How to Make A Charcuterie Board

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Various forms of meat on a wooden board with fruit and a bowl of olives.

Not only do my boys like meat, their childhood television heroes loved meat. In particular I have to think about those two great characters, one human, one animated: Ron Swanson and Homer Simpson. If your family are/were fans of either “Parks and Recreation” or “The Simpsons”, as mine have been forever, then perhaps you are familiar with the wise (?) words of these meat loving men.

Meats, fruits, and olives on a wooden board.

How to Make a Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie (pronounced shahr-koo-tuh–ree] is essentially prepared meats, cured or smoked or preserved in some way. Think sausages, hams, terrines, pates, bacon, prosciutto, salumi and so on. Usually the meats are pork-based, though sometimes there are other meats involved, such as beef.

Charcuterie Board Meats

You’ll want a nice variety of meats, at least three different types.

Knife on a wooden board with meats, olives, and fruit.

Cured meats in particular are great choices, all kinds of salumis (fancy word for the salami family) and hams (prosciutto, salami, speck, soprassata, sliced dried sausages like chorizo). Pate is another nice offering. Personalize your charcuterie board with the assortment of meat you and your people love the most.

Make sure meats, for the most part, are sliced as thinly as possible; paper thin slices are much more enjoyable to eat in the case of things like prosciutto and other hams. Narrow tubes of salumi can be cut more thickly.

If you have a good deli counter in your market, ask the person behind the counter for advice on what they think would be a good addition to the board. If you can get your meats freshly sliced, all the better, though you can certaibnly find excellent pre-sliced packaged meats. Sliced prosciutto, salamis of all kinds, hams, many of these meats can be found pre-packaged, usually near the cheese or deli section of the market.

Various forms of meat on a wooden board with fruit and a bowl of olives.

How to Build a Charcuterie Board

You may want to add some other items, besides, meats, to give it more color, interest, variety, and texture. Some cheese, pickles, olives, dried or fresh fruit, sliced vegetables, condiments, all good companions to the meat. Allow meats and cheeses to come to room temperature before serving.

You can use an actual board, or any kind of dish. I gravitate towards wooden boards for charcuterie and all sorts of graze situations. Some lovely boards to consider:

For the Love of Meat

Hey, let’s play a game! You guess who said the following, Ron or Homer. The answers are at the end. Don’t peek, that isn’t fun. I know you wouldn’t but I’m a mom, and saying things like that is now a part of who I am. It’s not something I’m that proud of, but there you have it.

  1.  “If God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?” 
  2. “I’d be a vegetarian if bacon grew on trees.”
  3. “You had me at Meat Tornado.”
  4. “Pork chops and bacon, my two favorite animals.”
  5. “Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait … I worry what you heard was, ‘Give me a lot of bacon and eggs.’ What I said was, give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Do you understand?”
  6. “All normal people love meat. If I went to a barbecue and there was no meat, I would say ‘Yo Goober! Where’s the meat!?’. I’m trying to impress people here. You don’t win friends with salad.”
  7. “I call this turf ‘n’ turf. It’s a 16-ounce T-bone and a 24-ounce porterhouse. Also, whiskey and a cigar. I am going to consume all of this at the same time because I am a free American.”
  8. “Good drink… good meat… good God, let’s eat!”
  9. “Turkey can never beat cow.”
  10. “When I eat, it is the food that is scared.”

Ok, answers coming. But first, a bit more about what is on this charcuterie platter.

Meat arranged on a board with fruit and a bowl of olives.

On this board, clockwise from the top: 

Also, you should include charcuterie whenever you are putting together a more general Graze Board as much or as little as you meat-loving people desire.

Ok, how many did you guess correctly?

Homer Simpson: 1, 2, 4, 6, 8

Ron Swanson: 3, 5, 7, 9, 10

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About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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