Often used on America’s East Coast, fatback is a layer of tissue cut from the skin on the back of a domestic pig. This type of fat is considered “hard” and can be used with or without the skin. It is often rendered into high quality lard, which is used for a variety of cooking and flavoring purposes. It is used to make salt pork and sausage and is a very important element in traditional charcuterie. In Europe, fatback is used to make specialty bacon and because it contains no skeletal muscles is considered a delicacy.
The East Coast, which is made up of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, is arguably the birth place of another popular charcuterie offering—jerky. There is a debate as to whether Native Americans of the Inca tribe were the first to preserve their meat by making it into jerky. Heavily salted and dried, jerky can be tough, but it’s ultimately a delicious, chewy snack enjoyed by millions of Americans.
From small towns to famous New York City restaurants, the East Coast has the monopoly on charcuterie. The Aurelien Defour group is made up of a team that breaks down up to 5,000 pounds of pork every week and turns it into sausages and charcuterie for the Boulud’s New York City restaurants. The group has 45 different kinds of charcuterie in Manhattan alone made from Berkshire pork, all of which comes from Upstate New York. Dishes such as pate grand-mere (chicken liver and pork jowl), saucission sec (dry cured pork) and lapin a la moutarde (rabbit with mustard) are just a few examples of charcuterie offerings gracing the plates of New York’s trendiest restaurants.
From the cured pork of New York to the sea-food charcuterie offerings of Florida and everything in between, the East Coast is home to a variety of delicious, traditional charcuterie, artisanal cheeses and delicious complementary sides.