The 6 Best Charcuterie Cookbooks of 2020

Make your own salami, pâté, pancetta, and more

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing at Amazon

"If you want to learn the art of making charcuterie from the best-reviewed book by professionals and home cooks alike, this is the one."

Best for Beginners: Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages at Amazon

"Consider this the textbook for sausage making 101."

Best for Experienced Charcutiers: Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery at Amazon

"For the adventurous home cook and book lover, you can’t get better than this 1967 ode to pork products by Jane Grigson."

Best for Traditional Spanish Curing: Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain at Amazon

"Spain’s tradition of cured meats, from smoky chorizo to delicate jamon iberico de bellota, is brought to life by chef and author Jeffrey Weiss."

Best Writing: Pure Charcuterie: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home at Amazon

"Looking for a side of poetry with your charcuterie manual? Pick up 'Pure Charcuterie.'"

Best for Charcuterie Spreads: Pâté, Confit, Rillette: Recipes from the Craft of Charcuterie at Amazon

"If you don’t want to brave the process of fermenting salami, but do want to whip up an impressive pâté, here’s the book for you."

  • 01 of 06

    Best Overall: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing

    The bible of charcuterie
    Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing

    If you want to learn the art of making charcuterie from the best-reviewed book by professionals and home cooks alike, this is the one. Written by best-selling food writer Michael Ruhlman and chef/charcuterie expert Brian Polcyn, it’s an enjoyable read and includes 125 recipes of various levels of difficulty.

    Here, you’ll learn how to make duck prosciutto, mortadella, bacon (!), confit, cured salami, hot dogs, and more. One reviewer raves that it’s “Easily my favorite culinary book purchase ever!” The late celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain called it “an important and definitive work.” Consider it the charcuterie bible.

  • 02 of 06

    Best for Beginners: Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages

    Some cookbooks we love because they give us our new favorite recipe. Others we love because they give us the techniques to forge ahead on our own. Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages will do both.

    It’s a bit drier than some of the others and clocks in at over 700 pages, but this book will give you the technical know-how to make salami without needing to look up a recipe first. Stanley Marianski and Adam Marianski, the brothers who coauthored this book say of their hope for the reader: "We want him to understand the sausage-making process and we want him to create his own recipes. We want him to be the sausage maker." Consider this the textbook for sausage making 101.

  • 03 of 06

    Best for Experienced Charcutiers: Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery

    Famed British food writer Jane Grigson’s first book was this lyrical, practical ode to practicality by way of pork products from 1967. She doesn’t cover cured salami, but if you want traditional, under-the-radar recipes for sausage (including one made of tripe), terrine, pâté, boudin noir, or petit salé (a sort of unsmoked bacon), this book is the perfect place to start.

    Grigson assumes the reader is someone with a solid footing around the kitchen, so if you’ve never picked up a chef’s knife, this is not the place to start. But, for readers who want to understand the ins and outs of using up a whole animal and would like to try (or are interested in reading about) recipes for the “lesser cuts” like pork feet, you can’t get better than this.

  • 04 of 06

    Best for Traditional Spanish Curing: Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain

    Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain
    Charcuteria: The Soul of Spain

    Often, when we’re talking about charcuterie, the first foods that come to mind are prosciutto or saucisson sec. But Spain’s tradition of cured meats, from smoky chorizo to delicate jamon iberico de bellota, is vast, historic, and too often left out of the spotlight.

    Charcutería: The Soul of Spain by chef Jeffrey Weiss brings those traditions, stories, and techniques to life with illustrations, beautiful photographs, and more than 100 traditional Spanish recipes. You’ll learn how to make salami, fresh sausages, Spanish-style ham, pickles, salt cod, and more. Michael Ruhlman calls it “a lovely, loving, fascinating, and, most all, useful book all lovers of the craft should be grateful for." 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Best Writing: Pure Charcuterie: The Craft and Poetry of Curing Meats at Home

    Over the past fifteen years, author Meredith Leigh has worked as a farmer, butcher, chef, teacher, and non-profit executive director. It’s no wonder, then, that her guide to making charcuterie is chock-full of meditations on frugality, respect for animals, the parts of the animal we think of as “lesser,” and the joy of creating by way of food.

    Leigh shares tips on sourcing meat, necessary gear, techniques, and recipes. Other subjects include how to cure meat with koji (the fungus used to ferment miso), tips for working with wild game, and how to create a more equitable food system that generates less waste and more flavor. A mix of memoir, how-to, and a collection of recipes.

  • 06 of 06

    Best for Charcuterie Spreads: Pâté, Confit, Rillette: Recipes from the Craft of Charcuterie

    Maybe you don’t want to brave the nail-biting process of fermenting salami in your basement, but you do want to whip up an impressive pâté. Here’s the book for you. Polcyn and Ruhlman team up again in Pâté, Confit, Rillette to share techniques, tips, and traditional recipes to make your own impressive charcuterie spread without worrying about the curing process. Learn how to make duck pâté en terrine, Asian-spiced pâté, foie gras en torchon, pig “butter,” crispy stuffed duck necks, rabbit rilletes, butternut squash confit, and more.

Final Verdict

“Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing” is the best starter guide to making charcuterie at home, but lovers of literature shouldn’t miss “Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery,” and if you really want to become a charcuterie master, “Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages” is indispensable.