With consumers’ craving for charcuterie on the rise, Seattle’s thriving artisan cured meat scene brings home more than just the bacon. Charcuterie, the french style of curing, preserving, and smoking meats, includes savory mainstays like bacon, ham, and sausage, as well as pâtés, terrines, and confits.
But Seattleites also enjoy their salumi, the Italian style of salt-cured, aged, dried meats - typically pork.
Here, a trio of Seattle’s most successful cured meat purveyors share their secrets to success:
Salumi Artisan Cured Meats | Pioneer Square
Everyone has a retirement dream. For Armandino Batali, former Boeing Process Control Engineer and father of culinary phenom Mario Batali, that dream was salumi. Started in 2002, Salumi Artisan Cured Meats pays homage to Armandino Batali’s maternal grandfather, founder of Seattle’s first Italian food import shop, Merlino’s.
Batali seeks to provide unique, artisan cured meats using traditional methods. Challenging consumers to ‘think outside the casing,’ Salumi offers seasonal salami like winter red and green peppercorn, as well as year-round salami like hot sopressata (garlic flavored) smoked paprika, finocchiona (fennel-flavored), and molé (chocolate with cinnamon, chipotle and ancho.)
A proponent of the Slow Food Movement - a movement started in Italy in 1986 which encourages traditional, regional cuisine - Salumi sources much of its pork from local farms in Oregon and Washington.
However, Batali finds that the smaller Northwest pigs lack the European fat-to-lean ratio necessary in some cured meat products, especially muscle meat products like guanciale (cured pork jowl), coppa (cured neck muscle) culatello (cured backside) lomo (cured tenderloin) and pancetta (cured pork belly.) Because the right fat content is essential in these items, Salumi imports spotted Berkshire pure breed pigs from Certified Humane farmers in the Midwest. Gourmands prize this rare breed for their juicy, tender, high fat content meat.
In addition to pork products, Batali combines his life-long love of lamb with his passion for cured meat to create lamb prosciutto, made in the same manner as his prosciutto crudo, or air-cured, thinly sliced uncooked ham.
Delicatus | Pioneer Square
Founded in 2010 by Derek Shankland and Mike Klotz, Delicatus began as an old-style delicatessen, emulating European traditions while using Northwest-sourced ingredients. Since opening its doors, Delicatus has morphed into more, much more - including a place at the cured meat table. It’s also proven instrumental in reviving Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood.
An important cornerstone of the community, Delicatus expands to meet the needs of its clientele. This includes adding a dinner menu, a retail menu, a catering and special event venue down the street called Delicatus Kitchen, and formation of SousSol Winery, a vanguard in the Downtown Seattle Winery movement.
Delicatus’ retail menu highlights their own Wooden Table Meat Program, with delectables like Brisket Pastrami, Eye of Round Beef Roast, and Wooden Table Sausage, plus local and international purveyors like Olympic Provisions, Zoe’s Meats, Galloni, and Fra’mani.
Delicatus Kitchen also hosts special events like Pioneer Square Artwalk, Mariners and Sounders Game Nights, Annual Harvest Dinner, and local chef pop-ups. One recent event, Jazzy French Cafe, included live music, cocktails, and house-crafted concoctions like pistachio paté, pork rillette, foie gras, and frisée & lardon salad.
Rain Shadow Meats | Capitol Hill & Pioneer Square
Rain Shadow Meats isn’t your regular neighborhood butcher. San Francisco native Russell Flint didn’t just want to chop meat. He wanted a place to create his own house-made charcuterie, utilize his custom curing room, and showcase specialty purveyors like Tails and Trotters hazelnut-finished pork, Nicky USA game meat and birds, and Anderson Ranch lamb.
Flint cut his teeth in the butchery business first at Larry’s Market, and then at Whole Foods, where he learned not only how to cut meat and make sausage, but about the importance of naturally raised meats to enhancing quality and flavor.
Flint stocks his lunchtime menu with salads, plates and specialty sandwiches, a few charcuterie finds like Fermin Jamon Serrano and Ollie Speck, as well as house-made gems like Paris ham, country-style pork or beef shank terrine, paté foie de porc, and chicken liver mousse.