The charcuterie board became a social media sensation during the pandemic, as people looked for creative ways to entertain at home. As more people started sharing photos of their latest creations, the phenomenon took off and led to a cultural trend. To date, the #charcuterieboard hashtag on Instagram has had over 2 million posts, with every board more unique and colorful than the previous one. 

In this post, we'll talk about the essentials for building charcuterie boards, plus offer "recipes" for mouth-watering party platters. Just in time for winter, we've got ideas for holiday entertaining, Sunday afternoon football, and a quiet night in by a warm fire. First, though, a few fun facts about charcuterie, then we'll share inspiration for what to put on charcuterie boards.

What Are Charcuterie Boards?

The word charcuterie originated in France, and loosely translated it refers to a pork butcher or pork butcher shop. According to the Wikipedia entry, charcuterie is about the "art of preparing various meats, in particular pork ... to present them in the most diverse ways."

Aren't charcuterie boards the same as "meat and cheese trays"? No! A charcuterie board uses gourmet foods (and some staples) and presents them artfully. Think lots of colors and a mix of familiar foods with epicurean delicacies, arranged like an Impressionist painting.  

What You Need to Make Simple Charcuterie Boards

The first thing you need to make your DIY charcuterie board is the board itself. You will find several types of materials that are popular for these snack boards: large wooden butcher block style cutting boards, slates, and marble or stone baker's slabs. 

Best materials for charcuterie boards

  • Wood and bamboo make beautiful backdrops for charcuterie boards, and because they can double as cutting boards, they're durable for serving meats and cheeses. 
  • Slate also makes for a beautiful presentation, and it's typically thinner than wood cutting boards. A bonus feature of some slate boards is you can use white chalk to write the names of the meats and cheeses, so your guests know what they're getting!
  • Marble and stone baker's slabs also make for beautiful presentations. They can be heavy, so it's best to place the slab where you plan to serve, and then arrange your foods. Another added bonus is the slabs can be chilled before serving, as they hold the chill longer than wood or slate.

Other gadgets to have on hand

  • Tented place cards, so you can identify gourmet treats, lesser-known snacks, or spicy foods 
  • Disposable toothpicks, mini appetizer forks and small knives so guests can self-serve using their own utensils (to minimize spreading of germs!)
  • Chalk (if you're using a slate or a write-on board material)
  • Cheese knives for slicing 
  • Ramekins (small bowls) for serving dips, crumbled cheeses and spreads

Easy Charcuterie Board Inspirations

For a basic, no-nonsense charcuterie board that you can serve at a moment's notice, combine meats, cheeses, simple crackers and dried fruit. These are staples that have longer shelf lives, so you can keep them on hand for last-minute gatherings.

Classic No-Fuss Charcuterie with Beef Jerky

The following serves two:

  • 1 package Cracked Pepper & Sea Salt Beef Jerky cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz smoked Gouda cheese, sliced 
  • 4 oz Classic mild cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 1 box saltine or Ritz original
  • 1 cup of seedless red grapes
  • 1 cup blanched almonds

Arrange beef jerky and cheeses on the board, divided down the middle by a row of crackers. Garnish with red grapes and enjoy!

Sweet & Savory Charcuterie 

Perfect for Sunday brunch, this mix of sweet and savory flavors makes for the perfect snack tray while dinner's roasting in the oven or on the barbecue!

Arrange the bread pieces in an X on the platter or board. In each quadrant, place the jerky, cheese and apple slices. Serve and enjoy! 

Level Up Your Charcuterie Boards

These recipes will help you create Instagram-worthy meat and cheese platters, and your guests will love them!

Crank Up The Spice Charcuterie Board

How hot can you go? This board calls for four cheeses and four meats, ranging from mild to dang-hot, along with garnishes that help quench the heat.

Arrange the meats and cheese left to right, mild to fire-hot. For sensitive palates, add a mild cheese like Havarti or white cheddar, along with something sweet like honey or honey mustard, to help quell the heat. Some people find that dairy and sugar can counteract spicy foods. 

Bacon & Egg Charcuterie Board

  • Savage Jerky deviled eggs (see recipe)
  • Bacon jerky (your favorite flavors)
  • Ham slices
  • Smoked salmon
  • Crostini
  • Cream cheese (flavored, if you prefer)
  • Olives (fresh from your grocer's deli)
  • Fresh sliced seasonal fruit (melon, strawberries, oranges)

This colorful charcuterie board is perfect for a Christmas morning breakfast, or any holiday. Arrange the bacon jerky in a bouquet, and group the tasty treats together to form a colorful display for your buffet table!

Charcuterie Board Shopping List

For all your bacon jerky and beef jerky needs, Savage Jerky has you covered. Shop online, and we ship within 1 to 2 days (allow 3 to 4 days during busy holiday seasons). Spend $49 with us, and shipping is free. 

  • Soft cheeses: Brie, Camembert, goat and blue
  • Medium cheeses: cheddar, Gouda
  • Hard cheeses: Parmesan, asiago
  • Fruits: Apple slices, red and green grapes, berries 
  • Veggies: Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, celery sticks, cucumber slices
  • Savory veggies: Olives, pickles
  • Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, cashews
  • Dips: Mustard, honey mustard, jams and jellies, hummus
  • Bread, crostini, crackers
Savage Jerky Co.