Head north, south… or stay put… for Arizona’s hottest restaurant trend: house-cured charcuterie plates.
Pig & Pickle
2922 N. Hayden Rd., Scottsdale, 480-990-1407
From the summer getaway haunts of the high country to the dining corridors of Tucson, charcuterie plates are trending in a big way in Arizona. But order wisely: Any hack can shave pink ribbons from a hunk of imported ham and call it a day. It takes passion, skill and patience to assemble a charcuterie plate from meats cured in-house. Pig & Pickle chef/owner Keenan Bosworth’s charc plate features an ever-shifting rainbow of rich, succulent meats, like andouille and traditional hunter’s sausage, along with specialty terrines like pork with a duck and fig inlay. Bosworth pairs his handcrafted meats with house-baked breads, bacon jam and house-pickled produce, each with its own brine, including baby red grapes with cinnamon and star anise. Here’s a tip: Bosworth likely has a stash of other cured meats – perhaps lardo, lonza or prosciutto – for use in other dishes that he’ll happily add to your plate if you ask. ($15)
1300 S. Milton Rd.,
Brian Konefal fell in love with cured meats (and his future wife) while attending culinary school in Italy. Since opening Coppa in 2011, Konefal’s arsenal of aged, salt-cured meats has grown to include a rotating mix of old-school standards – speck, bresaola, salami, and of course, coppa, the poor man’s prosciutto. This summer, he’ll tackle lamb chorizo made from Navajo Churro and in December, he’ll debut a prosciutto leg hung in late 2013. ($9 for one item; $17 for three, $23 for sampler of five items)
300 E. Congress St., Tucson
Head south for a taste of duck ham and “bresaola,” cured from birds raised on barley, fennel and orange peels. What Chef Kris Vrolyk didn’t learn about charcuterie from books he learned “from practice, aka, screwing up,” he says with a laugh. The chef skillfully puts up lonza, lardo and coppa, although he’s not opposed to serving imported cured meats, especially if it rounds out his in-house selection. ($15)