Learn how to build a charcuterie board for the ultimate snack dinner or party appetizer. My charcuterie board guide will coach you through how much meat and cheese to buy per person, how to assemble the most beautiful board, and the accessories you may want to add to fill in the gaps and add a flavor boost.
Select your board, then gather your meats. Imagine your board as having four quadrants, and position one type of meat in the middle of each of those four portions.
Next, the cheeses; position the cheese you'd suggest as a pairing for each meat next two it in the quadrant.
Using bowls or cups of jams, mustards, cherries, and/or olives, fill in the larger holes.
Then using your desired fruits, nuts, crackers, toasted baguette slices and other ingredients, fill in the gaps. Layer and overlap when needed; step back to view the board from afar to spot any slim spots.
Garnish with herbs, and tuck in forks, spreaders, tongs, and other utensils where needed.
Meats: The overall goal with your Charcuterie Board is to offer enough diversity that everyone can find something they enjoy; and perhaps discover a new favorite, too. I like to showcase four total, including smoked sausages and salamis, dry-cured pork or beef, and a spreadable meat. This list below can offer some inspiration.
Dry-Cured Pork or Beef: Serrano ham, prosciutto, country ham, Iberico ham, capicola, speck, bresaola
Cheeses: I like to feature four different varieties of cheese on a Charcuterie Board. You're free to choose your own adventure, of course, but I like to select one from each of the categories bulleted below, then a bonus item. Try to think of cheeses that might complement each of your meats.
Jams, mustards, and other flavor-boosters: Any form of fruit preserves/jams/jellies, honey, mustards, nuts, olives, cornichons, chocolate, and fresh herbs can round out the board's real estate.
Fruit and vegetables: I like to wander the produce aisle to see what looks fresh, ripe, and ready. In addition to at least one form of dried fruit, I usually end up highlighting fresh berries, cherries, grapes, and apples or pears. If you opt to layer in the latter two, toss them with lemon juice before assembly to slow the oxidation process that causes the flesh to brown. Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and mini bell pepper halves are lovely to layer in other nutritious, refreshing elements, and can act as great vehicles for dips or soft cheeses.
Carbs: Crackers, Toasted Baguette slices, Pita Chips, or pretzels are among my favorites. Stock up on more than you think you might need to build the base board so you can refill the board throughout the gathering.
Yield: Your yield will vary depending on how much you buy which is determined by how many you are feeding. I usually plan on 1 to 2 ounces each of meat and cheese per person. If the Charcuterie Board is standing alone as the main event, I am more generous and estimate 4 ounces of meat and cheese per person.
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make ahead: Assemble the full board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate up to one day in advance. Bring to room temperature right before the party starts.