This past Saturday marked the inaugural Charcuterie Masters, a tasting of and a competition between of some of the best makers of cured meats in New York State and the country. Held at the historic Flushing Town Hall on Northern Boulevard in Queens, purveyors showcased what they do best to hungry guests, judges and their fellow food artisans.
My first bite came by way of one of my favorite meat makers, Dickson’s Farmstand. Amongst the gorgeous cuts of meat and poultry and their prepared foods, they make one of my most favorite sandwiches EVER!
It’s called the Spicy Italian with their housemade ham, coppa and mortadella plus cheddar, thin sliced onions and chilies, and mayo on a portion-controlled (‘cause my eyes, not my stomach, want it to be much bigger than it is) ciabatta roll. I have ventured downtown many times for this sammy, most recently to make my first day of jury duty that much more manageable.
Dickson’s Farmstand wasn’t serving the Spicy Italian on this night. Instead, they presented a plate of their coppa and mortadella, plus their tender, flavorful and luscious hogs headcheese. My grandmother would be so proud. It is most certainly one of the reasons for their second place finish. Congrats!
I somehow missed the Grand Champions Nduja Artisans and mostly likely their version of their namesake. We connected over social media when I posted photos of my rudimentary attempt at making the aged meat product in my small wine cellar at the suggestion of Betony chef, Bryce Shuman at Eataly’s Identita Golose. It turned out alright, but I am sure not as true at these masters. Congratulations to you!
Event creator and owner of The Meat Market and Fire Roasted Catering, Jeremy Stanton (2nd from left), came together with New York Epicurean Events to celebrate and elevate the fine art of charcuterie through competition. His aim is to highlight the unique American flavor of this European craft and inspire others to pursue the profession.
Other Charcuterie Masters winners were third place finisher, Michael Clampffer of Mangalitsa by Mosefund and Steven Jagoda for Best Amateur! Some of my winners included a perfectly seasoned and sliced salumi from Ridgewood Pork Store, the most delicate pork rinds from Ends Meat, a smorgasbord of unique pâtés from Hudson Valley Charcuterie and a taste of a three-year, $8,000 leg of ham from Caseiro e Bom!
Ridgewood Pork Store had a spread for the gods with smoked leg of lamb with rosemary, smoked pistachio salami and the most delicious wagyu sushi with wasabi cream. I came back four times for that one…
The crazy and fun guys at Ends Meat will have me finding my way out to Brooklyn for their genius pork rinds I am calling the “tuille” of pork rinds. Light and airy, these things have been painstakingly tended to with love and seasoned with a perfume of sweet heat. They are addictive at first bite.
Hudson Valley Charcuterie was sampling a selection of pâtés presented in small glass jars. Chicken liver, smoked and not smoked pork rillette were my favorites.
The generous spirit of the guys from Caseiro e Bom, helmed by founder Rodrigo Duarte, had me sampling a large arsenal of cured meats from headcheese set in the head, to the pork fat dark chocolate bonbons to the delicate flavor of that 36 month aged Pata Negra ham.
I most certainly hit a wall by the end of the evening but I wouldn’t change a minute of my time at Charcuterie Masters. I am looking forward to next year!