Covetable Charcuterie

Scott Buer brings old-world dry-curing to the Midwest

Wisconsin has long been known for its bustling jerky and brat trade. Now high-end charcuterie has entered the mix, thanks to Bolzano Artisan Meats.

And because of state licensing laws, no Chicago restaurants or stores can get their hands on the stuff–only home gourmands.

From his humble Milwaukee headquarters, Bolzano mastermind Scott Buer takes Europe's greatest cured pork styles and applies them to local pigs. But not just any pigs: Buer uses richly flavored Hereford hogs–an heirloom breed that he hopes to help popularize–from a nearby Lake Geneva farmer.

Bolzano's small-batch salting technique produces ruddy slabs of silky pancetta and guanciale (cured pork jowl), punctuated with snowy swirls of fat.

His newest addition–Paletilla Húngara, a Spanish-style cured ham flavored with smoked paprika–debuts this week. His Northern Italian-style speck prosciutto (cured Italian-style, but bone-in, like prosciutto) takes 10 months to cure; preorder now for delivery early next year.

Buer's blog is a Bolzano cookbook in the making, with recipes using each of his meats: pasta carbonara with guanciale, speck prosciutto risotto, pancetta-wrapped chestnuts and more.

Eat it and weep, chefs.