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Ask a Chef: Make or Buy Charcuterie?

Maggie Borden

March 04, 2015

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While it may seem that the scale has tipped toward housemade ​everything, even top toques will admit that the best option sometimes lies outside the restaurant kitchen. We asked chefs from around the country to spill about what they source in and out of house. Today we hear their stances on charcuterie.

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JBF Award Winner John Besh, Besh Restaurant Group: 

“We started raising hogs, and even went to the extent of buying a slaughterhouse, so that we would have access to the best pork to use for the sausage we make in our restaurants. “

JBF Award Winner Ashley Christensen, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Chuck’s, Fox Liquor Bar, and Poole’s Downtown Diner, Raleigh, North Carolina:

“We make all of our fresh sausages in-house. It’s a really neat means of harnessing specific flavors and bringing out unique characteristics in the various meats by way of ingredients, grinds, textures, and fat content. And, you’re able to really tweak a sausage to exude a perfect flavor profile for the specific design of a dish. We don’t currently practice any salumi curing or aging, but we will before too long. Right now we source most of our cured meats from the plethora of southern ham masters, and a number of items from Salumeria Biellese in New York City.“

JBF Award Winner Maria Hines, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle, and Tilth, Seattle:

“I prefer to use meats from my local producers, like Skagit River Ranch, which has great beef, pork, goat, and chicken.”

JBF Award Winner Stephanie Izard, The Girl & the Goat and Little Goat Diner, Chicago:

“Some we make, some we buy. We make all of our non-stuffed sausages in-house. But we have goat hot dogs made for us by Chef Martin of Alpine Brand Sausages, because they are better than we could make. He’s a guy on south side of Chicago who has been making them forever!”

Yehuda Sichel, Abe Fisher, Philadelphia:

“We make kishka, which is kind of like sausage, because no one is doing what we do with it. It's unique to stuff challah and duck meat ground with onions, carrots, allspice, and eggs into a duck neck; it's not really something you could buy.”

Maggie Borden is assistant editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

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