Underground Meats Charcuterie

By Christina Mueller

The charcuterie from Underground Meats in Madison, Wisconsin is, quite simply, peerless. Made only from heritage breeds of pig—including Mangalitsa, Tamworth, Red Wattle, and Berkshire—that are raised only on independent Wisconsin farms, the range of smoked and cured sausage made by this collective reflects the group’s commitment to supporting their community and their environment. Every step, from butchering to individually hand-tying the salami, is handled by Underground Meats Charcuterie’s small team of whole-animal butchers. The result is distinctive charcuterie with an unparalleled smoothness and deep, rich flavor. Infused with allspice and orange zest to bring out the brandied cherries, Wisco Old Fashioned is a tip of the hat to old Wisconsin variation on the classic cocktail. Their nice and smoky Spanish chorizo is soft and sweet with hint of heat on the finish, and the impossibly suave ‘nduja is decadently rich with a full mouth feel and heady pepper heat.

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The lowdown on ‘nduja

A soft, spreadable salami indigenous to the Calabria region of Italy, 'nduja is extremely versatile. Smooth with a prickly heat from ghost and ancho chile, it makes a fine substitute for Spanish chorizo, and is a natural partner with tomato. Add it to any tomato-based sauce, or make your own with fire-roasted tomatoes, raw garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs, and a bit of 'nduja. It also makes a fine addition to any kind of brothy seafood dish; perk up mussels by addding a dab of ‘nduja to a white wine and garlic broth. And for breakfast, fold it into soft scrambled eggs.

To enjoy any charcuterie over time, and to prevent dryness, store sausage in the refrigerator wrapped in butcher paper or a plastic bag. A powdery dusting of white mold is benign and safe to eat.