Why Bologna From One Pennsylvania Town Is Unlike Any Other Variety
By Haldan Kirsch
For decades, Bologna has topped sandwiches at lunch counters and school cafeterias. It is derived from the Italian cold-cut mortadella, which hails from the city of Bologna, but there is another variety of this lunch meat that hails from rural Pennsylvania — Lebanon bologna.
Lebanon bologna comes from the town of Lebanon, PA, and is most often made with beef instead of pork like standard bologna, but it also has a different production method that gives it a unique flavor. It is made by fermenting and then smoking the meat, which provides a consistency closer to a hard summer sausage, as well as a tangy and smoky flavor.
One of the oldest producers in the region, Seltzer's, uses techniques similar to those of early settlers to mass produce its Lebanon bologna today. Instead of using stainless steel smoking chambers, its bologna is housed in a brick-lined smokehouse, and a flame pit is dug beneath the hanging meats, which is fed by hardwood for a natural, flavorful smoke.