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10 Best Meats for Charcuterie Boards

I’ve already covered the best cheeses and crackers, so today, we’ll cover the best meats for charcuterie boards.

And keep in mind, this list is just a few of my faves. So feel free to add whatever you like best!

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Sausage and Ham and Tapa in a Charcuterie Board with Cheese

First, you want something salty to pair with the cheeses.

Cured meats are probably the most common because they’re super flavorful and can sit at room temperature safely.

Second, go for “fancy” meats, like prosciutto or Jamon Serrano.

We have enough processed meats with lunch. Now’s the time to splurge!

Finally, consider the overall look of the board. Go for a few different styles and colors to really make it pop!

Our Guide to The Best Meat for A Charcuterie Board

Prosciutto

1. Prosciutto

Prosciutto is my personal favorite and one of the most popular charcuterie board meats.

It’s thinly sliced meat from the hind leg of a pig with a salty taste and silky, almost melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Wrap it around cheeses or serve it with fruit – you can’t go wrong.

This Italian ham is aged for different lengths of time. And the longer it ages, the richer and more high quality it is. 

Serve prosciutto with soft cheeses like mozzarella or burrata. You can also pair it with Parmesan or wrap it around sweet cantaloupe. 

Trust me, you and your friends will be so excited to have this on a charcuterie board. 

Genoa Salami

2. Genoa Salami

Genoa salami is a very common and popular type of salami. It’s readily available in local grocery stores, and it’s easy to like. 

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It has a dry texture with a cured, salty flavor that’s filled with yummy spices like garlic, salt, pepper, and wine. 

And like most Italian meats, Genoa salami gets its name from the region in which it was made.

However, this food doesn’t have exclusive naming rights, so Genoa salami can be produced anywhere. 

Pair Genoa with soft Brie or semi-hard cheese like Gouda.

Mortadella ham on a chopping board

3. Mortadella

Mortadella is like an elevated Italian bologna. And it’s actually made in Bologna too! 

Instead of grinding the meat like other sausages, cooked and cured pork is turned into a purée along with other flavorful ingredients. 

Mortadella also has pistachios, peppercorns, and fat cubes running through it.

So, when you see a slice of Mortadella, you can see everything inside, and it’s really colorful. 

Although Mortadella may not sound super appetizing, it tastes so good. Serve paper-thin slices folded in quarters on your charcuterie board. 

This meat tastes fantastic with focaccia or aged cheddar.  

Jamon Iberico and Cheese

4. Jamón Ibérico

Jamón Ibérico is a type of Spanish ham with tons of flavor and strict requirements. 

Spanish ham falls within two categories: Jamon Serrano and Jamón Ibérico.

The ham in question comes specifically from Ibérico pigs that are exclusively fed hay. 

There is also a smaller category called Jamon Ibérico puro de bellota. Those pigs are fed only acorns, and the meat ends up being much richer and nuttier.

Because of the strict diet, Jamón Ibérico tends to be pretty expensive. So consider it a luxury ingredient on your meat and cheese board. 

Uncured Sopressata

5. Uncured Sopressata

Uncured Sopressata is very similar to salami, with a few marked differences.

For one, it’s not cured – as the name states. Instead, it’s preserved and dried, so you still don’t need to cook it. 

This meat is traditionally made with peppercorns and has a nice bite to it. It’s a flavorful meat despite being relatively uncomplicated. 

Sopressata is super easy to find, so it’s a lovely choice for any charcuterie board. It pairs well with a lot of flavors and cheeseboard items. 

Serve Sopressata with soft Brie, tangy blue cheese, or sweet jam. 

Sliced Spanish Chorizo

6. Spanish Chorizo

Spanish chorizo is a type of pork sausage similar to salami. It’s a hard sausage that’s quite different from the softer Mexican chorizo. 

This pork sausage is flavored with smoky paprika, salt, and garlic. The paprika makes it bright red in color, so it’s pretty easy to spot at the market. 

Because of the firm texture, Spanish chorizo can be sliced super thin, making it a great snack on its own. But it is also fantastic with crackers and cheese. 

Serve this chorizo sausage with Manchego cheese or soft, tangy goat cheese. 

Sliced Calabrese Seasoned With White Onions

7. Calabrese

Named for the region of Calabria, this spicy Italian sausage is not for the week. 

It’s a dry-cured pork sausage that also includes chili peppers and garlic. So, needless to say, it has tons of flavor.

Spicy meats like this one are perfect for balancing creamy cheeses and bringing a nice kick to the cheese board.

Serve Calabrese with cheddar cheese and mustard. If you want to compliment the spice, serve it with creamy goat cheese. 

Rillettes on a Wooden Bowl

8. Rillettes

Rillettes are made from slow-cooked meat, and the common are pork and duck. 

The tender meat is shredded and mixed with rendered fat. It’s served chilled, which is unique but makes it great for a charcuterie board. 

Rillettes are a sort of chilled confit that can be spread on bread, toast, or crackers.

Add cornichons for a tangy crunch. 

Sliced Capicola Garnished With Sliced Tomatoes

9. Capicola

Capicola is another dry-cured meat from pork neck.

This meat is flavored with cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, so it’s not your average salami.

Meanwhile, the color is bright red and very distinctive. It has tons of fat marbling too, which means extra flavor. 

Capicola is usually sliced super thin. It’s also very salty meat, so pair it with more mellow cheeses. 

Add some honey or grapes to the board if you’re serving capicola on a charcuterie board.

Homemade Pate on a Glass Jar

10. Pâté

You may have heard of it, and you may have tried it before. Either way, don’t be intimidated. 

Pâté is a spreadable meat made from ground liver. It’s not as popular as most other charcuterie meats, but it should not be overlooked. 

Smooth and spreadable, pâté has tons of flavor. It’s rich meaty, and always a great option to go with bread and spreads. 

Pâté works best with baguettes and pairs nicely with pickles or cornichons. 

10 Best Meats for Charcuterie Boards

The best meats for charcuterie boards are salty, thinly sliced, and flavorful, like chorizo or Jamón Ibérico. Use a few different options for variety.

Ingredients

  • Prosciutto

  • Genoa Salami

  • Mortadella

  • Jamon Iberico

  • Uncured Sopressata

  • Spanish Chorizo

  • Calabrese

  • Rillettes

  • Capicola

  • Pate

Directions

  • Select your favorite meats and spreads.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a delicious cheese board in 30 minutes or less!
Best Meats for Charcuterie Board

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INSANELYGOOD

Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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