The holidays around here mean entertaining. It’s one of our favorite things to do year-round, but especially during Fall and Winter months when social outings are abundant and home entertaining is at its peak.
One of our go-to appetizers is a fully loaded Charcuterie board featuring our Beef Jerky flavors and sticks. The versatility of flavors, textures, and aesthetics make for a great do it yourself appetizer experience you guests will love.
For those unfamiliar, Charcuterie refers to any kind of cured meat typically associated with gourmet or specialty meats. A Charcuterie board is an assortment of meats paired with different accoutrements such as fruit, cheese, spreads and bread.
It is similar to pate, but with a coarser texture. Essentially meat is slow-cooked until it can be shredded and is served either cold or at room temperature then used as a spread.
Refers to a mixture of different kinds of meat that is blended and strained finely resulting in a smooth texture. Similar to Rillettes, it's spreadable whether it be on toast or a piece of fruit.
There are many different styles of salami, but all involve ground meat mixed with spices, encased in sausage casing, and then dried.
This type of meat is typically a fattier cut. The meat is cured in salt and hung to dehydrate over a long period of time. Traditionally made from pork, however, other types of meat that undergo the same process can also be considered as this.
5. Beef Jerky
This isn't a traditional Charcuterie, however, it's a great addition to any board for a number of reasons. There are a variety of flavor profiles that pair well with the other elements and its uniqueness will leave your guests satisfied and asking for more.
Now that we've established a basic understanding of Charcuterie, when it comes to creating an epic Charcuterie board, it's important to strike a good balance of flavors and textures. You can structure the board by seasonal flavors, regions, or you can take on a more freestyle approach and incorporate all your personal flavors and textures into one cohesive board. There's really no wrong or right way to present the board, however, by taking the time to understand the common guidelines it can help you craft a kickass appetizer.
Putting Together the Board
As you begin to arrange your board, it's important to think about colors and textures to make it visually appealing. You know what they say. You eat with your eyes first. The board should look full and inviting.
Charcuterie/Meat: It's a good idea to count for 3-4 slices of meat per person when building a board, if not more. We're obviously meat driven so we included a variety of People's Choice Beef Jerky. Our Sea Salt & Pepper Keto Beef Sticks, Cowboy Peppered, and Garlic Ginger are just a few that we utilized.
Cheese: It's always good to choose a variety of cheeses ranging from hard to soft, mellow to sharp. Anticipate 1 or 2 ounces per person and include a combination of both pre-sliced and whole cheeses.
Bread and Crackers: Again, variety is important. Feel free to use different style of crackers as well as toasted baguettes or sliced bread.
Fruit and Nuts: This will add color to the board. Provide a range of both dried and fresh fruit. A general rule of thumb for nuts is that they should be shelled and salted.
Pickles, Olives and Dip: Incorporating small bowls of olives, dill pickles, jellies/honey, and mustards is a great way to add a pop of flavor to the board.
Most of these items can be prepared ahead of time making set up so simple you'll be able to throw it together minutes before your guests arrive. Step up your entertaining skills next time you're hosting with this epic Charcuterie board your guests will drool over.
How do YOU build an epic Charcuterie Board?