Roughly two years have passed since Artisan Meat Share shuttered its doors, but to Charleston locals, not a day goes by without thinking about Craig Deihl’s award-winning charcuterie. And don’t forget the sandwiches. People who frequented the shop often still bring up his cured meats, along with the meat-centric Italian sub and the unusual, but surprisingly good Nutty Knuckle sandwich.
Truth be told, there’s a long line of people — including his unofficial fan club of 18-thousand meat sweat-loving Instagram followers — who miss the charcuterie heydays. Luckily, his role as chef de cuisine at Hello, Sailor involves a sporadic pate en croute or porchetta for events — and earlier this year, a noteworthy bánh mì with braised pork terrine and duck liver mousse on the restaurant’s menu.
On Monday, August 5, 300 guests showed to Hello Sailor for Tillamook’s Melty Fest, a summer series in partnership with chefs in select cities. Joe and Katy Kindred (of Kindred and Hello, Sailor), along with Deihl, John Fleer of Rhubarb, Elliott Moss of Buxton Hall and Matt Kelly of Mateo Bar de Tapas, joined forces to throw what a guest coined, “the most Saturday Monday ever.”
A 30-minute wait to get to Deihl’s 6-foot meat and cheese board, best described as a spread of his greatest hits, didn’t scare anyone away. Line dwellers Instagrammed every detail with excitement once up front. “Is it appropriate to tell @cdeihl, a grown ass man, that you miss his meats?” Kaia Mastrianni, a food writer from Charlotte, storied to followers. The answer is a hard no. His showstopper display of meats and cheeses proved to be as exciting as waking up at 5 a.m. on Christmas morning as a child for many guests.
Deihl dusted off several cured meats, including culatello, from his Artisan Meat Share days that had been tucked away at a friend’s house in Charleston. “I had some meat that I needed to use,” Deihl says, and Melty Fest seemed as the most fitting place to mic drop a few cured meats.
The board took over half an hour to assemble, everything strategically placed. “When preparing the ultimate charcuterie board, if using cheese, you want varying types of cheese, ranging from mild to funky,” he says — and the same goes for meats. “You want the oldest cheese next to the oldest meat, or the stinkiest cheese next to the stinkiest meat,” he adds.
He constructed the board with the intention it would sustain throughout cocktail hour, sans replenishing. “I was dead wrong,” he says. “And people really hit the country ham.” Deihl then made nonstop trips back and forth from the kitchen just to keep it stocked.
It was a no-brainer that Deihl would be responsible for this portion of the event. “Since he’s the king of charcuterie, we loved the idea,” says Lindsay Strannigan, one of the event’s producers. “He told me to send him a lot of cheese (20 to 30 pounds to be exact) and that it was dealer’s choice — so I sent him a mix of Tillamook’s finest cheeses, including a flight of their Maker’s Reserve (2012 through 2016).
For Artisan Meat Share fans chiming in, here’s what you missed:
For meats, one whole culatello, country ham, lamb prosciutto, 7 pounds of ham and parsley terrine, lomo, and 7 pounds of smoked bologna graced the surface. Deihl also whipped up 9 quarts of pimento cheese (including 6 pounds of cheddar), cheese straws, bread and butter pickles, ramps and okra, and several other accoutrements to pair. In total, excluding pimento cheese, Deihl displayed a variety of Tillamook cheeses, ranging from exclusive Maker’s Reserve to garlic chili pepper cheddar, totaling 8 pounds. “There was nothing left when we went to clear off the board,” he says.