These cured meats from duck and pheasant to elk and venison are game changers.

By Stacey Ballis
June 03, 2021
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If you have been anywhere near the internet in the past year, you have seen the epic charcuterie boards that everyone has been creating. There is just something like a giant platter of cured meats hanging out with cheeses and accompaniments that just sets the heart aflutter and gets your appetite excited.

Charcuterie
Credit: Getty / Anna Janecka

But the only thing more fun than a charcuterie board is one that has a little something extra special. There is no shortage of prosciuttos or salamis or other traditional cured meats available at your local grocery store. But these days, I love to dig a little deeper to bring that certain je ne sais quoi to my cocktail hour. Even better? A lot of the alternative meats are naturally leaner than traditional offerings, so it can be a nice way to be able to indulge without things getting too rich. Here are 7 delicious meats for your next charcuterie board that you can order online right now.

Duck
Credit: Courtesy d'Artagnan

Duck

Duck is a great way to serve richly flavored cured meats to those who do not eat pork, or just to make a little more effort to stray from the usual suspects. I have used duck prosciutto, smoked duck, and even duck salami on my boards and they are always a hit! I get mine at D'Artagnan.

Turkey
Credit: Courtesy New Braunfels Smokehouse

Chicken, Turkey, and Pheasant

While poultry isn't the first place you might look to for your charcuterie boards, smoked chicken and turkey breast can be really fun additions. I particularly enjoy the smoked turkey tenders and smoked pheasant from New Braunfels Smokehouse and the smoked chicken breast from D'Artagnan.

Lamb
Credit: Courtesy Smoking Goose

Lamb

If you have ever had merguez—the North African sausage—you know that lamb makes great fresh sausage. But did you know it also makes terrific, cured sausages? A wonderful break from the everyday pork versions, lamb salumi is always a welcome addition to your snack board. I particularly love the Gin and Juice Salame from Smoking Goose, which has juniper and orange peel balancing the lamb.

Venison
Credit: Courtesy Maui Nui

Venison

Venison is one of those amazing meats that is full of flavor while being naturally lean. I love to put venison sticks and bars on a charcuterie platter, which ends up converting my guests to this wonderful meat. I'm a fan of the products from Maui Nui Venison, a Hawaiian company that protects the natural resources of Hawaii by culling the wild Axis deer, a non-native invasive species that's been incredibly destructive on local ecosystems.

Elk
Credit: Courtesy Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co.

Game Meats

Elk, bison, and wild boar all make amazing, cured meat products, especially styles like bresaola and salami. I love the wild boar prosciutto from Angel's Salumi & Truffles and elk salami from Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co.