I know this recipe probably sounds complicated, but I promise you it’s so easy to make your own deli meat at home with a few simple steps. I was sick of seeing chicken for $3 a pound but then when it came time to buy it in deli form, it was upwards of $7+ per pound! I thought maybe the process was complicated. Maybe they were using machinery the average person doesn’t have. But no, making your own deli meat truly does not require any special equipment. Sure, I did use a sliver for this recipe. But honestly, you could slice it with a knife using some precision.
Why make your own deli meat?
Aside from the fact it is so much more affordable to make your own deli meat, I’m also on a real food kick. Meaning that we are trying to eliminate most, if not all, processed foods from our diets. The deli meat you see in the store is full of preservatives to keep it fresh longer. And packed with nitrates. It’s not natural for meat to stay fresh in the fridge for over a week. If this is the case, your meat has been preserved. When it could be as simple as freezing any extra deli meat, and thawing it when you’re ready to use a package of it.
So now that’s we’ve covered the low cost and the lack of preservatives in homemade deli meat, let’s get into the process. Which you are going to find out is extremely simple. We simply cook our meat, cool it down, and then slice.
Cooking Your Chicken
There’s obviously many ways to cook chicken, but lately I stumbled upon pressure cooking, and it’s a game changer when it comes to chicken. You can cook your chicken directly from frozen in the pressure cooker in 11 minutes, and it’s tender as can be. I never remember to actually pull my chicken from the freezer to thaw, so this way of cooking comes in handy for me. My pressure cooker is a canner as well that can do pressure canning and water bath canning. It’s usually around $100 when it’s on sale and well worth it to have in your kitchen.
Pour about 2 cups of broth into the pressure cooker. I used my homemade chicken broth but use whatever variety of broth you have one hand.
Take your frozen or thawed chicken breasts and heavily season them. We always use Kinders “The Blend” which is a seasoning blend of salt, pepper and garlic. Then place them into the pressure cooker. Cook for 11 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally.
Your chicken will be cooked perfectly and can be placed into the fridge for easier slicing later. I usually let mine cool overnight. It’s not a requirement, but makes the chicken slice better in the food slicer.
Slicing Your Chicken
Now let’s turn this into deli meat! To do so, we need to slice it really really thin. We prefer more of a gourmet, thicker slice meat but it’s really up to you on this step. I have the Nesco professional food slicer and it has a dial so I can easily change the thickness. I don’t want my chicken to completely fall apart, so I don’t do it as thin as I possibly can.
If you don’t have a food slicer for this part, that’s okay. You will just have to take your time and thinly slice the chicken breast using a knife.
I like the slicer because I am accident prone and with the guard, this prevents me from cutting myself. It’s super easy to clean, and comes apart quickly. We use it for everything from veggies to cheese to meat. Next week, we’ll be slicing goose jerky using it!
Storing Your Deli Meat
Because we made real deli meat without preservatives, your rules for storing it are going to be a little different. Store fresh cut deli meat in the fridge for up to a week. If you won’t be using it within a week, you can place it in a freezer safe baggie and just pull it out to thaw when you need it. I would only keep this in the freezer for a few months at a time. I usually make up 6-8 breasts at a time and that lasts us about two months before I have to make more deli chicken.
You can also do this with any type of meat you’d like. Ham, roast beef, Turkey, etc. You will just want to adjust how you cook your meat depending on what you use and then cool before slicing thinly.
- 1 Pressure Cooker
- 1 Food Slicer
- 4 Breasts Chicken
- 2 Cups Broth
- 3 Tbsp Seasoning of Choice
- Start by seasoning your chicken. We use Kinders The Blend. Then place it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups chicken broth and cook for 11 minutes.
- Place chicken in the fridge overnight to cool.
- Use a food slicer or sharp kitchen knife to thinly slice the chicken to your preference. We like a thicker cut for a more gourmet deli meat.
- Save in the fridge for a week or freeze for several weeks! We vacuum seal ours and store in the freezer, only pulling out a weeks use at a time.