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Jul 6, 2007 10:00 AM

Charcuterie in Austin?

I just got back from Atlanta where I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Star Provisions. They had an amazing charcuterie with a host of house cured things. In addition, they carried meats including Kobe Beef and Kurobuta pork.

Does anyone know of a good supplier of charcuterie and/or "finer" meats in Austin?

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    1. re: El General

      There is a small meat market sorta behind Andersons Coffee and Tea that used to be called Coopers as well. I think they broke off with Cooper. They sell prime and Kobe style is available on order. It is small, but we like their meat. (I think the place it is right behind is a restuarant now called Vino or such.)

      1. re: singlemalt

        cooper's is now lee's meat market.

        on jefferson just north of 38th.

        1. re: sbhlaw

          as the website sbhlaw references says, they just changed the name to avoid confusion with cooper's BBQ in Llano.

    2. You actually asked two questions - one, about meat, has been previously answered. The second answer is "there's nothing that remotely resembles a charcuterie in Austin." I got excited, when I first walked into Mandola's, seeing "Guanciale" on the "charcuterie" sign. Turns out that it was just there for "flavor;" their attempt to throw homage to the old world without actually having to carry that or many other products that were listed on that same sign. Imagine me being completely overwhelmed with joy upon seeing that sign and then my heartbreak upon learning that it was a cruel facade. If anyone knows of anything, I'm all ears. The only other option is to open my own.

      Phonecia was a good place to get Piller salami, prosciutto, and soprasetta, as well as some inexpensive and tasty goat cheese, but (at least at the north location) they've been out of a lot of stuff lately.

      3 Replies
      1. re: rudeboy

        Enoteca has a nice charcuterie menu as a part of their antipasta offerings. Housemade pates and cured meats from columbus, molinari, and niman ranch. I've had several of the pates and the cured meats and liked them a lot, especially the pates. The rillettes (rabbit served with dijon mustard and a coarsely ground duck pate are my favorites.

        1. re: rudeboy

          Rudeboy, I actually did find Piller at CM Westgate this week. I'm thinking that I'm going to get the Rhulman Charcuterie book and start doing some of my own stuff.

          1. re: foodiegal71

            CM North has the best charcuterie selection in town. Piller's is one of my least favorite brands that they carry (excluding Boars Head, which I don't even bother to try). Try Columbus and Molinari.

            I agree that Enoteca Vespaio has a superb house-made selection of charcuterie. Their bresaola (cured beef tenderloin) is the best I have ever had.

        2. Here's an older thread on the topic from the Austin board:

          There's information on mail-order sources on General Chowhounding Topics. Here's one example:

          1. Spec's on Brodie has a small selection that includes some Italian brands.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Twill

              Thanks, Twill. I haven't checked out Spec’s yet (at least not the one in Austin), but I'll put it on my list for this weekend and report back soon. I seem to recall El General and TAF recently saying good things about their sandwiches ( ), and Brian Lindauer reported on your Chocolate thread that they had a decent selection of quality dark-chocolate bars ( ). These necessities plus the charcuterie should keep me busy.

              1. re: MPH

                I believe the Italian brand prosciutto they carry is San Daniele, and I think it runs about $17/pound. I'm headed out again tonight, and hope to try one of the Reubens, a couple more Cluizel bars, some wine and more Van Gogh espresso vodka for my Coffee Boys (in most cases, their liquor prices come in about 15-25% below retail, so I shop there exclusively now).

                Stay away from the Joseph Schmidt truffles–they look good, but you'll crack a tooth on the couverture. And I didn't find out until after I'd been lured in that JS had been bought out by Hershey. Oh, well...there's one born every minute.

                1. re: Twill

                  San Daniele prosciutto is very widely distributed and can be found at Central Market and Whole Foods as well, though the price I've always seen is $20/lb.

                  Just to give you an idea of the differences between CM North's selection, Whole Foods has about 30% as much (of the good brands), Spec's 40%, CM South 80%.

                  1. re: Mersenne twister

                    I did purchase some of the San Daniele last night, and the price was $18.10/lb, rather than the $17/lb I stated, so I guess if you'd like to save a little dough (and be able to choose from a broader selection of chocolates and shop for discount liquor), Spec's might be a favorable alternative. They also carry Prosciutto di Parma, which I assume is also a widely distributed variety, at a little over $16/lb.

                    1. re: Twill

                      San Daniele and Prosciutto di Parma are both distributed very widely. By definition, comprehensive grocery stores have more choices than stores with well-edited collections [or stores like Whole Foods that are concerned with animal-treatment issues, among other things]. Arguably, it’s easier to choose badly at Central Market, while it’s harder to do so at a place with just a few good options. However, if you know what you want, and there’s no variation in quality, then location and price are probably the deciding factors.

                      In town you find almost no one making their own salami or curing their own prosciutto. There’s no tradition of it, and not enough demand for it. In addition, almost no one stores or slices these meats right:

                      From the Austin post I linked to above:

                      “In addition to the quality and chop of the meat and the packing material, many things affect the final product: such as the mode, length, and temperature of fermentation or curing, as you mentioned. But also the subsequent storing of the cured meat; the date when the chub is cut into; and proper slicing and packaging. These last three items are where things can really go wrong in this state. A grocery store can have a wide selection of cured meats [edited to add: like Central Market] but lack the skill-set of employees at Italian-specialty-food stores in other parts of the country. That also affects a brand’s ‘taste.’”

                      There’s a great sausage-making tradition in the complex world of Texan smoked meats called barbecue, but that’s another story. Thanks for the price update on the prosciutto at Spec's, Twill. With the money I save, maybe I can afford to buy a whole ham or salami chub myself. =)

                      1. re: MPH

                        I would love to have something like Salumi in Seattle or Fra'mani here. Maybe Vespaio Enoteca should resell their house-made items or push their sales more. I think a fancy sandwich joint with charcuterie house-made or supplied by Vespaio could be successful.

            2. mmm - I'm hungry for my favorite charcuterie I've not had in a long while - microthin sliced brasaola (beef) laid out on a nice platter drizzled simply with fresh squeezed lemon, olive oil, shaved parmesan, and some crunchy soft bread.

              2 Replies
              1. re: professor_ted

                that sounds fantastic. I'm going to have to get on over to Enoteca and try their house cured. I had one in Atlanta from Star Provisions a couple of weeks ago that made me cry with glee.

                1. re: foodiegal71

                  A friend of mine here from Sardinia served me that dish a few years back and it's just one of those tearfully simple and brilliant combinations. I too must run to try Enoteca's version! Even just lemon and olive oil makes it perfect since the meat's so salty to begin with.