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.



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


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