How to make a meat platter from a hunter’s deep freezer!
The whole “butcher block” thing has really taken off, kind of on the coat tails of the farm-to-table movement. Locally, our favorite spot is the Blind Butcher. Really, the whole idea for this blog was born because we decided to throw a summer party and as the guest list grew, my desire to cook for numbers of people started to diminish. A friend suggested I throw out an epic meat and cheese setup and here we are. While the setup took more time than I really wanted (I could have not labeled everything with cute little signs), by the time the guests arrived my work was done and I didn’t have to lift a finger after my guests arrived and could focus more on entertaining and having a good time. So, here are a few tips on what to include in your epic charcuterie board, from a hunter’s deep freeze.
With a charcuterie board, you want different flavors and textures and probably 3-5 different things depending on the size of your crowd. I prefer something smokey, something spicy, something normal, and then maybe a one off. If you don’t have everything on this list in your freezer, you can supplement with classics from the grocery store.
Something thinly shaved/sliced. I used cured and smoked wild hog hams and sliced them as thin as as I could. It was kind of like a twist on prosciutto. In fact if you don’t have smoked hog hams, use prosciutto.
Put out the venison sausage. It seemed weird to me at first to put grilled sausage on a charcuterie board, but do include it because it’s what the people want, I’m telling you. Especially if you make your own sausage. Just grill it up right before the party starts (we did two kinds), slice, and throw a whole mess of it in the middle of the board. If you do more than one type of sausage, having one smoked and one not smoked option is nice.
Summer sausage is made for charcuterie boards. If you had your deer processed into summer sausage, this is the time to let it sing. We didn’t have summer sausage this time around, so I bought a salami and set that out.
Do not overlook the jerky. Most hunters have venison jerky floating around somewhere, and I think it’s a super fun and quirky addition to a meat board. You can put it on the actual board, or, if your board is a little crowded, stuff it in a cute coffee mug.
Other fixin’s: Clearly your meats need a vehicle. Choose a few different types of crackers; water crackers are a classic, include a hearty, seeded option, and then make sure to put out some nice crusty bread and/or toasted slices of baguette. You also want to make sure you set out some mustard and a few pickled things, like cornichons or olives.
On cheese: Meat boards are often paired with a cheese board. My overarching advice on cheese boards is again, choose 3-5 varieties and mix up flavors and textures. Something soft (brie or chevre), something nutty (gruyere or manchego), something funky (blue). For a larger crowd, include a good cheddar and/or something smoked.