We are big fans of charcuterie in all its forms. Cured meats, sausages, pâtés - we buy them when we see them, seek them out when dining in restaurants, and have had some modest success creating them at home.
Here is a collection of some of the experiences we have had making our own charcuterie. We encourage you to give it a try as well - it is easier than you might expect.
This was our first foray into the world of charcuterie. It turned out wonderfully, and so has every batch since.
Pancetta is an ideal first step in curing meats as it simple and relatively tolerant of non-ideal temperatures.
Even easier than making the rolled version ("arrotolata"), Pancetta Tesa tastes every bit as good and can be made without any special equipment or curing environment.
|Coppa / Capicola|
In which a humble pork shoulder is transformed into something spectacular. Perhaps our favorite cured meat.
Saucisson Sec is about the easiest cured sausage you can make, but that doesn't mean it doesn't taste fantastic. The complexity of flavor you get belies the simplicity of the ingredients.
Tuscan Salami was our first experience with making a fermented sausage. The fermentation process gives a salami that fantastic twangy bite.
Homemade Guanciale is what you make when you happen to have pork jowls on hand. The process and end product is very much like Pancetta.
Smoked Meats (and other smoked treats):
When we made our first batch of homemade bacon several years ago, I proclaimed that we would never buy bacon again.
And we haven't.
A fun twist on bacon. The heat from the Jalapeños adds complexity without being at all overwhelming.
A perfect topping for a cheeseburger...
|Smoked Picnic Ham|
Best ham we've ever had. Smoky and succulent. Easy and inexpensive.
We fell in love with Andouille in New Orleans. Unable to find a good version at home, we decided to make our own. You should, too.
Smoked Duck is truly one of the best things in the world - especially when it comes straight off of your smoker.
Move over smoked salmon - smoked trout is a force to be reckoned with. We love it straight up, or packed in olive oil and stored in the fridge for later - especially for breakfast.
I bet you can't eat just one.
In fact, I guarantee you can't eat just ten...
|Homemade Italian Sausage|
Probably the most simple thing you can do to enter the realm of charcuterie is make your own sausage. Italian sausage is a good place to start.
|Coppa di Testa|
Coppa di Testa is Italian for head cheese, and head cheese is English for awesome. Pig face terrine is a good thing - especially served on toast.
|Our Meat and Cheese Curing Fridge|
Curing meats is all about environmental control. We converted a cheap fridge into our curing chamber. It is easy to do, and does double duty as our draft beer system!
|Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker|
One of the best purchases we've ever made. Our WSM has seen a lot of use in the few years we've owned it.
|Meat and Cheese Slicer|
Cured meats need slicing. We picked up a Chef's Choice 610 Premium Electric Food Slicer from EdgeCraft and have been very happy with it.
|KitchenAid grinding attachment|
We grind all of our meats for fresh, smoked and cured sausages with a KitchenAid attachment.
We used to use the KitchenAid for stuffing as well, but we have since moved on to a manual Northern Industrial stuffer.
This was the book that got it all started for us. It is a great introduction into the wonderful world of all things charcuterie.
|Cooking by Hand|
Not primarily a charcuterie book, but with some great inspirations on the subject. This was our main reference when making Coppa de Testa.
An almost silly number of recipes for fresh and cured sausages.
The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating
An inspirational treatise on all things offal.