5 Best Meats to Use For Your Charcuterie Board

5 Best Meats to Use For Your Charcuterie Board

9 minute read

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It doesn't matter which meats or cheeses you choose for your charcuterie board. The most critical thing is quality. If you're making something that has a lot of ingredients you can get away with skipping a few things or using cheap ingredients. Not when it comes to your charcuterie board. Each piece is meant to be savored alone or with something else. There's no way to hide cheap ingredients Buy and serve only the highest quality ingredients and you'll give your guests something to remember. These are the 5 best meats to use for your charcuterie board.

Part of enjoying the experience of a charcuterie board is giving something for everyone to enjoy. No matter how brave or boring someone's palate is, there should be something they can reach for. Having a high-quality meat selection is a must. From sweet to spicy and everything in between, make sure you have lots of options to take your guests on a journey of flavor.

Here are my 5 favorite types of meat to use on your charcuterie board. There are lots of meat choices. Make sure you have options for everyone. If you're not sure about your guests preferences and would prefer not to guess, make a quick poll and send it to all your guests.

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What it is: Prosciutto translates to "ham" in Italian. It's made from the hind legs of pigs and is aged during a dry-curing process. In general, prosciutto comes in two types: cooked prosciutto and uncooked prosciutto crudo. It is a terrific option for your charcuterie board. It will satisfy the needs of many of your guests.

How it's prepared: Prosciutto is salted by hand by a salt master and he uses the minimal amount of salt needed. In Parma, the only ingredients added to the pork during production are the finest sea salt, air, and time. The ham hangs in a refrigerated humidity-controlled room for 60-90 days to ensure the sea salt properly absorbs into the meat.

Its character: Prosciutto is bright red in color. It has a soft moist texture and a sweet flavor.

How much will it cost: The price will be determined by the quality of the meat. Anywhere from $14-$37 per pound. It's sliced very thin so you can get a lot per pound to fill out your charcuterie board and have enough to refill it.

Where to buy: You can get prosciutto at the deli counter of most grocery stores. If you go to a butcher you can get the highest quality cuts. You can also get prosciutto online.

Prosciutto is an excellent addition to your charcuterie board. Most people like it so you will be able to satisfy a broad range of palates. Make sure it's sliced as thinly as possible. You don't want to go through all of it because it was cut too thick and you don't have enough to go around.

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Spanish Chorizo

What is it: Chorizo has a primitive origin and is closely linked to the "slaughter of a pig." It has a gastronomic, festive, cultural, and even religious tradition in most rural villages. The main ingredients are pork meat, pork bacon, paprika, garlic, and salt. But there are as many recipes as there is chorizo.

How it's prepared: The traditional process is to chop meat and bacon, mix it with all the spices, rest for 24 hours, and make the sausage with natural pork gut. It's cured in a room with fire and smoke to keep insects away. The meat is usually cured for 50 days in a cool dry place.

Its character: It's known for its smoky spicey flavor and can be found both in fresh and cured forms.

How much will it cost: Depending on the quality of the chorizo it can run anywhere from $3-$16. You can cut this type of meat a little thicker. It's a great stackable option for your charcuterie board.

Where to buy: You can get it in most grocery stores. But to get authentic chorizo find an international grocery store near you or order some online. It will cost more than the grocery store but the quality is unmatched.

There are so many different types of chorizo out there. Chorizo is an excellent way to add flavorful spices and smokey meat to your charcuterie board. In this way, you will be able to bring your guests along as you tell the story of your charcuterie board.

Genoa Salami

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What is it: Genoa salami is a cured meat product that's closely associated with Genoa Italy. There are many other types of meat made there, but it is the most well-known product made in that region. The meat in salami tends to be coarsely cut, so large chunks of meat and fat is present in the finished product.

How it's prepared: Salami is made by chopping meat and spices and stuffing them into a casing. The resulting meat is cured, usually through the process of drying and smoking. Salami can be stored at room temperature until it's cut open.

Its character: The dry cure used to preserve salami results in very dry meat that is also slightly crumbly. It tends to be slightly spicier than other cured meats. It is pork salami, with garlic, salt, and fennel seeds mixed in.

How much will it cost: Like everything else the price depends on the quality. A pound of genoa salami will run around $15 for the cured dried version of salami. 

Where to buy: You can get some at your local grocery store. Amazon has a lot of wonderful options for Genoa Salami.

Genoa salami is a must-have for your charcuterie board. There are lots of different types of salami that you can try. The meat pairs well with mild creamy cheeses, and dense chewy pieces of bread. The best part is if you have some leftovers it tastes delicious on a sandwich. 


What is it: Pancetta is pork belly. It originated in what is now called Italy as a way to preserve pork belly for storage, shipping, and trade. It is usually rolled into a log and can be sliced into any thickness. Pancetta is dry-cured and fully aged so it can be eaten raw. It works really well as a side with eggs like you would eat bacon.

How it's prepared: The pork belly meat is sourced and prepared with either a dry salt and spice mixture or a liquid brine. The spices and seasonings typically used are pepper, fennel, chili flakes, allspice, and nutmeg. This mixture preserves the meat and helps develop its flavor.

Its character: It's a notoriously flavorful and fatty portion of meat. It's allowed to age rather than being cooked directly or indirectly over heat. It is a world-renowned meat that imparts a distinctively robust flavor when used.

How much will it cost: It will run you anywhere from $17-$25 per pound but it will bring a very unique flavor to your charcuterie board.

Where to buy: Hopefully you have a good quality deli nearby that carries some like a Kroger. Amazon has lots of options for Pancetta.

Pancetta is best used for sandwiches, antipasto boards, and of course charcuterie boards. It has a high-fat content and is used to bring punches of flavor to your charcuterie board. Adding a little bit to your board can go a long way, so don't overdo it.


What is it: Bresaola is a lean dried salted beef from northern Italy. It is occasionally made from pork, venison, or horse meat but beef is the most common. The meat is cut very thin. It is a bit like lean prosciutto made with beef instead of pork and has a taste that will remind you of pastrami. 

How it's prepared: It's salted and dried like salami. The meat is rubbed with a dry mix of coarse salt and spices, such as pepper, cinnamon, and juniper berries, and left to cure for 10 days. The meat is aged for nearly two months in special cellars, where it loses nearly half its original weight and develops its natural ruby hue.

Its character: Bright red color, sometimes with some streaks of white fat. You should serve it in thin slices. It has a soft taste in the mouth and a pleasant flavor.

How much will it cost: It is very expensive at around $38 a pound. Most people have never tasted it so a little goes a long way with this meat. Depending on the crowd it might not get eaten much but those with a sophisticated palate will appreciate the option.

Where to buy: Unless you have a local butcher that carries it you most likely won't find it in many places in the United States. The best option is to buy Bresaola online. 

You can use all sorts of meats on your charcuterie board, and I've just scratched the surface. With a charcuterie board, you can build a story of flavors. Make sure you pair different foods together if you want people to try certain pairings with your meat. When it comes to quality meat, there is no wrong combination of food. Give your guests a delicious mix of meat and they will leave your home happy and satisfied. What are some of your favorite meats?

"Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links at no additional cost to you."

Alex Roig is the owner of Ask Alex Wood Worx, a high-end woodworking site that sells personalized charcuterie boards and other wood products. With 15 years of woodworking experience, Alex is a master of his craft. His attention to detail and passion for his work sets him apart from the competition.

When he's not in the workshop, you can find him spending time with his beautiful wife and daughters or working out and gardening (he has a gardening YouTube channel called Fathers Love Fathers Heal). But his true passion is making unique, one-of-a-kind charcuterie boards that are perfect for any occasion.

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