A New Cure

Franks 'N' Dawgs adds charcuterie to its meaty lineup

We've never doubted the ambition of the sausages at Franks 'N' Dawgs, Lincoln Park's hyper-creative sandwich shop.

Then chef Joe Doren, the encased-meat mastermind behind combinations like Chinese five-spice duck sausage with pickled lotus root and scallion-radish slaw, recently began looking beyond the bun to another equally carnivorous pastime: charcuterie ($9 for a small plate; $15 for a large).

Three years in the kitchen at Blackbird, plus time with a charcuterie-loving chef in Charleston, planted the cured-meat seed. Last month, he cured pork belly in juniper, salt and spices to make pancetta, and smoked red-wine-cured pork jowl over pecan wood for guanciale.

The top-notch pork comes from Slagel Family Farm. Along with paper-thin slices of pancetta and guanciale, the charcuterie plate is adorned with pâté de campagne and a rosy quenelle of ham-hock rillettes, the smoked and simmered meat enriched with cream and butter.

Doren adds a central strip of foie gras or duck confit to the dense pâté to add debatably necessary richness. It or the rillettes are delicious spread on toasted brioche and crowned with sharply vinegary pickled chanterelles, or sweet house-made bread-and-butter pickles.

Duck prosciutto, more guanciale and a variety of salami are aging in the cooler, and are set to hit the plate in three to five weeks.

Franks 'N' Dawgs, 1863 N. Clybourn Ave.; 312-281-5187 or franksndawgs.com