As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North & South Dakota, and Wisconsin are considered the American Midwest. The standard cuisine is made up of simple, hearty dishes often made with locally grown foods from regional farms.
These characteristics have easily transitioned into the creation of Midwestern charcuterie dishes. The Midwest is sometimes called the Corn Belt, as corn has been the predominant crop since the 1800s. Naturally, corn can play a significant role in a Midwestern charcuterie dish. Common sides include corn relish, corn salad, succotash, and other vegetables breaded in cornmeal. Some non-corn sides you’ll find in Midwestern charcuterie include beans, bread-and-butter pickles, cabbage and rice, and main dish meats ranging from typical pork fare to corned beef short ribs, bratwurst, sausage, and even duck.
715 Restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas has a great example of the unique charcuterie platters offered across the Midwest. Their signature platter includes duck terrine with pecans, Fegatini, quenelles in pork liver, made-in-house Mortadella, Soppressata Toscana (a type of salami), and Italian headcheese.
If you’re enjoying charcuterie in the Midwest, you’ll probably be washing it down with a local craft beer. With more than 530 craft breweries across the Midwest, imperial stouts, barrel-aged brews and American ales are staples of Midwest regional cuisine that pair perfectly with rich meats and characteristic vegetables. So whether you’re at a sit-down restaurant or a beer festival, or you’re just passing through, enjoy a meal of Midwest charcuterie and a signature ale for the full local experience.