A Midwest Charcuterie Board ripe with regional offerings is perfect for all-day grazing and parties with people you love. Make a few things, buy the rest, enjoy it all!

Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.

I became obsessed with charcuterie board long before I even knew how to pronounce “charcuterie.” Every time I see one in a magazine or on Pinterest, I stare at it endlessly and dream of making (and eating) my own.

So I set a goal to make a Charcuterie board that appeals to the Wisconsinite in me. Something free of stuffy ingredients and full of all the snacky things I love, gathered together onto one big board.

It’s fun, easy, and if you plan it right, there won’t be a smidge left when the party’s over.

Equipment notes:

  • Board or platter: Tile, wood, slate, any flat surface will do. Make sure whatever you use is food safe. It should be free from harmful sealants or chemicals and be easy to clean. You can treat raw wood or butcher blocks with a light coating of food-grade mineral oil, just wipe off any excess before you start. If you have something that you really want to use but aren’t sure if you should, try wrapping it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap to protect the food from touching the surface.
  • Dishes: Small bowls and dishes hold dips, relishes, mustards, and ingredients that might roll off the board. They also add some much-needed height and dimension. Keep a small supply handy, just in case you think of extra stuff to add. If you’re serving olives or other food with pits or stems, always add an empty dish right next to it to collect what can’t be eaten. (A lone olive pit left in the bottom will help clue people in; works like a charm!)
  • Spreaders, skewers, knives, and picks: The bigger the board, the more of these you need. Raid your silverware drawer for little forks, tongs, frill picks, spoons, cheese knives, etc and don’t worry about everything matching.

Ingredient notes:

  • Mustard: Whole grain, spicy brown, Dijon, or anything with horseradish.
  • Pepper jelly: There is no tastier way to enjoy pepper jelly than with a block of cream cheese. Serve with all your favorite crackers and watch it disappear.
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Dill dip: This easy dill dip is pretty wonderful on just about anything. It uses dried herbs you already have, too. Serve with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and cucumbers.
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Venison sausage: Because anyone with a hunter in the family knows you run the risk of being saddled with venison sausage in all forms, forever and ever, amen.
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Mini cheese balls: Tiny, single-serving cheese balls rolled in sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, and nuts (or anything else that sounds good to you).
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Ham roll ups: These little gems are cream-cheese-slathered ham slices (Badger brand baked ham, if you can get it) wrapped around pickle spears and cut into pieces or served whole. Aka Lutheran sushi.
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Mozzarella pretzel sticks: Cut up string cheese (Baker brand smoked string cheese, if you can find it), and stab it with a pretzel stick.
  • Cheese: Slices of Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, your favorite Wisconsin cheddar, and cheese curds.
  • Crackers: Sociables, Club crackers, Townhouse, Chicken in a Biskit. All good.
  • Olives: Black and green with pimentos are both tasty.
  • Red grapes: Red grapes look great, last all day, and taste delicious.
  • Candied pecans: Sugar-coated pecans are so fun to make and fill out a charcuterie board beautifully.
    Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.
  • Crusty bread: Thin slices of baguette along with the crackers.
  • Herbs for garnishing: What’s growing in your yard? Chives are native, thyme is a perennial. Whatever you can find. Wood violets, anyone?

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Start by creating some anchor points with any bowls you want to use. Space out dishes of pepper jelly, mustards, olives, and dill dip in a few central spots on the board. From there, you can work outward, using the bowls to support stacks of crackers, hold up apple slices, and bolster up sliced baguette.
  2. Next, the heavy stuff. Mini cheese balls can piled up into a mini mountain. Slice up the meats and cheeses into finger-friendly pieces and arrange them in luscious piles, layering and overlapping when needed to make it beautiful (Martha calls it “shingling.”) Have fun with this; make it symmetrical or random, orderly or chaotic. I do tend to keep like with like, in case there’s a specific thing someone needs to avoid; it also makes replenishing the board easier. If you’re leaving chunks of cheese for guests to cut themselves, make sure it’s accessible on the board.
  3. You’re almost done. Fill in the gaps with whatever you have: sliced fruit, crackers, breadsticks, baguette, sugared cranberries, peanuts, pistachios, toasted walnuts, you name it.
  4. Garnish with herbs, flowers, and finally, add forks, spreaders, and picks where needed.

Selections of Midwestern snacks on a Midwest Charcuterie Board.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • How much meat and cheese to buy: That depends on your budget, the group, and what else you’ll be serving. I usually plan on 2 to 4 ounces of meat and cheese per person. If the charcuterie board is all I’m serving (for a cocktail party, for example) I might veer towards 4 ounces so no one leaves hungry.
  • Think OUT, but also UP: Yes, you want to cover every inch of your board with snacks, but try to make it a little 3-dimensional, too. Sometimes I even use an overturned bowl as a pedestal for another bowl of  dip, with crackers mounded underneath to conceal the prop. It’s a trick caterers use.
  • Room temperature ingredients: Serve anything that’s supposed to be eaten hot or chilled separately, off the board. Charcuterie boards are best when they can linger as long as your friends do.
  • Mix it up: Variety is key. Select several different varieties of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, fruit, and other savory stuff. The more choices you offer, the more interesting your board will be. However, feel free to break the rules. It’s okay if you don’t put blue cheese on your board even if everyone else on the internet says you should.
  • High/low: Don’t be afraid to mix a fancy ingredient (like a small-batch cheese or homemade sausage) with a pile of grocery store pretzels. That’s exactly what makes it fun and gets everyone fed.
  • More meat: Smoked sausage, kielbasa or polish sausage, something fully cooked and sliced. Summer sausage works too. Braunschweiger is a delicious option (it’s a lot like paté, made from whipped smoked liver which sounds DISGUSTING but is actually SO GOOD, I’m obsessed.)
  • Nuts: Peanuts in the shell, smoked almonds, toasted walnuts, pistachios, or cashews.
  • Fruit: Cherries from Door County, apples from The Elegant Farmer, or maybe some sugared cranberries because they sparkle like magic.
  • Salty snacks: Homemade Chex mix, ranch oyster crackers, or even potato chips.
  • Pickled things: Pickled shallots, pickled garlic, pickled herring, or even just pickles (dill and bread and butter are both great and Milwaukee brand pickles are the best).
  • Sweet treats: Orange marmalade, fig jam, honeycomb, or honey (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link).
  • Dips and spreads: Hummus, tapenade, or store-bought cheese spread like Merkts or Boursin.

More tasty Midwestern recipes:

Midwest Charcuterie board on a gray countertop.

Midwest Charcuterie Board

A Midwest Charcuterie Board ripe with regional offerings is perfect for all-day grazing and parties with people you love. Make a few things, buy the rest, enjoy it all!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 8 servings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Calories 512

Ingredients 

  • Mustard (see note 1)
  • Pepper jelly over cream cheese (see note 2)
  • Dill dip with fresh vegetables (see note 3)
  • Venison sausage or beef sausage, quartered and sliced (see note 4)
  • Mini cheese balls (see note 5)
  • Ham and pickle roll ups (see note 6)
  • Mozzarella pretzel sticks (see note 7)
  • Cheese sliced or curds (see note 8)
  • Crackers (see note 9)
  • Olives (see note 10)
  • Red grapes (see note 11)
  • Candied pecans (see note 12)
  • Bread (see note 13)
  • Fresh herbs, for garnish (see note 14)

Instructions 

  • Start by creating some anchor points with any bowls you want to use. Space out dishes of pepper jelly, mustards, olives, and dill dip in a few central spots on the board. From there, you can work outward, using the bowls to support stacks of crackers, hold up apple slices, and bolster up sliced bread.
  • Next, the heavy stuff. Mini cheese balls can piled up into a mini mountain. Slice up the meats and cheeses into finger-friendly pieces and arrange them in luscious piles, layering and overlapping when needed to make it beautiful (Martha calls it "shingling.") Have fun with this; make it symmetrical or random, orderly or chaotic. I do tend to keep like with like, in case there's a specific thing someone needs to avoid; it also makes replenishing the board easier. If you're leaving chunks of cheese for guests to cut themselves, make sure it's accessible on the board.
  • Fill in the gaps with whatever you have: sliced fruit, crackers, breadsticks, baguette, sugared cranberries, peanuts, pistachios, toasted walnuts, you name it. Garnish with herbs, flowers, and finally, add forks, spreaders, and picks where needed.

Notes

  1. Mustard: Whole grain, spicy brown, Dijon, or anything with horseradish.
  2. Pepper jelly: Homemade pepper jelly served over a block of cream cheese. There's nothing better for adding some zip to the party.
  3. Dill dip: This easy dill dip is pretty wonderful on well, just about anything. It uses dried herbs you already have, too. Serve with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans, and cucumbers.
  4. Venison sausage: Because anyone with a hunter in the family knows you run the risk of being saddled with venison sausage in all forms, forever and ever, amen.
  5. Mini cheese balls: Tiny, single-serving cheese balls rolled in herbs and nuts.
  6. Ham roll ups: These little gems are cream-cheese-slathered ham slices (Badger brand baked ham, if you can get it) wrapped around pickle spears and cut into pieces or served whole. Aka Lutheran sushi.
  7. Mozzarella pretzel sticks: Cut up string cheese (Baker brand smoked string cheese, if you can find it), and stab it with a pretzel stick.
  8. Cheese: Slices of Colby Jack, Pepper Jack, your favorite Wisconsin cheddar, and cheese curds.
  9. Crackers: Sociables, Club, Townhouse, Chicken in a Biskit. All good.
  10. Olives: Black and green with pimentos are both tasty.
  11. Red grapes: Red grapes look great, last all day, and taste delicious.
  12. Candied pecans: Sugar-coated pecans are so fun to make and fill out a charcuterie board beautifully.
  13. Crusty bread: Thin slices of baguette along with the crackers.
  14. Herbs for garnishing: What's growing in your yard? Chives are native, thyme is a perennial. Whatever you can find. Wood violets, anyone?
  15. How much meat and cheese to buy: That depends on your budget, the group, and what else you'll be serving. I usually plan on 2 to 4 ounces of meat and cheese per person. If the charcuterie board is all I'm serving (for a cocktail party, for example) I might veer towards 4 ounces so no one leaves hungry.
  16. Think OUT, but also UP: Yes, you want to cover every inch of your board with snacks, but try to make it a little 3-dimensional, too. Sometimes I even use an overturned bowl as a pedestal for another bowl of  dip, with crackers mounded underneath to conceal the prop. It's a trick caterers use.
  17. Room temperature ingredients: Serve anything that's supposed to be eaten hot or chilled separately, off the board. Charcuterie boards are best when they can linger as long as your friends do.
  18. Mix it up: Variety is key. Select several different varieties of meats, cheeses, crackers, nuts, fruit, and other savory stuff. The more choices you offer, the more interesting your board will be. However, feel free to break the rules. It's okay if you don't put blue cheese on your board even if everyone else on the internet says you should.
  19. High/low: Don't be afraid to mix a fancy ingredient (like a small-batch cheese or homemade sausage) with a pile of grocery store pretzels. That's exactly what makes it fun and gets everyone fed.
  20. More meat: Smoked sausage, kielbasa or polish sausage, something fully cooked and sliced. Summer sausage works too. Braunschweiger is a delicious option. (It's a lot like paté, made from whipped smoked liver which sounds DISGUSTING but is actually SO GOOD, I'm obsessed.)
  21. Nuts: Peanuts in the shell, smoked almonds, toasted walnuts, pistachios, or cashews.
  22. Fruit: Cherries from Door County, apples from The Elegant Farmer, or maybe some sugared cranberries because they sparkle like magic.
  23. Salty snacks: Homemade Chex mix, ranch oyster crackers, or even potato chips.
  24. Pickled things: Pickled shallots, pickled garlic, pickled herring, or even just pickles (dill and bread and butter are both great and Milwaukee brand pickles are the best).
  25. Sweet treats: Honey or honeycomb, homemade orange marmalade, fig jam, or little shards of peanut brittle.
  26. Dips and spreads: Hummus, tapenade, or store-bought cheese spread like Merkts or Boursin.

Nutrition

Calories: 512kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 18gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 1947mgPotassium: 299mgFiber: 3gSugar: 22gVitamin A: 563IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 314mgIron: 2mg
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Comments

  1. It’s nice to see braunschweiger incorporated. I’m making my first official charcuterie board tomorrow morning and I grabbed some braunschweiger hoping I could fit it in. I see it. It works. I’m doing it!5 stars

    1. Hi Melissa, I’m so sorry for the really late reply. I just wanted to say I’m always happy to meet another person who likes braunschweiger, I LOVE IT, and people think I’m weird because I do. :) It’s amazing, the best. And yes, it belongs on a charcuterie platter! I hope it worked out for you. Happy New Year! -Meggan

  2. Lovely idea for a post, Meggan… my husband loves things like this! We often have something similar, but Mediterranean style. I think I should branch out next time and try Wisconsin-style!

    Love the pretzels in mozzarella!5 stars

    1. Thanks, Helen! You should do a Med-style one for your blog, you’re totally the expert there. :) But yes pretzels in mozzarella are silly and FAB! :)

  3. Beautiful!!!  That wouldn’t last five minutes. Now put that between two trays of your deviled eggs. Now I’m hungry again. :-))5 stars

    1. Hey Dave!!! Thanks. Yes, I was thinking about deviled eggs when I was constructing this. :) But they really just deserve a platter of their own because I eat at least 6 at a time. So great to hear from you. Stay cool!