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Author Topic: Homemade Keto / Low Carb Lebanon Bologna  (Read 1113 times)

Offline ChrisSmolinski

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Homemade Keto / Low Carb Lebanon Bologna
« on: March 04, 2020, 1245 UTC »
Living in or within a few hundred miles of southeast PA all of my life, Lebanon Bologna was a staple food. While you can have it occasionally on a low carb or keto diet, the fact that each slice has 2g of sugar (3g for the sweet version!) means you really need to watch how much you eat. So I set out to develop my own keto / low carb friendly recipe.

Traditionally, Lebanon Bologna is a cold smoked and fermented sausage. While you can do this at home, it is not trivial. You need to correctly and precisely control temperature and humidity levels for weeks. This is not a rabbit hole I was ready to go down. I decided to make some compromises, to get as close to the original flavor and texture as I could, while keeping things simple.

The smoky flavor is the easy part, just use some liquid smoke. You can find this at the supermarket.  More difficult is getting the tangy/sour taste, which traditionally comes from the fermentation process, as friendly bacteria acidify the sausage. Meanwhile you're trying to stop the unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence.  This can be accomplished by using Encapsulated Citric Acid. The citric acid provides the sour taste. The encapsulation is a coating on the citric acid, which does not release it until the sausage reaches about 135F, this prevents early application of the citric acid which could adversely affect the texture of the meat.

Next was figuring out the spice blend to use. I actually located several research papers on production of Lebanon Bologna, reconciling those along with some recipes I found online resulted in the formula below.

While I may tweak things a little over time, I think this is pretty close to what I remember eating growing up.

Links to specialty ingredients and supplies you probably do not have on hand:

Sausage casings: I get the 2.4" diameter casings often used for summer sausage. Larger 4" casings, the traditional size, would be too difficult to work with I think.

Liquid Splenda/sucralose You can use your favorite non-sugar sweetener of course. Each drop of this sweetener is equal to 1 t of sugar, so adjust accordingly.

Sodium erythorbate This helps reduce discoloring of the meat due to the Cure #1, it is not strictly necessary.

Prague Cure #1 Curing salt. Be sure to get Cure #1 (Pink) and use exactly the correct amount.

Encapsulated Citric Acid: Gives the Lebanon Bologna the tangy taste

Meat slicer: Very handy to have, for getting perfect slices. Handy to have anyway. You also want to get the Non-Serrated Blade for the slicer, for cleaner cuts of meat.

Oven temperature probe: Crucial to have some sort of oven safe thermometer when cooking meat of any kind. Not optional.

Meat grinder attachment for KitchenAid stand mixers: If you want to grind your own meat, this is a great grinding attachment. I have one, and it works well. Get this metal one, not the slightly cheaper plastic model.  Oh, and get a KitchenAid Stand Mixer if you do not already have one. Your wife will thank you.  :)

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Preheat oven to 155F with the fan on if you have a convection oven.

2 lbs ground chuck beef

Put your casing in warm water to soften as per instructions, I find 15 or 20 minutes works fine:

The liquid team:

1/3 cup water
3 T liquid smoke
12 drops liquid Splenda/sucralose for regular, 24 drops for sweet

The dry team:
4 t salt
2 t Encapsulated Citric Acid
1 1/2 t ground black pepper
1/2 t Prague cure #1
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/2 t ground allspice
1/4 t sodium erythorbate
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground mace
1/4 t ground mustard

Put the ground beef in a stand mixer with paddle attachment:

Add the liquid ingredients, start mixing, then slowly add the spice mix. Mix until everything is incorporated and the meat mixture is very sticky, this could take 15 or more minutes. You're probably more likely to undermix than overmix. If you undermix the cooked sausage will probably crumble and fall apart.

Stuff into the casing:

I like to stick an oven temperature probe into one end of the casing, so I can monitor the temperature and know when it is done.

Bake in the oven until the inside temperature reaches 155F. I found this takes two hours, your oven may vary

Let cool for a few minutes on the counter then stick in the fridge overnight.

Slice, I use an electric meat slicer, but you can do it by hand:

« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 1635 UTC by ChrisSmolinski »
Chris Smolinski
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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Homemade Keto / Low Carb Lebanon Bologna
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2020, 0511 UTC »
I used to eat that stuff all the time. It was a local contribution to the BBQ tradition. The Lebanese/Syrian guys who ran most of the local sandwich shops had their own hot sauces made from Aleppo peppers, which would tear the your scalp off. The guys ran the beer joints and small grocery stores where it was sold, the women grew the peppers and put the things together.


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Re: Homemade Keto / Low Carb Lebanon Bologna
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2020, 0534 UTC »
This was often sold pickled in Central PA when I lived there.


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