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Smokey Ridge Charcuterie in Placerville: Tasso Ham and Rillettes

Melanie Wong Oct 29, 2011 09:41 PM

Earlier this month I had a chance to visit the Apple Hill area in Placerville for the first time. I’d judged a barbecue contest at the fairgrounds and had just a little time in the afternoon to spare before heading home. I’d noticed the listing for Smokey Ridge Charcuterie on the visitors map and knew I had to squeeze it in.

Co-located with Smokey Ridge Ranch, the Charcuterie serves picnic lunches and sells a range of cured meats to take home. Full to the gills from the earlier barbecue, I had no room for lunch but did ask a lot of questions of the young woman tending the outdoor stand. Turns out I was speaking to Kara, the proprietress of Smokey Ridge Charcuterie. I jokingly said to her, “I hope you don’t take offense at this, but every other pitmaster I’ve met is a curmudgeonly, hairy ol’ guy, none as lovely and young as you are!” She said she’s been hearing this a lot.

Kara, pitmistress, and her menu board.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniew...

I was drawn to the tasso, since it can be hard to find in California. Kara said that’s one of the reasons she decided to make tasso. The six-ounce boneless hunks of smoked pork shoulder are frozen and vacuum-packed, selling for $6. I asked for a sample taste and really liked the allspice-dominant, highly seasoned condiment meat.

Besides tasso, I also bought the Spanish-style rillettes, $5.50, and shared them with some friends in San Francisco. We all liked them. For me, I would have preferred a saltier profile and more fat but I would still buy them again.

Besides selling at the apple farmstand during the season, Smokey Ridge Ranch products are available by subscription and at selected farmers markets.

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Smokey Ridge Charcuterie
2160 Carson Rd, Placerville, CA 95667

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