The art of curing and preserving meat is an ancient one, and one of the highest accomplishments in food. Great ham, bacon, sausage, terrines, and other prepared meats require stratospheric skill levels that few craftsmen rise to. These are among America's very best.
If you want to see the lost art of German-American charcuterie at its best, head to this humble pork store; the head cheese alone is worth the plane fare to Columbus.
Mario Batali's dad Armando curates this incredible salumeria, which is more than a match, meat-wise for anything created by his famous son. By all means, eat a sandwich while you're there, but make sure to take a lot home to eat slice by slice.
All the classic bistro dishes are done here to perfection, as you might expect, but the real draw are the genius charcuterie creations of Sylvan Gasdon.
Chris Cosentino and Mark Pastore's commitment to the meaty arts went to the proverbial next level with the opening of this magnificent cured-meat emporium, one of the best in the country.
It doesn't do The Publican justice to call it the country's most accomplished gastropub. It's one of the country's best restaurants, which just happens to be a brilliant, eclectic meatery with an amazing beer program.
American has never produced, and never will produce, more reliably great cured meats than does this boutique Iowa pork virtuoso, which is justly famous the world over.
One of the country's foremost charcuterie producers, Olympic has the added benefit of an awesome lunch counter where you can stop in for a glass of beer, some sausage, and a "meattata."
Salume Beddu is justly famous for its salumi, which is hand-crafted with genius and love; but what you may not know is that their sandwiches are masterpieces, too, more than worthy vehicles for those magnificent meats.
It's rare that a sequel surpasses the original, but Alimentari is the Road Warrior of restaurants, an expanded and improved tribute to rustic italian food that is bigger, better, and more ambitious than its original. The salumi by itself is worth coming for, but stay for the porchetta and short ribs.
The brilliant young chef Justin Severino oversees this brilliant meatery, whose fabulous charcuterie is just one small part of Cure's snout-to-tail virtuosity. Cure is the place for the thinking carnivore.
If there is a more talented and accomplished charcuterier in American, I'm sure I don't know who it is. The Spotted Trotter's jewel-like meat confections are dazzling in their design and can fill the meat-hole in your soul like practically nothing else can.
Craft butchery in America doesn't get much better than this lovingly tended Austin meat store, whose principals are rediscovering meat arts that were dead before they were born. Don't miss out on the house-made hams and salamis, either; they are the place's proudest boast.