How To Make A Proper BBQ Charcuterie Board, According To Pitmaster Rodney Scott

It was only a matter of time before BBQ charcuterie boards became a trend. Charcuterie boards have been a social media favorite among Gen-Z and millennials since early 2020. To keep attracting attention to these carefully crafted, visually stunning assortments of delicious ingredients, it seemed inevitable that the featured items would have to grow in both size and impact. And what's more bigger and better than BBQ?

However, it's not just the enduring popularity of barbecue that's driving this new trend in BBQ-cuterie. According to Rodney Scott, celebrity pitmaster and owner of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ, there is a natural similarity between combo platters and charcuterie boards. "Our combo meals are essentially an assortment of different proteins along with an array of different side dishes served on a plate where everything is visible and laid out," Scott told Food Republic. "So I think we've been doing it but just now putting a name to it."

This trending topic has already gained traction on TikTok, where videos focused on BBQ charcuterie boards have amassed nearly two billion views — yes, that's billion with a "B." However, you don't need to be a social media aficionado to enjoy these boards. Scott, an expert in all things barbecue, has provided tips for creating your own at home. His advice boils down to offering a wide variety of meats and sticking to classic combinations. For instance, he suggests avoiding the mixing of seafood with poultry.

Tips for building a BBQ charcuterie board at home

So what are the essential food items for a backyard-style BBQ charcuterie board? "You have to include a good variety of meats — chicken, brisket, pulled pork, and ribs," says Rodney Scott. "Vegetables are essential, too, and you can use options like grilled corn, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts to add a pop of color to your board."

Color is certainly a key consideration when designing any charcuterie board, but it becomes particularly important for a BBQ-themed board. Many selections are likely to have a similar, sauce-glazed hue, making brighter food items like yellow corn, one of Scott's favorite vegetables, highly recommended from a visual standpoint. Macaroni and cheese is among the most colorful traditional side dishes. Cheeses in general are excellent additions, not only because they are a staple in all types of charcuterie boards, but also because certain varieties like cheddar and Monterey Jack pair exceptionally well with BBQ meats and sauces.

As for what to avoid, Scott notes a few BBQ charcuterie board pitfalls. "Any type of seafood I wouldn't mix with my poultry. Also, anything that is too exotic. If you're serving BBQ lovers, you probably already have a good idea of what they're expecting so you don't want to throw them off with anything that doesn't normally go with those good southern staples."

Styling your BBQ charcuterie board

Now that BBQ charcuterie boards are trending not only on social media but also in BBQ restaurants across the U.S., checking the menus of these pit specialists can provide helpful design tips and tricks. Blind Box BBQ in Shawnee, Kansas, offers a meat-and-cheese-only charcuterie selection on a butcher's block. These extra-thick cutting boards with defined edge profiles are ideal for bold BBQ-cuterie presentations.

Famous Dave's BBQ in Chicago prefers to place meats on the edges of its BBQ charcuterie boards first, framing the board. This approach also has the added benefit of ensuring that the most colorful ingredients, including bright veggies like grilled corn, are grouped in the center of the board.

Don't be afraid to go big. That's one of the guiding principles behind the BBQ charcuterie board trend, explaining why a food that contradicts a basic tenet of traditional charcuterie boards — offering light bites rather than heavy ones — has become so popular. As expert Rodney Scott points out, "BBQ-cuterie takes the idea to a whole new level by using heavier selections — a bad boy level if you will."