El Salchichero is a butcher shop on the Westside that focuses on charcuterie and the creative and unique preparation of meat.
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-7pm, they also have fresh-cut options of beef, pork, chicken, duck, and rabbit, as well as house-made mustards, sauces and pickles.
“I’m lucky enough to do what I love and lucky enough to have people love what I do,” says owner Chris LaVeque, a deeply passionate charcuterie artisan who prides himself on fun, unordinary, and outside-the-box flavors and combinations. He spoke with GT about some of his shop’s most inspired offerings.
What are some of your charcuterie specialties?
CHRIS LAVEQUE: Definitely our cured meats like salami, coppa, and prosciutto. We make it all in-house, which is pretty rare. We also do a candy cap lardo, which is cured pork back fat with wild candy cap mushrooms, hibiscus and sumac. I like to have it on warm grilled bread and kind of let it melt a little. It has a rich, deep flavor and the intoxicating aroma of maple syrup, which comes from the mushroom. We also offer great seasonal sausage options. In the spring, we do a wild nettle pork sausage. In the summer, we do a peach and basil pork sausage as well as a chicken/duck sausage with blueberry and thyme. We try and offer unique flavors and seasonal pairings with our sausages, something people probably haven’t tried before.
What are a couple of your favorite marinated meats?
The Szechaun pepper skirt steak. I grill it and eat it with rice and grilled veggies. It’s super simple, delicious, and perfect. Another option is the Moroccan half-chicken. It has turmeric, sumac, grains of paradise, cardamom, basil seeds, and preserved lemon. I like to throw it in the oven and bake it, the aromas make the house smell great and feel super cozy.
What about your bacon?
They are all dry-cured and cold-smoked in house. Our house bacon is bourbon/maple syrup. That’s definitely my jam, and I eat a lot of it. We also have an apple cider bacon that’s rubbed with apple pie spice. Another unique option is our tasso bacon. It has spicy chili, garlic, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. It has a ton of distinct flavors and goes great on BLT’s. Bacon just makes you feel good; we love the joy it brings people when they eat it.
402 Ingalls St., Santa Cruz. 831-423-6328, elsalchichero.com.