I LOVE to entertain people in my home, and I can’t wait until our new house is done so I can host allllll the things! When I host dinners at my house, the last thing I want to do is slave over the stove the entire time and miss the social time with all of our friends and family, so one of my SECRETS to a successful dinner party is prepping a KILLER charcuterie board (aka meat and cheese platter) before the guests arrive! Few things are as easy and fun to throw together and it’s a perfect appetizer while you wait on something to come off the Traeger.
The perfect charcuterie board should always have the following items:
- ALL THE MEAT. This is where wild-game can really kick things up a notch! I love adding elk pepperoni or deer summer sausage. I used Axis deer summer sausage on the platter pictured and it was a big hit! Other fun options when you don’t have wild-game on hand are prosciutto, salami, or even regular pepperoni. Try to have at least two options here!
- CHEESE! Oh my goodness, I LOVE cheese–but who doesn’t?! Chances are, your guests love it too. Offer up a good variety to go with your meat options, and some awesome options that vary in boldness are goat cheese, Brie, Havarti, and Fontina. I always try to have at least one hard cheese that’s sliced, along with one soft cheese that spreads on crackers/bread.
- CARBS. A good carb addition helps take the charcuterie board to the next level, so consider adding some great dippable crackers, pita crisps, bread sticks or, even better, some thin slices of a fresh loaf. GIVE. ME. ALL. THE. BREADS.
- VEGGIES. Honestly, this is optional and depends on the crowd. If you know there are some super healthy eaters coming over, throw some sliced carrots or yellow peppers on the board so there’s something for everyone. If your dinner guests are straight carnivores, feel free to bypass this healthy addition… no one will judge you.
- ACCOMPANIMENTS. Adding a little bit of pizzazz to your board is not only fun, but offers your guests a good variety of food and makes it stand out from a regular old meat & cheese board that you can buy at the deli. Great options for these include nuts, fresh berries, figs, a few jams, grapes, olives, honey…the list literally goes on and on. My favorite thing to add is green grapes for a pop of color and I sprinkle nuts on any spots on the platter that seem bare! I also love using little dishes to complement the spread, like these adorable white dishes from Le Creuset!
Assembling the board is my favorite part (other than eating it)! In my opinion, the fuller the board the better! I like to organize all the food in groups and then fill in open spots with clusters of grapes or a bowl of my favorite candied pecans! Having a dinner party when you’re a toddler mom is the BEST EVER because it doesn’t happen all that often these days so you need to make it count!!!
Over the years I have a collected some super cool wooden boards/platters, side dishes and cheese knives that I use specifically for appetizers just like this and they have been worth their weight in gold. Click the thumbnails below to shop some of my favorites (and lots of them are on sale right now)!!
What is your go-to dish or finger food setup when hosting?! Share with us in the comments, and I’ll see you back here soon for more blog posting fun!