Photo courtesy Avila/EPDX
Before they launched Portland's a top-notch steakhouse, Dave Kreifels, Jason Owens, and Ben Dyer sold pâtés and smoked sausages as the team behind Viande Meats and Sausage, a neighborhood butcher's counter inside NW's City Market. (As mentioned earlier this week, the shop transitioned into safe hands.) And Laurelhurst Market, which opened its doors in 2009, upped the game: The charcuterie case now offers more than two-dozen preparations, from a cherry and hazelnut-dotted venison pate to spicy paprika beef salami to guanciale, the cured pork jowl. According to head butcher Spencer Adams, Laurelhurst's iconic boar pâté and country-style pâté de Campagne are among the butcher counter's best-sellers, but even if that wasn't the case, he admits that pâtés are his favorite benchmark for comparing LM's wares to others. "I go for the simpler stuff on the plate," he says. "They're like a standard; it's good to see the different flavors that people do."
On his chef's choice charcuterie board (which often has items rotate on and off), Adams reaches for a less traditional pâté (beef heart), arranging it along with a variety of smoked and cured items. And feel free to jump around while eating: Says Spencer, "there's nothing on it that's overpowering that you'd want to wait 'til the end."
1. Shoulder bacon: LM's "shoulder bacon" is cured in molasses for 10 days before smoking.
2. Beef heart pâté: To make the beef heart pâté, Adams and his team combine beef heart and liver with pork fat, grinding it before mixing with eggs and cream to set. According to Adams, an earlier recipe called for beef fat — to keep the pâté purely bovine — but pork fat was later subbed in for "better flavor and texture."
3. Smoked duck breast: The duck breast is brined in salt and brown sugar and further seasoned with cloves, cinnamon sticks, and all spice. It gets a three-day brine, before it's dried for 24 hours then smoked.
4. Head cheese: An example of a classic "picked meat" terrine (which cooks the meat within on the bone, pulling it off and binding the terrine together with an aspic or gelatin), Laurelhurst Market's head cheese is true to its name, featuring the meat of a pork head. It's held together with an aspic made from head stock, flavored further with carrots, celery, mustard seed, and tarragon.
5. Spicy paprika beef salami: In addition to paprika, LM's beef salami features cayenne pepper and a strong "smoked" profile, Adams says. And in tandem with other bolognas and cottos in the case, its diameter is strategically designed to create "a visual variety" on the plate. "We've done some different ones smaller, but it does seem to work well: It lends itself to that size."
6. Mortadella: To create the classic Italian cold cut, LM grinds pork meat with ice four to five times to achieve the proper emulsification, before it's garnished with pistachios and pork fat.