%). The most commonly consumed types of sandwich were cold cut sandwiches (27%), burgers (17%), and poultry sandwiches (12%).
— Food Surveys Research Group (2015)
Oscar Mayer Carving Board
Oscar Mayer is probably a familiar name to you if deli meats are one of your options at the supermarket. They produce a nice variety of sandwich meats in a series of styles: deli fresh, natural, and carving board (among the more popular choices).
The carving board styles promise a more authentic experience because the slices are supposed to reflect what you would get if a whole breast were to be cut at home. They are slightly thicker, have a fuller texture, and even look like the carvings from a whole turkey.
These are pretty good—they have a nice flavor and are thicker than the thinner deli slices. They are good for people who like a thicker sandwich. Adding gravy, mashed potatoes, and a side of veggies can create a home-style dinner. Hot turkey sandwiches would be especially good with this brand.
Verdict: very good and highly recommended
A Sandwich by Any Other Name...
Depending on the region, hero sandwiches have been called many other names, including hoagie, grinder, and sub. The latter comes from Benedetto Capaldo’s Italian deli in New London, Conn., during World War II. The deli received an order from the nearby US Naval submarine base for 500 hero sandwiches. From that day forward any time a customer ordered a hero sandwich the employees at the deli called it a "sub."
— "Sandwich Fun Facts"
This brand is probably available at the deli counter, and you can ask for slices of your choosing. (Where I live in California, at least, I have seen it at most stores.)
The packaged brand is similar, except all the slices are the same size and thickness. I've always liked Primo, but honestly, I prefer it freshly sliced from the shop.
It has a nice flavor, and each slice has that thin coating around it which some people find to be a delicacy. It has a nice texture which will make your sandwich delicious. As with most pressed meats, the saline that contributes to the fine flavor is probably not the healthiest choice.
If you are seeking a good meat to make a couple sandwiches with, this is a fine choice for the price. You may have to look in the premier meats and cheeses section of your local grocery store, though.
If you're trying to feed more than a couple of people, however, you might wish to go straight to the deli.
This is the perfect size if you are planning on putting it on a bagel or a ciabatta roll.
The Origin of the Word Sandiwch
The sandwich is named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who is said to have asked his servant to bring him meat stuffed between two slices of bread so that he would be less inconvenienced while out hunting, playing cards, and just generally being a rich gentleman on the go. Apparently, his friends took notice and asked for "the same as Sandwich."
— "Interesting Facts About Sandwiches"
If you are looking for an inexpensive meat that can make a passable sandwich, this should be your choice. The slices are razor-thin, and I believe their composition includes parts of the turkey other than the breast.
Honestly, this would not be my first choice, but if you are hungry and trying to save money, this would be an option.
The packets are sometimes designed in single-serving-sized packets, which means you can probably get one small sandwich in. But if you are trying to feed a family or looking for something to last a couple of days, you are better off going with another brand.
This is food though, and that's a valuable resource—one that many people have to do without.
Verdict: For those working within a budget, this could satisfy you.
Dietz & Watson
Wow. What can I say? By far, this is the best meat sample I've had over the years. The slices have the right texture, the meat is fresh and flavorful and the golden crust on the outside of the packaged meats is particularly appealing.
This company provides a large variety of samples to choose from: honey turkey, smoked, light, golden brown, etc. I have only tried the golden brown and the light, and I much prefer the former. Lighter meats tend to be less flavorful, but if you are watching your diet, they are probably a healthier option.
Whenever I go to the grocery store where I pick these up and D&W is on sale, the golden brown and chicken breast varieties have always been snapped up. They seem to have a good following.
This brand has a full turkey flavor without tasting artificial or overbearing.
Verdict: By far, this is one of my favorites. It's not too pricey compared to similar products.
Wow. I was very surprised at how delicious this turkey sample was. It was one of the best I've had of any deli meats and extremely authentic in texture and taste. I did not expect this from Hillshire Farm because my experience with them previously was not as favorable.
The slices look like they were carved from a whole breast and are nicely lined with that golden crust that many people who like turkey deli meats understand. The pieces are thin enough to put on a sandwich and thick enough to compose a dinner with.
They look like real turkey pieces and range from larger slices to smaller slivers which would work great if you want to create a home-style gravy.
I used mine to make a sandwich and it was moist and delicious. This is one brand I will definitely try again.
Verdict: highly recommended