How to Design the Ultimate Winter Charcuterie Board

We’ve all been there. You’re at a Christmas party. You’re hungry. And the main course is nowhere near ready. Suddenly you aren’t just hungry… you’re hangry–hungry AND angry! And the chips and dip the host set out just aren’t going to get you through social hour.

As the host of your own holiday party, you’d be mortified to leave your guests hangry. The goal is to have a seamless night with happy guests and an easy, breezy, low-maintenance-yet-delicious meal. That means the appetizers need to meet all those standards, and believe us, that’s no easy feat.

But, luckily, there are some SUPER simple ways to step up social hour at a Christmas gathering, so read on to learn how to create the ultimate charcuterie board–one that will NEVER leave a guest hangry.

Cover Your Bases

You’ve seen it. It’s the standard meat and cheese tray from the grocer and it leaves much to be desired. Sure, it’s perfect for the office party. After all, why shouldn’t the food match right along with the awkward atmosphere?

What you probably don’t know is that setting up something more well-rounded is just as easy, and will make you look like a genius when your guests wander toward the food table before the meal is ready. Because there they’ll meet meats and cheeses they’re excited to eat and pairings they’ll remember until next Christmas.

So don’t stop with ham and cheddar. Visit your local deli counter to see what kind of unexpected finds are there, and don’t forget the baguette, condiments, and jam that will really take things to the next level. Have fun with it!

Know Your Audience

If you’re serving to a down-home family that loves country-comfort food, maybe leave the stinky cheeses alone, and if there are kids involved don’t forget to include some basics they’ll enjoy. Because it doesn’t matter how much time and effort you put in, it’s useless if no one will eat it!

This doesn’t mean you need to limit the selection to cheddar and ham, but it does mean you’ll need to consider your guests’ pallets and keep things a little more traditional. You can ask your local deli counter for some suggestions to spice things up without getting too crazy.

But if you’re catering to your ritzy boss or a crowd that’s ready to get fancy for the holiday, your charcuterie is your chance to shine! Use some ingredients you’ve never heard of and go wild!

Remember… We’re here to help!

Whatever you decide to do for your appetizers, just remember that we’re here to help. At The Meating Place you have a team of extremely knowledgeable staff who can guide you into excellent pairings and help you make unexpected selections for your guests. We even make charcuterie boards for you to boot, because let’s face it, ain’t nobody got time for that!

How to Choose Your Steak

When you come to The Meating Place, you come face to face with so much meat. So much! And if you aren’t already a pro when it comes to it, shopping for your dinner can be intimidating. There seem to be infinite cuts and sizes, and the fact that you can choose any steak you want can be a bit much unless you know what to look for. But please don’t be intimidated, because we’re here to help you select YOUR ideal cuts! Here’s your guide to selecting the perfect steak for your occasion.

Know Your Grades

Most steak sold at your butcher or the grocery store is inspected and graded for quality. Standard beef is the cheapest you’ll want to buy, Select beef is slightly better and more expensive, but Choice and Prime steaks blow the other two out of the water. But at The Meating Place, we sell Certified Angus Beef (CAB) steaks that are inspected by the USDA to be considered Choice or Prime and then pass CAB’s additional set of 10 science-backed quality standards.

Look for Marbled Texture

Many soon-to-be steak connoisseurs make the mistake of thinking that the leaner the steak the better it will be – because who wants a mouth full of fat, right? WRONG! A steak with a marbled texture (visible fat marbling running throughout) will be your best friend. It’ll be juicier, more tender, and just better. Sure, you might not eat the fat that runs along the edge of your cut, but the fat marbling your steak will melt away when it’s cooked and cause the meat to simply melt in your mouth.

Choose the Right Size

If you’ve ever accidentally cooked a steak too much, you probably bought it too thin. Especially if you’re new to preparing steaks, you’ll want to choose one that’s at least one inch thick. The thinner the steak, the easier it is too cook too thoroughly before you’ve even realized it.

Color Matters

The freshest cuts are a pale red color, but letting your steak age a few extra hours and deepen in color will often make for a more tender steak. And while any color that’s not bright red can SEEM scary, the color that should actually make you stop in your tracks is gray – it means your meat is spoiling. But if you see that lovely marbling, a deeper red, or some browning of the meat, don’t worry. Those are all natural processes of quality beef. In fact, a bit of brown on the meat just means it’s touched oxygen, and marbling (as we said) means a juicier result.

Now that you know the basics of picking your cut of beef, come visit us. We can give you even more information to answer your specific questions, and even advise on how to prepare your selections to get the most of your meal.

Walnut Creek

Good food, good stewardship, and excellent service. If these are our core values as The Meating Place, it’s no wonder we’ve partnered with a distributor who has shared them to a tee for over 40 years.

Walnut Creek, our source for Amish deli meats and cheeses and more, began as a cheese delivery service with a call to integrate Amish Mennonite values into everything they did. Mark Coblentz, president of Walnut Creek Foods, took over a cheese delivery route in 1977 with little more to his name than his aspiration.

His business, which consisted of a single delivery truck, eventually grew to include a huge brick and mortar location and wholesale to stores nationwide. What began as a very humble delivery route, through a strong work ethic, good stewardship, and uncompromising moral standards, became one of our favorite and most trusted partners.

We’re sure Mark Coblentz in 1977 would never have imagined his products blessing the tables and stomachs of the good people of Lincolnton, North Carolina. But we’re telling you: the Gouda and the maple cinnamon rolls are to die for, and we couldn’t imagine business without Walnut Creek.


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Local Certified Angus Beef from Yon Family Farms

Our customers have blown us away with their support and kind words. We’ve seen you enjoy your steaks on social media and we’ve been paying attention to your five-star reviews on our filets and NY Strips. We’ve done the work to scour the area for the best cuts and selections and you’ve enjoyed our findings, and now we’re going to let you in on our secret.

So here it is: Certified Angus Beef from a local farmer. Complying with the highest standards set forth by Certified Angus Beef brand, Yon Family Farms in South Carolina produces top-tier beef that’s grass fed and grain finished. Since happy cows taste the best, the Yon family takes better care of their cows than they do themselves, and it shows.

The Yon family began farming in 1996, and while there may be easier ways to make a living, they say there’s none better. By working the farm, the family has learned to follow through on commitments and work together. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean the cattle don’t need feeding, and their farm needs tending to on holidays just as any other day of the year.

Making sure their cattle live up to the rigid standards of the Certified Angus Beef brand isn’t easy, takes work, and requires dedication, things the three Yon children have come home to continue full time after graduating college. It’s important to them to raise the farm together and eat together at the end of the day. And you can practically taste the family values in the meat they produce.

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