With holiday parties right around the corner, having a few meat and cheese plate ideas seemed like a great idea–so I had plenty of inspiration to make the best charcuterie board ever.
A meat and cheese board idea is a great addition to any party and surprisingly easy to prepare.
You can use a wide variety of meats and cheese or keep it simple with a smaller crowd. You can provide crackers or bread, so people can assemble their own sandwiches too.
Creating your own meat and cheese platter is all a matter of personal taste, availability and budget. So go ahead and make it how you like it and enjoy.
Great Tips To Turn a Cheese and Meat Tray into a Gourmet Charcuterie Board
- Plan to serve everything room temperature, so give yourself some time to get the meats thinly sliced and allow your meat and cheese tray to rest for a bit before you put it out.
- But, let’s be clear, there’s an answer to ‘how far in advance can i make a meat and cheese tray’–not too long. You don’t want to cheese to go so soft that it is inedible. And you don’t want any of your soft cheeses to be melty. So, the answer is: about a half hour–assuming you will have
- To cut the meat and cheese thinly, you should use a cheese slicer like this one I found on Amazon. It’s going to allow you to adjust the width of the cut and cleanly slice cured meats and cheeses quite nicely.
- Three things you have to think about when preparing a charcuterie board: smell, taste, presentation. You want everything to pair well in all three of these ways. If you’re concerned about that and not sure, keep reading, because there’s a trick to doing this.
What Kind of Meat Goes on a Charcuterie Board?
Choose cured meats that go well with each other. It’s fine to serve plain turkey meat, but don’t let that be the only meat on your platter, that’s just boring–toss some roast beef on there and some others, too.
Find meats that compliment each other like salami and summer sausage. Or prosciutto and salami. I mean, salami is just a great one because it pairs with a lot. So, try it.
What Kind of Cheeses are Normally on a Charcuterie Plate?
When choosing different kinds of cheeses, look for a variety of flavors to tickle the senses. Fun smells like aged cheeses and unusual goat cheeses will be more interesting than a smattering of sharp cheddar cheeses.
And don’t be afraid to go for vegan cheeses, soft cheeses–all type of cheese will be welcome.
If you can swing 2-3 different and unique cheeses, you’re going to find the smell to be an automatic win.
Meat and Cheese Board Garnishes
When assembling a meat and cheese tray, I also like to throw in some edible garnishes and little fillers just to make the meet and cheese tray seem a little more full with bits of fruits, nuts and whatnot for a little bit more variety than just plain-ole meat and cheese.
Some of my favorite garnishes for charcuterie boards are:
- Dried Fruit
- Crumbled Blue Cheeses
- Sea Salt
- Roasted Pecans
- Marcona Almonds
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans (I know, but they’re so good)
What Do You Serve a Meat and Cheese Plate on?
Use these gorgeous serving platters to put together your own charcuterie board! Some of these are Amazon affiliates so you can have them delivered before the party.
- Plain Cutting Board (trust me, it’ll look fine)
- 3 Tier Rectangular Serving Platter, White
- Tiered Tray
- Metal Sheet (just make sure it’s super clean and toss some parchment paper over it)
- Sur La Table Italian Olivewood Slice Serving Board
- Kraft Paper
- Rachel Ray Dinnerware Cucina Stoneware Serving Platter, Agave Blue
What Should be on a Charcuterie Platter?
Ok. So this is crazy, but there’s kind of an art to making a charcuterie tray. The good news is that there are some really great resources out there for making some of the best appetizer boards you’re going to love and I’ve pulled together a couple of options I like to use as a base:
But, I get it, you want to get more detailed about this, but at the same time you don’t want to be told what to put on the tray, you want to know which of YOUR favorite things pair together.
Don’t worry, I’ve got that, too. Here are some of my favorite simple pairings for a charcuterie board:
- Feta cheese, little breadsticks, olives, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts and apple slices
- Havarti cheese, water crackers, dates, figs, almonds, and honey
- Mozzarella cheese, wheat crackers, grapes, walnuts, salami and prosciutto
- Cheddar, whole grain crackers, apple slices, pear slices, grapes, walnut and salami
- Brie, melba toast, crusty breads, apple slices, pear slices, almonds, prosciutto and salami
You’ll see some crossover there and you can pair most of these together for an epic charcuterie board without breaking the bank and providing some awesome snacking options.
How Do You Set-up a Charcuterie Board?
A lot of the finesse about a charcuterie tray is presentation. So, here’s my quick-and-dirty tips to make your charcuterie tray look awesome:
- Never stack anything. Spread each set of whatever (meat, cheese, crackers) out over a space or area.
- Leave spaces between each larger set of items that you fill-in with the smaller bits and garnishes.
- If you have a dip that goes along with your charcuterie board, give guests an item close-by that goes into the dip. And that goes with other items, too. If you have a meat that pairs well with a certain cracker or cheese, place those close-by on the board to give your guests the hint.
- Provide pops of color–don’t do everything in one area of the board in browns or yellows, then all the colorful things on the other side of the board. Mix it up!
More Appetizer Recipes You’ll Love
If you’re making a meat and cheese charcuterie board for a crowd, you’re probably going to want some other appetizer recipes. So, I’ve pulled together some of my favorites that are definitely going to please a crowd.
More Cheese Appetizers You’ll Love
If you’re just here for the cheese, I don’t blame you. It’s just about the best thing on the planet.
So versatile and so very tasty. You have to have more of it. All. The. Time. You’re going to need these recipes:
- • Turkey
- • Chicken
- • Ham
- • Salami
- • Pepperoni
- • Roast beef
- • Pastrami
- • Prosciutto
- • Cheddar
- • Havarti
- • Swiss
- • Gouda
- • Blue cheese
- • Brie
- • Cream cheese
- • Other gourmet cheeses
- • Sliced veggies
- • Slice fruits
- • Bread
- • Crackers
- Assembling Your Platter
- How you assemble your platter will depend on the meat and cheese you choose and how they’re cut. Thinly sliced meats can be rolled up and arranged on the platter. Sliced cheese can be layers from the outside of the platter to the inside. Cubed cheeses can be arranged together.
- Garnish with kale or parsley. Throw on some grapes for more visual appeal and color.