Holiday Selections from TCB



Planning what will stock your larder for the holidays? Still have a Secret Santa to sort? Look no further than this year’s seasonal order menu. We’ve got a great selection of beautiful British cured meats for every occasion, and a number of ways to get it to you. Behold:



Moons Green continues to bring some of the loveliest ham to the party. If you’ve got a lot of people to feed, then a whole ham is the way to go. If merely modest gluttony is your goal, then a half ham should suffice.

Adrienne from Crown & Queue is the latest addition to the fold at The Charcuterie Board; her sausages are simply to die for. She takes her inspiration from historical recipes, and indigenous ingredients, and everything is made by her, by hand, in Bermondsey in London. A brief rundown of the selection:

LINCOLN IMP: dark and savoury – featuring garlic, sage, dried fruit and Kernel Brewery’s Export Stout

MOTHER’S RUIN: inspired by gin cocktails of the 1900s – featuring juniper, fennel, and London Cru’s chardonnay

ANSWELL: clean and classic – featuring blackcurrant, black pepper and The Five Points Brewing Company’s London Smoke Porter

SNAPDRAGON: spicy and bright – featuring cinnamon, cayenne, dried currants and Somerset Apple Brandy

PIGTAILS / BIGTAILS: two sizes of snacking stick that feature a rotating cast of beers


Perfect Pork Pies to munch on the whole holiday weekend. The Hartlands make the best in the land. Offered in our two favourite recipes, authentic Melton Mowbray – it’s protected, you know – and our guilty Christmas pleasure, the Pork & Stilton pie. 

The two larger sizes make the nicest gifts for your party host too.

We’ve also decided that The Charcuterie Board should embrace the second Golden age of the Scotch Egg; so we knocked on all the doors between here and Bolton until we found Brendan at Happy Belly. Three varieties stand out (including the vegetarian option), and they make this year’s list too.


Tapas for the afternoon table. Ham for your indulgent Eggs Benedict on Christmas morning. We’re slicing our most popular products to have at the ready in your fridge.

If you simply can’t choose, that’s OK, we’ve curated our own selections; Larder Boxes to fill your Christmas kitchen, and Gift Hampers to ingratiate yourself with friends and relatives.



Redchurch – Meat vs Beer

Redchurch Brewery, Bethnal Green, London
Feb 2015

Redchurch Brewery occupies a couple of railway arches in Bethnal Green, employs about a dozen people, and brews delicious beer. Squeezed onto a mezzanine level above the brewing equipment is a cracking little taproom with a bar, some stools, a couple of tables, a wee DJ booth, and a dartboard. This is where Matt and I spent our evenings a few weeks ago sharing and pairing 6 Redchurch beers and 6 of our meats from Moons Green and Native Breeds.

Talking up meat and beer at Redchurch

Tida, Matt and Owen

We followed a simple format: handing around samples of a product while Mark, Tida, and Tim from the brewery poured glasses of the corresponding beer. Matt and I explained a bit about what we were tasting, how it’s made, why it’s made that way, and encouraged questions from the floor. The Redchurch guys did the same. We then discussed the pairing together. Repeat for 5 more rounds.

Those who joined us were as keen to learn about what we were doing as they were to taste each new round circulating. We always find this rewarding, and it made all four events great fun.

A mighty fine selection of Redchurch beers

A mighty fine selection of Redchurch beers

The pairings

Great Eastern India Pale Ale – Moons Green Slow-Cooked Orange Glazed Ham

Ham. It’s simple and everyone knows it. It’s a clear example of genuine British charcuterie, but it’s so hard to find a good one. Moons Green’s is moist without being wet, and not too salty, providing a good platform for many beers. The IPA had a rich caramel colour, with tropical fruit aromas and punchy bitterness. Citra hops brought the magic by drawing out the orange in the ham. This was one of the pairings that made something new in the mouth, and in Matt’s view, the best of the night.

Paradise Pale Ale – Moons Green Rosemary & Garlic Saucisson

Rosemary doesn’t usually find its way in to dried sausage, but why not? We think there’s no good reason, and there is loads of it about, which is why we stick it in there at Moons Green. The rosemary presents itself in the finish, and paired with the low ABV of Redchurch’s cloudy, zesty session IPA, it’s a fuzzy-head-inducing early afternoon delight. It’s more of a ‘clean washing’ match, rather than everything combining to form something new. I thought the combination was reminiscent of kicking back on a haystack in France in the summer time, or put even more succinctly by Mark, ‘grassy + grassy’. Delicious.

Shoreditch Blonde – Native Breeds Wild Boar, Juniper & Caraway Salami

This is an excellent beer, and Redchurch’s best seller; German Pilsner malt paired with the classic European hops Saaz and Hallertauer Mittelfruh. It makes for a continental style blonde ale, with a floral aroma. We brought an aged wild boar salami to the party – 7 months old rather than the normal 2-3; it was gamey but had mellowed with age, the caraway came through evenly, and because it was drier than normal, the flavour was intense. Despite being a pairing for Grown-Ups, it made for pretty easy easting and drinking.

Aged Paradise Pale Ale – Native Breeds Air-Dried Nape (Coppa)

Natural product continues to evolve over its lifespan, and the guys in the brewery observed that the longer the Paradise Pale Ale kept going, the more character it acquired, with ripe (read: stinky) tropical fruit flavours. Upon investigation, they found that it had caught a unique Brettanomyces yeast strain from the arch; in many beers it is considered a contaminant, but in certain styles it is highly prized. As a result, Redchurch has isolated the strain for future stank.

Looking for something robust to stand up to this one, we chose the Native Breeds Nape, which is cut from an older pig that generally translates to a big, deep flavour. A barny cured meat to match a funky beer. Both were aggressive and not for the faint of heart, and we found that the pairing really succeeded in what was left on the palate rather than while eating it.

Bethnal Pale Ale – Moons Green Air-Dried Pork Jowl (Guanciale)

We generally take every opportunity we can to tell people that we call this ‘Face Bacon’. And always eager to make a point about how delicious fat can be, we brought it along and told the guys at the brewery that we needed something that would cut through it and get you ready for the next slice. Step forward the Bethnal Pale Ale, malty with a clean citrus hop aroma and finely balanced bitterness. Reminiscent of the first pairing due to the citrus, but this time the beer was a palate cleanser rather than a catalyst.

Old Ford Export Stout (Barrel Aged) – Native Breeds Air-Dried Silverside of Beef with Fresh Rosemary

We’ve always thought Redchurch’s export stout was excellent, and when Mark told us they found some aged in a whisky barrel that he was sure they’d finished ages ago, it was enough to stop us talking (which is a big deal). It was amazing. 9-ish percent ABV, chocolatey with a crazy caramel aroma. We paired it with the beef to see what would happen, and it made something as close to a dessert as we have any right to expect at a Meat vs Beer event. The texture of the beef was well suited to the heavier beer, and a little sweetness was brought out of the meat; it made a kind of meaty, caramelly chew. It’s hard to communicate how appetising this actually was with words, but it was the most moreish of the bunch, and a brilliant finish. We finished the last of the barrel aged stout by the end of the weekend, so you’ll have to take our word for it.

Carnage at Redchurch Brewery - Meat and Beer


Thanks to Gary, Mark, Tida, Tim, Jessica, Spencer, Adam, and the rest of the Redchurch team for inviting us and making us feel so welcome, and thanks to London Beer Week for giving us an excuse to do it!

Keep an eye out on our Twitter feed and Facebook page for details of future collaborations.

The Meat Market

B8XEGYGIcAEL65d.jpg-largeWhat have we been up to at TCB this winter? We’re getting our retail on, starting up at two Saturday markets this year. Enter the meat market:  pastrami, smoked pork belly and ham by the slice; proper ham sandwiches; crazy spicy ‘nduja and air-dried charcuterie for your larder.

So where can you find us this and every Saturday?

British Charcuterie for sale

The Meat Market: cured beauties for sale

CRYSTAL PALACE FOOD MARKET 10-3, off the CP triangle, running between the Haynes Lane Collectors Market and Antenna Studios’ Cafe Thing. The market is a Crystal Palace Transition Town project, where you’ll find everything I miss from my first inspirational visit to the Berkeley Farmers Market in 1995: raw milk, community grown veg, gluten-free goodies, fish, biodynamic meat, hot lunches and local crafts. Perfect.

WOODGRANGE MARKET 10-4, just outside Forest Gate Station, in front of the brilliant CoffeE7. Besides us, come for tchotchkes; organic and biodynamic fruit and veg; bread; and cheese from The Forest Grater. For those making a day of it, there’s Wanstead Flats for green walks and The Wanstead Tap for craft beer, nosh, live performance, and cinema – check out E7 Magazine for weekly events. Crossrail is coming too, so hurry up and visit before EVERYONE does.

Both markets are volunteer-led and not-for-profit. We love their community driven spirit, the focus on their residents and local businesses, and the clear mark they’re making on their respective communities. Come down and support a micro economy – we hope to see you there soon!

Meat Market Hot Smoked Pork Belly

Native Breeds Hot Smoked Pork Belly 

courtesy of

courtesy of

Casings: a Primer, Part I

Casings! The miraculous, elastic gut that smallholders, artisans, farms and factories have used to parcel their meat for centuries. They’re sturdy but air-permeable. When cooked they swell without bursting -usually- and when dried they shrink back in step with their filling.

For the traditional farmer/smallholder, recovering the gut at the point of slaughter gives immediate access to an important means of storing and preserving the meat, trim and offal. In typical northern climates, this was a critical part of preparing for a long, nutrient sparse winter.

For the curer and charcutier, natural casings provide us with possibilities for making an enormous range of products that enable 1) efficient use of the entire carcasse and 2) great variety for our customers.

On another late night internet trolling session, Owen found this document on small-scale sausage production, published by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Within it is an excellent primer on natural casings, their preparation and applications – if I haven’t bored you yet, you may enjoy reading it in full! For the less meat-nerdy, I thought I might pair its diagrams with some of the familiar and strange products possible with this fantastic resource. Let’s get to work.

Please note: while the following may be informative and possibly even engaging, it may also not be for the squeamish.


Hog Casings

1. stomach 2. rounds 3. caps 4. middles 5. bung 6. bladder

Pigs are renowned for how much of them we can put to good use. The guts are no exception – almost every bit of the alimentary canal can be put to functional-to-delicious gastronomic purpose. Starting at the top:

1. Stomach: large capacity and sturdy, it’s great for cooked, set or stewing sausages. Head cheese, ponce/chaudin, and even the odd haggis do well in a pig stomach. Below are a few photos from Ms. Enplace, who does a fine job of demystifying both ponce and the pig stomach here.

Ponce - Morteau meets the Mississippi delta

Ponce – Morteau meets the Mississippi delta (Ms. Enplace)

2. Rounds: these casings, made from the small intestine, have the smoothness and gentle curve of the archetypal, plump butcher’s link. They’re plentiful, too – one can recover over 20m of casing from the rounds on a single hog. The end possibilities are numerous and they make some of the most recognisable products out there: fresh sausages of all kinds, chorizos, small air-dried salami/saucisses, etc.

Shaun's Bratwurst

The archetypal curve of the hog casing

3. Caps: a difficult shape to put to good use – we see them in very few end products, except in conjunction with the middles. We find this in Calabrian ‘nduja, some liverwurst, and other traditionally made, oddly shaped sausages.

'Nduja goes into a hog cap and middle

‘Nduja traditionally goes into a cap and middle (Lardo!, Sausage Debauchery Blog, Pizza Calabrisella).

4. Middles: careful now. No matter how well cleaned the middle is, it has a primal smell which will not be ignored. Products employing hog middles evoke passionate feelings of adoration and disgust, depending on whom you ask. Among them:  1) andouille -the one from Northern France, not Louisiana- a smoked sausage made from concentric rings of middles and rounds; 2)andouillette, the Lyonnaise speciality of pork, hog rounds and spices, all stuffed into a middle; 3) chitterlings/chitlins. These three alone are known to be deal breakers for many steadfast meat eaters. Except in France.

Challenging Middles: Andouille, Andouillette, Chitlins

Challenging Middles: Andouille (Unifrais), Andouillette (Culino Tests), Chitlins (The Augusta Chronicle)

5. Bung: Like caps, the size and shape of the bung has fewer uses than other parts of the pig gut, except in conjunction with the middle. There is also talk that it makes an economical substitute for calamari. Watch this space for further research.

Pork Bung

I am told this could be squid.

6. Bladder: we’re back into more comfortable territory here. Pig bladders are used most often for casing smaller air-dried muscle meats, to protect them as they age. It’s the traditional covering for a culatello, the most prized of Italian hams, in which the ham is boned and pared down to its heart, cured, fermented, and dried – I’ve seen them aged for 12 months to 3 1/2 years.

I also continue to be dazzled by the fact that an inflated pig bladder was the original carnival balloon.


Culatello (Paolo Marchi, Salumi Cured Meats, Sapori del Portico).

Tune in next week for Part II: Bovines and Ovines.

Pig Bladder Balloon

Pig Bladder Balloon (Wonderopolis)


The Brewdog

Oktober is almost gone, but we wanted to close this month of sausage with a shout to one of our favourite new dogs on the block: the Scottie Dawg, brought to you by Brewdog.

It’s a big, beautiful, smoky beef hot dog that we make at Native Breeds from well-marbled Hereford brisket. Grilled to golden goodness, and topped with pickled swede, grilled onions, bacon, and tater tots (tasty little one-bite hash browns; and THANK YOU, Bates and Bubbledogs, for championing the tater tot in Britain), it’s the full Scottish hot dog. America by way of Aberdeen!

You’ll find the Scottie Dawg on the menu at Brewdog Camden, Shoreditch, Shepherds Bush, Cardiff, and Manchester. Stay tuned for Liverpool.

And what’s up with the word “dawg”, you ask? Owen explains, “it doesn’t matter whether you have Matt’s New York accent or Bates’ South Carolina drawl, a dog is a dawwwg both ways”.

The Scottie Dawg at Brewdog

A full Scottish hot dog.

BONUS! As we pull together our hot dog tech blog, here’s a tiny little teaser on how we make them out West. See you in November!

Brewdogs: How beef becomes Dawgs at Native Breeds

Beef : Mince : Chop : Rack : Cook : Dawgs!


Bratwurst at The White Hart

Something that sets us apart at TCB is our experience in so many aspects of the growing British charcuterie industry: Front of House and Back of House restaurant operations, wholesale and retail food sales, food technology, and product development. Not to mention Matt’s background in butchery, curing and charcuterie production.

And we love sharing.

In case you missed it, The White Hart in Stoke Newington had its Oktoberfest edition of Dirty Dining last week. With chef Shaun on the case to make a cracking bratwurst in house, we were itching to lend a hand. So we schlepped our old home kitchen grinder and mini stuffer north of the river and got to work.

Bratwurst: Matt's tried and true grinder

Matt’s tried and true grinder

Bratwurst: beginnings

Bratfirst: pork shoulder, cooked rind, herbs, salt and spices.

Bratwurst: Out...


Bratwurst: ...and in...

…and in…

Bratwurst: ...and link...

…and link…

Bratwurst: done.

…and done.

And we’re hungry for more! Have something in mind that we can make with you? Have something bigger in mind that we can make for you? Get in touch – we’d love to help!

Oktober = Beer + Sausage

While October has become a month for beer all over the world, we at TCB naturally consider it a time for sausage as well. And so begins our celebration of the wurst month ever.


Stay tuned for sausage posts from the field, as we make hundreds of them at The White Hart in Stoke Newington, make jillions of them at Native Breeds, grill them up at Beer Rebellion Peckham, and search out some new favourites across London and the UK.

We leave you with some further appreciation of sausage as a medium:

Poodle, based on Jeff Koons. Karsten Wegener, 2013

Poodle, based on Jeff Koons. Karsten Wegener, 2013

Conchita Wurst Wurst


Back To School Pork

It’s Matt here, and it’s autumn!

September feels like Back To School time no matter how old I get. I think I’ll be hard wired for it until the end. Everybody’s back in town and getting to the grind. The air of change prevails: the streets are busier, the restaurants louder, and it never hurts that the volume of our orders usually swings up.

Historically, September was also when smallholders started fattening and finishing their pigs, and getting ready to transform them into the brined, salted, cooked, fermented, dried charcuterie that would help keep them and their families in food for the winter. It’s not quite Back To School, but it’s a busy and expectant time which fits perfectly into my sense of the season.

Four years ago, I got to have both Septembers at once. I began my butchery and charcuterie training at The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck estate, where I would be for the next nine months. It was a Back To School September like I hadn’t had in 15 years, and it was awesome. Dreaming of a future in handmade cured meats, and brimming with the excitement and potential that the whole class of butchers, bakers, and cheese makers was feeling, I got busy learning and making everything I could.

Behold my first rolled pancetta, c. autumn 2010:

Matt's First Rolled Pancetta


The class watched the formidable Ray Smith whip one out in moments, and then each of us had a go ourselves. It was straightforward and difficult all at once – perfect! And so satisfying to be learning about butcher’s knots, bacon and 3D geometry all at once. The Steiner student in me had all the cross-dicsipline he could get. And I’d like to say that pork belly kept me in food all winter, but we ate it pretty quickly while I got practicing on more.

I’ve had plenty more practice since then. We’ve been rolling mountains of them in chilli this year at Native Breeds for Coppa’s second summer-long rooftop picnic (they’re only open for one more weekend this year, so hurry up and go get some).

By the way, any month can be your Back To School Pork month these days too. Among the offerings:

The School of Artisan Food currently runs short courses in charcuterie and all things handmade food, in addition to its year long diploma course in baking.

•Our Graham Waddington of Native Breeds teaches courses in charcuterie production at Humble by Nature.

In the September spirit, I wish you good learning this autumn!

The Ham Sandwich

Ham sandwich

Matt’s childhood ham sandwich on banana bread



It sounds so simple. Bread. Butter. Mustard. Ham. Even then, two of those components are arguably nothing more than distractions. But how wrong we can get it these days! After years of neglect, ham sandwiches are now a terror among pack lunch options, often thought best forgotten. But the ham sandwich belongs to Britain, and it deserves to be reclaimed as one of the best iterations of traditional British charcuterie.