Top 5 meat recommendations to put on your next charcuterie board!

The charcuterie board is an assembly of meats, cheeses, fruit, nuts, and crackers. Quick and easy to prepare, charcuterie boards are a great appetizer or first course for entertaining. The French word "charcuterie" refers to the preparation of cured meats. Typical charcuterie items include cured meats, fresh and smoked sausages, pâté, and hams. You can find a more in-depth description of the history of charcuterie here!

With the rise of charcuterie boards, you can find fantastic pre-sliced meat options at all grocery stores. We recommend having your deli-counter slice the meat for you, but pre-packaged is also great! When it comes to assembling a board, choosing the right meat makes a big difference. What type of meat should you use? Great question! We recommend the following meats for Charcuterie Boards:

  • Genoa Salami

  • Prosciutto di parma 

  • Kolbassa

  • Coppa di parma

  • Peppered Turkey

As we previously discussed with our favourite cheeses, our top five meat options offer a variety of textures and tastes. Having more variety on your board will make it more photogenic and cater to the different tastes of your guests. So, mix and match as you wish or select one and serve it alongside your favourite cheese. Now, let's break down what we think are the five best kinds of meat to include on your board.

Prosciutto di parma

Let’s start with the most popular meat to include on a charcuterie board: prosciutto. This salty, silky meat is made from curing the hind leg of a pig. Prosciutto is salumi that is sliced paper-thin. There are different types, but our favourite is Prosciutto di Parma. Prosciutto is great paired with fresh mozzarella or a hard cheese like Parmesan. Or wrapped around a piece of fresh cantaloupe.

Genoa Salami

Genoa salami is readily available at most grocery stores. It’s a dry, spiced, cured, uncooked salami made from pork and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. It’s very similar to soppressata, but it’s softer and greasier. Genoa Salami is best served with Brie or a semi-hard cheese like Gouda.


Kolbassa is a U-shaped smoked sausage, which is traditionally from Poland. This meat consists of chopped pork or beef and is often flavoured with salt, pepper, and garlic. It pairs great with a sharp cheese like smoked Cheddar or something milder like Manchego. A perfect bite may include a topping like dried apricot or a gherkin pickle.

Coppa di parma

Coppa di parma, or Capicola, is made of dry-cured pork neck and spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Coppa is typically served very thin. Its dark red colour, marbled with white fat, often makes this deli meat stand out. Coppa is also known by the slang term "gabagool" in The Sopranos. Our favourite way to serve Coppa di Parma is with a fresh baguette or fresh mozzarella.

Peppered Turkey

The last, but certainly not the least, is peppered turkey. To enhance the oven-roasted flavour, black peppercorns and paprika coat the edges of the turkey slices. It keeps the texture and flavour of Thanksgiving turkey despite being sliced extremely thin. Peppered turkey is a great addition to a charcuterie board since it's well-loved and goes well with almost anything! Our favourite way to serve rolled turkey slices is with caramelized pecans, which cut through the mild pepper flavour.

What Next? 

We typically recommend our customers to choose one or two meats that people are familiar with like prosciutto or kolbassa. You may want to introduce a few unique options as well; these can be a great conversation starter at any gathering! Don’t like what we recommended? That’s okay, some other options that would also work great on any charcuterie board include Hot Calabrese, mortadella, soppressata, and pepperettes!
Also, remember to take your board out about 30 minutes before serving, as deli meat is best appreciated at room temperature! Regarding quantity, you'll want to make sure you have about two ounces of meat per person.
When looking for the best meat to add to your charcuterie board, there are a lot of options to consider. We hope you enjoyed our five personal favourites at The Grazing Table KW. We promise that a Charcuterie Board will be such a great addition to your next party spread, whether you order one from us or make your own at home.
What recommendations would you like to see next? Best wine pairings? How about dips and spreads? Let us know in the comments!