Pairing cured meat and cheese isn't that hard, but get the most out of your pairing, it helps to know some general principles.
'Charcuterie' on Serious Eats
Sure, you've paired wine and prosciutto or salami. But how about matching charcuterie with cocktails or spirits?
Ryan Farr is the chef and owner of 4505 Meats in San Francisco. These snappy, all-beef, New York-style dogs appear in his book Sausage Making.
Not all dry-cured hams are created equal. With a new wave of domestic cured ham producers making waves, we thought it was time to see how the homegrown stuff stacks up.
Charcuterie has hit Seattle in a big way. Restaurants across the city are offering house-smoked this and house-cured that but if, like me, you prefer creating your own picnic fun, you'll need that pâté to go. Here are six great picks from Seattle charcuteries to satisfy your carnivorous side.
The DIY charcuterie movement has finally reached country-wide levels of pervasiveness, which is a good and a bad thing. In the wrong hands, house-made charcuterie is a step down from store-bought options (the number of times I've had improperly emulsified sausages or poorly cured hams far exceeds the number of excellent ones I've had), and potential dangerous. In the right hands, the interplay of meat, salt, and time can be a truly revelatory eating experience. Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard of Cask and Larder in Winter Park, Florida, has the right hands, along with the brains and humility to know when to use them.
At the newish 4505 shop, luscious cuts of beef and pork sit alongside cured slabs of bacon, ham hock, and fat back. Shoppers sample tongue pastrami while examining towering terrines. Freezer cases feature duck chili along with rendered duck fat; there are tubs of dog food destined for some seriously lucky pups.
A perfect foie torchon melts on the tongue like the creamiest butter, but with a distinct cured sweetness that forms the perfect balance for a perfumed wine. It's simple to serve—just slice it, put it on a piece of toast, add a bit of dried fruit or preserves, and go—and let's face it, it'll impress your guests. It's the ultimate in hors d'oeuvres, using not just one of the finest ingredients money can buy, but also showcasing your kitchen skills.
One of the pinnacles of Western food, a torchon of foie takes several days to make and requires expensive ingredients, but the time and cost are worth it in the end.
Charlie Wekselbaum got into charcuterie at first because, he says, he was "fascinated by how a piece of meat—something so prone to spoilage—does the opposite of spoiling with proper control and salt."
The meat-centric restaurant Salty Sow recently opened up on Austin's east side. This latest nose-to-tail venture is powered by the owners of Eddie V's and Hopdoddy (the steakhouse and mini burger chain, respectively). It's no surprise that this menu is dominated by animal-driven dishes. Check out the charcuterie plate, bone marrow, and more.
The Pig, which opened in May from the EatWell DC restaurant group, is a rustic bistro (think wood paneling and vintage art prints) that focuses on feeding you pork. As a "nose-to-tail" operation, over half the menu is pork-centric. From belly to cheek to shank and even brains, The Pig is a great place to explore the off-cuts of pork.
For the unfamiliar, figuring out exactly what you want to buy at Muncan Food Corp can be a bit like playing "Where's Waldo?" with drunk goggles. We've put together this guide, which features all of Muncan's bacons as well as our other favorite products.
On an otherwise nondescript stretch of Broadway in Astoria, Muncan is a food haven, a veritable cornucopia of house-cured and -smoked meats. Most famous for its intimidating selection of quality bacon, Muncan has become something of a Queens institution for Eastern European charcuterie.
Last week I traveled around the Jura region of France. You can expect a whole slew of Francocentric coverage on what I ate, drank, poked, prodded, and otherwise documented on this awesome trip to the land of cheese and wine. Here's a quick overview of the wide range of tasty comestibles from the Jura region: Comte cheese, charcuterie, and more.
Making this pâté at home, it was a struggle to wait until it had cooled with all those heady, meaty aromas and the lovely layer of bacon on top. Slicing into it, the texture was rustically grainy with an over-the-top porky flavor. It's fatty enough to easily spread on toast. Juniper and brandy come through in a big herbal way. Sliced thin and served alongside crusty bread with a bit of mustard and cornichons (and of course, a glass of wine) this pâté is probably the most authentically French dish to come out of my kitchen.
Editor's note: In "Apps Only," Ben Fishner will be eating his way through New York's appetizer, bar, and lounge menus as your guide to fine dining on a budget. He blogs at Ben Cooks Everything. Tree's charcuterie plate. [Photos:...
The door separating the Olympic Provisions restaurant-deli from the chamber in the back says it all: MEAT DEPT. (In all caps, if you didn't catch that.) The meat-curing facility is Oregon's first USDA-approved salumeria, which means salumist Elias Cairo makes charcuterie with a USDA inspector watching him for a whole 40 hours a week—sticking flashlights into the grinders and swab-testing the walls, spices, and floors, to ensure a health code-happy process.
The chapter devoted to all things porcine in My New Orleans by John Besh is called Boucherie, and has several delicious-sounding pork-based charcuterie projects including these Pork Shoulder Rillettes. This version slow cooks pork butt with chicken stock, lard, wine, and a few other aromatics until it's tender enough to shred into a million tasty little pieces.
Sepia's interior. Photo from official website. Sepia restaurant in Chicago's West Loop is a testament to the success that can come from having a vision and sticking to it. While the idea of having one foot in the past and...