The Best Meats for Your Next Charcuterie Board
Whether you’re a cheese board fanatic or an aspiring charcuterie connoisseur, this guide will prepare you to serve the best meats for charcuterie boards.
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Uncured Sopressata is an uncured salami made from coarsely-ground, lean pork and lard. Its chewy texture comes in a variety of flavors. These flavors originated from various recipes in different regions of Italy— they range from sweet to salty to spicy. Also, the pressing of this meat occurs after it’s in its casing, which creates its famous oblong shape and adds visual variety to your board. It pairs well with pinot noir, Brie, figs and sweet jams.
Originating in the Calabria region of southern Italy, Calabrese is a dry-cured meat with a savory texture. Without a doubt, its hot-pepper flavor will add a necessary punch of spice to your next cheese board. It pairs well with cabernet, pecorino, pear and acacia honey.
Spanish chorizo is a great addition to your charcuterie board because it gives guests a fully-cured and cooked meat option. It is made of coarsely chopped pork and typically contains a special paprika called pimento. Spanish chorizo tastes either spicy or sweet, but always consists of a well-seasoned, smoky flavor and firm texture. It works well with Asiago, pickled cherry-peppers and IPA. Speaking of which, check out our best IPA suggestions.
Often sliced paper-thin, Capocollo is similar to prosciutto in its delicate flavor and tender, fatty texture. However, it comes from the pork neck (called the coppa). It is a popular pick for charcuterie boards due to its beautiful, reddish-pink color. Pair it with Gorgonzola, whole-grain crackers, peppercorn and Riesling. Or come up with your own pairing—just be sure to read up on these common, wine-pairing mistakes first.
Mortadella is a type of sausage similar to bologna and is dotted with creamy fat. Its silky texture adds variety to your assortment, making it an interesting addition to your charcuterie board. Serve it with ricotta, sourdough, olive oil and chianti. For a spicier option, you may want to opt for nduja.
Pate is a paste made from meat—in French it literally translates to “paste.” So, it adds a spreadable option to your cheese board. Although it is often made with liver, many different meats are used to make pate, so its flavor possibilities are endless. Pair it with radish, dill, French bread and a dry rose. If you’re feeling creative, you can throw in a Swedish rose spritzer.
With a buttery flavor that melts in your mouth, prosciutto offers a unique, delicately sweet texture to your charcuterie spread. Traditionally aged in salt alone, this dry-cured ham originated as a pre-Roman form of meat preservation and has evolved into an art form. It pairs well with chevre, peaches, balsamic glaze and champagne. However, there are many ways to use prosciutto beside cheese boards, and we cannot recommend these enough!
The fermentation process causes the tangy, smoky, smooth texture associated with summer sausage. Its name comes from its history—it required no refrigeration, so people ate it throughout the summer. Its dried or smoked varieties provide plenty of serving options for your next charcuterie board. Try pairing it with tiny pickles, cheddar, dijon, apple and a rye ale. Or make a simple spread with summer sausage, crackers and one of our favorite cheese balls.
Jamon Iberico is a lightly salted, air-dryed ham derived exclusively from black Iberian pigs in Spain and Portugal. It is one of the most expensive meats in the world! If you ever decide to treat yourself to a bite, it’s sure to be an exceptional charcuterie board. Jamon Iberico’s juicy texture is complex in flavor—nutty, sweet, earthy and floral. We recommend pairing it with Manchego, sherry, smashed olives and sun-dried tomatoes.
Up Next: Learn how to make our most impressive holiday cheese board.