Smoked, cured and seasoned, these meats grace any decent charcuterie platter. These are the weird meats you absolutely want on your charcuterie platter. We don’t really do snobby here, and we’d never turn down a piece of pepperoni on a club cracker. That being said, the finer things in life are often very much more refined. Enjoyed for centuries, these deeply savory and succulent delicacies are to die for. Load up your favorite extra large charcuterie tray with an assortment of these… and see if you get thumbs up or wrinkled faces from your friends.
Some Weird Meats you Absolutely Want on your Charcuterie Platter
Often snubbed as ‘weird’ for their method of curing, particular cut of meat or presentation, these slices are not to be overlooked. Platters the world over celebrate wine and the people who drink it with visually stimulating feasts, exploring flavors carefully curated and brought to life on cheese boards since wine drinking became a thing.
For as long as humans have consumed meat, a long time, they’ve found creative ways to prepare and preserve the meat for future consumption. Rather accidentally, this became one of the earliest forms of cuisine. Through the process of salt curing, smoking, wrapping and storing these cuts of meat, we’ve develop highly sophisticated methods that bring the flavor of the cut to life. You might not find all of these at your local grocer, but do some digging and you might just find out that they’re a big closer to home than you once thought.
We’ll explore a few of them and figure out where they belong on your cheese board, as well as the styles in which you can find them prepared. Let’s jump into some fancy words and get you talking like a real connoisseur.
Your run of the mill pate is essentially a meat paste. That might not be the most appetizing description but they’re perhaps one of the most versatile and easy to serve crowd pleasers out there. The name as you might have guessed, is French in origin. The basic anatomy of pate is some kind of ground forcemeat (a mixture of ground meat and fats) along with some herbs, depending of course on its origin. My personal favorite is pate made from liverwurst with garlic and herbs!
Well technically it’s also a pate. What sets terrine apart in essence is how its prepared. Baked in a dish lined with puff pastry, sometimes with gelatin, terrine is an elegant and highly presentable spread centerpiece. Expect this lovely loaf to be the talk of the table.
Fancy pulled pork. Okay, okay it’s not quite so simple! That being said, rillettes are the somewhat less processed and rustic version of their paste based comrades. It doesn’t have to be made from pork, but most are. The fat renders a deep savory tastes which is accompanied ever so lovingly, by a texture that is to die for! Melt in your mouth and baguette’s best friend, this dish is not to be overlooked. (Also, it’s not hard to put together!)
Your ritz crackers and velveeta have nothing on this fancy classic. Head cheese, made from calf or pig head, is the marriage of collagen, fat and flavor. So, what does head cheese taste like? Very simply, it’s a cold cut made from cooking usually pig head, the meat of which is tender, flaky and unbelievably flavorful. It is then cooled and stuffed where the collagen and fat take shape to make a sliceable loaf, sausage or whatever else you form it into. While head cheese is not for everyone, (especially the cooking process!), it’s certainly something you should try at least once.
Just to clear the air, not everyone fundamentally agrees with the way this fatty duck liver is produced. We’re just here to discuss its role as a charcuterie meat.
Foie Gras is just that, very fatty duck liver. It can come from duck or goose, but you’re most likely to find it from duck. It can be served as anything from a pate, to a mousse, or even sliced. It can appear in any of these varieties on the charcuterie platter, and the place it holds is valuable for the tasting experience.
It can compliment both cheese and herb breads or crackers. It is pale in color, and provides a notably rich and succulent taste. It’s considered a well loved delicacy in France. The Torchon variation (french for tea towel) is wrapped in towel or cheesecloth before being poached in water into usually a cylindrical shape which is how it’s served. The process takes days, which involves cooling, and resting.
White wines are traditionally the favorite of foie gras fanatics. If you’d really like to hone in on the rich taste with some rich bubbly, pair a bottle of champagne to tie it all together. The crisp taste of a nice brut, along with expertly prepared foie gras is a snack as opulent as they come.
Give these Weird Meats a Chance!
Loafs, slices and spreads. These meats deserve a fighting chance on your next charcuterie spread. Cultured concoctions like these really live up to their reputation. Next time you’re at your local grocer, give one of these a serious try. Or, look up one of the many recipes available out there for your next wine and cheese! They can be prepared using poultry, pork, beef or even seafood! The all around usefulness of these meats should not be underestimated. The serving possibilities and pairings one could drum up are as boundless as these meats are savory. Break out these weird meats you absolutely want on your charcuterie platter.
Also check out these articles, to host the best-ever weird meat night:
- Must-Make Artichoke Recipes for Your Next Wine Tasting Party
- The Most Delicious Jelly Recipes for Your Cheese Board