Sabah Drabu

12 mins read

Feb 15, 2024


What meats should be on a charcuterie board?

Got a hankering for something savory? Take your snack game to the next level with the classic charcuterie board! Charcuterie boards have been around for centuries and have recently become popular as an appetizer or party platter. A traditional charcuterie board includes various meats, cheeses, and accompaniments but these days you can make it whatever your heart desires. Today’s blog post will introduce you to the wonderful world of charcuterie boards, highlighting popular cuts of meat to use in your own creations — so prepare yourself, because this may be the best cheese plate experience you’ve ever had! 

A charcuterie board is a type of grazing board consisting of an assortment of cured and cooked meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts. The perfect accompaniment to a Sunday afternoon with friends and family, or anytime you’re feeling a bit adventurous, this exciting culinary experience is worth exploring! In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the unique flavors that can be experienced when creating your own charcuterie boards. We will describe the different types of meats–from dried to salted and smoked delicacies that are unmistakably delicious–as well as cheese varieties and additional ingredients for added depth. So put on your chef’s hat and let’s explore the wonderful world of charcuterie boards! 

1- Cold Cuts

Cold cuts are one of the best tricks up your sleeve when you’re making a killer charcuterie board. Salami, ham, prosciutto, pastrami – there’s just no end to all the delicious possibilities! And that’s what makes cold cuts such a practical choice. Not only do they provide plenty of flavor and texture, but they also can make your charcuterie board look downright stunning. Cold cuts come in so many different shapes and sizes, adding a wonderful variety to the mix and leaving everyone with plenty to choose from. So go ahead – size up those packages at the deli counter! Your beautiful charcuterie board awaits. 

i)- Prosciutto: If you’re really jazzing up your charcuterie board, don’t forget the prosciutto! This classic cured Italian ham brings a lot of flavor to your board, with its hints of nutty, salty deliciousness. Even better, it’s not too hard to find – just swing by your favorite deli, or order it online – and then the fun starts. If you want to get creative, try throwing on some thick slices of prosciutto for an extra crunchy bite. Bring on the Italian import and enjoy the incredible taste of prosciutto all year round!

ii)- Salami: Salami is a quintessential “go-to” for a charcuterie board. It brings a ton of flavor to the board, making it an all-around crowd-pleaser. You can choose salamis based on your spiciness preference: mild, medium, or hot. Whether you’re looking for something subtly spiced, or something with a nice kick – there’s sure to be something perfect for your palette. Salami also pairs beautifully with cheeses and other items you can add to your charcuterie board. Put together some slices of salami, some delicious cheese, and maybe a smattering of fruits and veggies, and prepare to wow!

iii)- Mortadella: Mortadella is one of the most popular cold cuts when making an Italian-themed charcuterie board. With its creamy, mild seasoned flavor and unique textures, Mortadella really takes snacking to another level. I always think of it as the pork version of bologna, a sliceable salumi that usually comes speckled with cubes of lard giving it a unique look. It’s one of those meats that pair well with almost anything so don’t be afraid to mix and match your cheese and cracker selections when Mortadella is involved!

iv)- Coppa and Bresaola: If you’re looking for the perfect centerpiece for your next virtual get-together, then look no further than Coppa and Bresaola cold cuts! The tang and subtle sweetness of Coppa pair perfectly with the bold flavor of Bresaola, making it a favorite combination among charcuterie fans. With these two cured meats anchoring your platter, you’ll have all your friends drooling over their keyboards before the night is through – treat yourself to some star ingredients and they won’t be disappointed!

v)- Lomo: When you want to assemble a beautiful charcuterie board for your party, don’t forget about the lomo! This Spanish classic comes from tender pork loin seasoned with garlic and oregano, then cured to perfection. It has a rich taste that deepens the board’s flavor profile, adding some excitement to otherwise mundane slices of cheese and salami. Plus, unlike other cold cuts, lomo is usually sliced very thin—so there’s plenty of it to go around! Not only will it bring an authentic flair to your platter, but it’ll also satisfy every guest at your shindig.

vi)- Spanish Chorizo: Spanish Chorizo brings a truly unique flavor to your charcuterie board, making it a must-have for all cold-cut connoisseurs. It’s the perfect accompaniment to cheese and bread, offering a savory and spicy twist! Like all good charcuterie, it looks beautiful and can add some serious wow factor when paired with mild meats. Just think – tomato chutney, sliced almonds, manchego cheese… Yum! Give Spanish Chorizo a try – you won’t regret it.

2- Cured Meats

Nothing says “party” like a charcuterie board, and cured meats are the key to creating a really special spread. You can create endless combinations of salami, pepperoni, ham, bacon, and more to wow your guests with an array of flavors and textures. Not only is cured meat the perfect addition to any cheese plate, but it brings a sense of sophistication that nobody can deny! And don’t forget – there’s no wrong way to design your charcuterie board. Layer on some high-end crackers and mustards for an extra-tasty presentation! 

i)- Italian Pancetta: If you’re looking to make the perfect charcuterie board, it can be hard to find meat that stands out from the crowd. However, Italian Pancetta is the ideal solution for making your charcuterie shine! Not only does Pancetta have a delicious flavor profile that’s nutty and salty, but it also has a great texture that adds a much-needed crunch to the board. Plus, with its pink color and distinctive shape and size, it adds an eye-catching flair to any dining experience. So if you’re looking to wow your guests and take your charcuterie game up a notch, then you need some Italian Pancetta at your table.

ii)- Spicy Calabrese Salami: When it comes to creating a unique charcuterie board, you can’t go wrong with some spicy Calabrese salami. This Italian delicacy is made from the finest pork and infused with spices like black pepper, paprika, and chili powder for a genuine kick-in-the-pants flavor that’s sure to bring everyone to the table. And who could forget the unmistakable smell of dried garlic and fresh herbs that pairs perfectly with savory cured meats? Get creative and use Calabrese salami as the star of your next charcuterie experience and wow your guests with a dish that’s sure to tantalize their taste buds!

iii)- Smoked Prosciutto: Nothing spices up a board like some smoked prosciutto! Whether it’s being served by itself or as an accompaniment to cheese, crackers, and other snacks, this Italian dry-cured ham is ready to take your charcuterie game to the next level. This delicacy is made with fresh pork legs that are seasoned with imported sea salt and covered in a special blend of herbs before being slow-smoked in oak wood smokehouses. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting sick from eating it – just slice it thin and enjoy. Trust me, you’ll be glad you tried it – your crowds will absolutely love it!

iv)- Goose and Duck Livers: Creating a unique charcuterie board isn’t just about packing it full of exceptional cheeses and crackers – cured meats are essential for a truly one-of-a-kind smorgasbord. But let’s get wild, shall we? Why settle for more run-of-the-mill salamis when you can try something like goose and duck livers? These thinly-sliced beauties have a little leaner texture than your standard fare, plus they add a stunning touch of fancy to the spread! Don’t let their intense name scare you away – these cured delights offer an unforgettable addition to your snacking selection.

v)- Smoked Bacon and Streaky Bacon: If you’re looking to impress your friends with an awesome charcuterie board, why not include both smoked and streaky bacon? Not only do they look totally delicious together, but they also pair well with a variety of cheeses and crackers. And, who can resist the lure of a thick slab of smoked bacon or the crispy texture of streaky bacon in all its glory? You can even take things up a notch by drizzling some honey over top just before serving for an extra special treat!

vi)- Venison and Wild Boar: Creating a unique charcuterie board with cured meats like venison and wild boar is an awesome way to up your snacking game and tantalize everyone’s tastebuds. Venison, which comes from deer, has a strong yet sweet flavor while wild boar is leaner than pork but still packs a ‘porky’ punch. Both are amazing when accompanied by the right accompaniments such as enhanced cream cheese, dried fruits, fresh greens, and mustard for an extra kick. Plus don’t forget a selection of crackers or crostini – each bite is sure to be quite a ride!

vii)- Beef Jerky: Beef jerky as a part of a charcuterie board? Why not! Unique, flavorful, and oh-so-yummy. After all, why should popular cured meats like prosciutto, salami, and bresaola hog all the limelight? Let tender beef jerky get in on the party! With its intensely smoky flavor profile and addictive chewiness, it’s sure to be a hit with the entire gang. Just make sure you get high-quality cuts of lean meat to get that superior taste that folks simply can’t resist!

Also Read: Charcuterie Through the Ages: An Exploration of the History of Charcuterie Boards

3- Cooked Meats

A charcuterie board has the potential to become one of the most impressive dishes you can share with your friends. One way to make it extra special is by including cooked meats – this can take your charcuterie board game to a whole new level! Cooked meats like pre-cooked bacon, sliced ham, teriyaki chicken, and prosciutto will transform a basic meat and cheese platter into something that’s restaurant-worthy and sure to impress! Not only will it add bold flavor and unique textures, but it’s also the perfect combination of salty + sweet flavors that no one can resist. 

i)- Roast Beef: You can spice up your charcuterie board with some seriously delicious options. Roast beef is a classic addition that definitely adds that bit of flavor and an even bigger ‘yum’ factor! From smoky pastrami to tender and juicy beef brisket, there’s something for everyone. The possibilities are truly endless – you can make delicate slices of medium-rare prime rib, thick slabs of breast of beef, or roast beef sandwiches with horseradish cream. No matter which cooked meat you chose, one thing is for certain – your guests will love it!

ii)- Pulled Pork: Looking for a way to spruce up your cheese platter? Look no further than pulled pork! Pulled pork is the perfect topping for a beautiful charcuterie board. It’s full of flavor and adds something special that all your guests will be sure to enjoy. Plus, it’s surprisingly easy to make – slowly cook your favored cut of pork until tender, then shred it with two forks and mix in zesty seasonings. Then throw it on your board alongside some cheese and an array of crackers or crunchy vegetables! Your board will be the life of the party and everyone will love the tasty addition of pulled pork.

iii)- Rotisserie Chicken or Turkey Breast: Spruce up your charcuterie board game with cooked meats! Skip the tedious slices of cold cuts and dig into a juicy rotisserie chicken or turkey breast instead. No more boring lunches or sad-looking charcuterie, now you can add delicious shredded poultry with all your favorite accouterments! Best served diced over crispy flatbreads, creamy cheeses, roasted bell peppers, sliced olives… So much flavor explosion in one bite – takes charcuterie boards to a whole new level!

iv)- Sausage: Want to take your charcuterie board to the next level? Sausage is the single best way to do it. A classic Italian sausage, bratwurst link, or country-style sausage can be mixed and matched to add a complex depth of flavor. And let’s not forget smoked boudin balls – a staple in many Cajun kitchens! But if you want something truly unique, try adding a sweet-chili thai sausage or spicy merguez for an exotic twist. No matter what kind of sausages you choose, just remember that cooked meats can really elevate your charcuterie board from basic to unforgettable.

v)- Hot Dogs or Bratwurst: Hot Dogs, or Bratwurst? What decision could possibly be harder than this?! Both are classic hot-cooked meats that would make a great addition to create a unique charcuterie board. Hot Dogs are undeniably slimy, yet the flavor combined with some pickled cabbage and spicy mustard can’t be beaten. When it comes to Bratwurst though, few can deny the taste of grilled sausage smothered in onions and sauerkraut, an American delicacy. So whether you’re pleading the fifth on this one or going all in on both, your guests will never know what hit ‘em! Cooked Meats have never been so delicious.

vi)- Corned Beef: An interesting and unique addition to a charcuterie board is Corned Beef! Don’t forget this savory protein as it can take your entertainment to the next level. It’s an American classic and sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you need recipe ideas, try making tender corned beef tacos or a hearty Reuben sandwich. Sticking with traditional methods of preparation? Slice it thin for perfect deli-style sandwiches complete with lettuce and tomatoes. There are so many creative possibilities when you put corned beef on the menu, it may just become the featured star of your charcuterie board setup!

vii)- Barbecued Ribs: Nothing says a good ol’ American barbecue like some smoky, tender ribs. If you’re looking to upgrade your summer cookouts this year, why not set up a stellar charcuterie board featuring some of the finest cooked meats around? Barbecued ribs top the list — they’re easy to prep and guaranteed to be a hit among all your friends. Just lay out the racks on the grill with some classic rubs or sauces, slow-cook them for a few hours, and enjoy!

Also Read: Showstopping Appetizers: Crafting the Perfect Vegan Charcuterie Board

4- Putting Together a Charcuterie Board

Putting together a charcuterie board can be an art form! It’s not just throwing a few pieces of cheese and crackers onto the plate. The real goal is to create a culinary experience by carefully curating the board with complementary flavors, textures, and visual appeal. Plus, it makes get-togethers more fun and entertaining. Just remember to include something for every kind of eater—vegans, vegetarians, meat eaters, and people who need some gluten-free options—to make sure everyone can enjoy your masterpiece. Let your creativity shine and make sure to take lots of pics so you can show off your awesome charcuterie skills! 

i)- Choose a Variety of Meats: When it comes to putting together the perfect charcuterie board, one of the most important tips is to make sure you have a variety of meats. A great charcuterie board should have something to appease all tastes. So why not pick up some cured Italian salami, add in some Spanish chorizo, and finish off with some French jambon? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pick up some unique, hard-to-find salami from all over Europe! Get creative and don’t be afraid to step outside the box when it comes to choosing a selection of meats for your charcuterie board. It’s the secret to creating an unforgettable spread.

ii)- Consider Different Flavors and Textures: When it comes to putting together a killer charcuterie board, there are two rules of thumb you need to consider. First, think about different flavors – salty and sweet never fail! Consider adding salami or prosciutto, some nut or seed options like almonds and pistachios, and then finish it off with something fruity like a couple of types of olives or dried fruits. Second, the board should include various textures; a combination of crunchy and buttery items will keep people coming back for seconds. Throw in some cheese wedges with crackers or toast points alongside rich melty spreads like hummus or artichoke dip, and you’re golden! If all else fails, just remember: there’s always room for charcuterie!

iii)- Add Accompaniments Such as Olives, Pickles, Mustards, and Fruits: A charcuterie board is a stunning way to showcase your good taste, and it’s surprisingly easy to put together! Although the centerpiece of any charcuterie board should be a selection of cured meats and cheeses – plus your favorite crackers – don’t forget the accompanying goodies. Olives, pickles, mustards, and fruits all make beautiful additions to your board. Since nobody likes too much of something, vary their shapes for visual interest! Slice some olives in half and leave others whole, opt for different-shaped gherkins, or mix several kinds of mustard for dipping. And don’t overdo it on the fruit – keeping it simple with one or two colorful options will have perfect pizzazz! With such tasty accompaniments from jellies to nuts to jams, you can assemble an incredible spread that’s seriously Instagram-worthy. Bon appétit!

iv)- Presentation Tips: Crafting the perfect charcuterie board is part art, part science. That said, with just a few simple tips you can make it look like a work of art (without having to learn about molecular gastronomy). First and foremost, simplicity is key! Use quality ingredients and let them shine. Adding too much to a board will be overwhelming to look at and eat. Secondly, utilize texture – crunchy options such as crackers or biscuits in different sizes will help bring dimension to your ensemble. Thirdly, add color – cheese changing color or pickles adding bright green make your charcuterie extra eye-catching! Fourthly choose quality items that come already prepared as opposed to making things yourself – not everyone has time for that! Fifth think of the presentation – what type of board are you using? Plate, mirror, or wooden cutting board are all great options depending on the occasion. Lastly putting different heights together could give the feeling of having layers of different items when really it’s just one piece of charcuterie heaven!


Well, there you have it- everything you need to know about making the ultimate charcuterie board! Everything from the different types of meat and cheese to the best accompaniments and tips on presentation- these are all key factors in creating something that tastes great, looks great, and is sure to impress your guests. Variety is important when it comes to flavors and textures, so mix things up a bit by trying different meats, condiments, and other accompaniments. No matter what kind of flavor profile you’re going for or the type of occasion you’re cooking for, with this guide in hand you can craft an unforgettable charcuterie board. Bon appetit! 

Wrapping up a great meal (or even an epic game night) with a Charcuterie Board can be the pinnacle of entertainment. But finding the ingredients to make an irresistible board? A DREAM. The stress of shopping for the right ingredients, slicing and dicing different meats, and arranging them artfully on a rad cutting board — who’s got time for that?! CookinGenie is here to give your next Charcuterie Board a fly upgrade! With sourced, quality ingredients and carefully curated boards suited to any budget, CookinGenie gives you everything you need to take that Charcuterie Board from “ho-hum” to the NEXT LEVEL in no time flat. Let us help you have the most legendary gathering–no fuss, no muss! 

Sabah Drabu

Co-Founder & CEO

Sabah Drabu is a foodie, engineer, and the Co-founder & CEO of CookinGenie. She created the platform in 2019 to connect local chefs with at-home diners, making hiring personal chefs more accessible. Sabah's idea has evolved into a service people use for parties, vacation rentals, and family gatherings.

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