Mike Phillips's Three Sons Meats charcuterie: 50 Favorite Dishes, no. 11

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A perfect pile of beautifully cured meats

It seems every restaurant is now required to have a chef with a pig part tattooed on them and a charcuterie platter on the menu. There was a time in the not too distant past when salumi was in short supply. A little neighborhood joint in Longfellow called the Craftsman (again, back when that neighborhood was short on hip spots) had a chef that worked wonders with prepared meats. Mike Phillips has gone on to build a career based on using everything but the squeal, and on a couple of rare occasions we can still taste the beautiful flavors he makes.

Phillips has built a commercial business, but it's not always easy for us regular eaters to gain access to his beautiful meats. A few times a year he'll pop up: teaching classes on butchery or bringing his delicious meats to a farm dinner. Last summer he provided huge plates of cured meats for Outstanding in the Field, the national roving picnic. The event was held at Little Foot Farms, a pig farm so pristine that you can't smell a thing beyond the berries and grass growing there. Happy little piglets bounded around in their pens, while the adult animals would nap, snort, and occasionally make a little afternoon delight for all the dinner party guests to view.

The entire meal was filled with farm-fresh dishes, packed with all the bounty of a lush growing season. Guests were seated at a long and winding table, covered with white cloth. Stacks of fresh pickled vegetables looked like glass-contained jewels. It was hard to compete with the surroundings, but the world melted away with one bite of that beautiful meat. Prosciutto shaved as thin as lace; salty, pink meat wrapped in a creamy fat that melted on the tongue. Flaky rich bread cradled the pâtés en croûte, the ultra-rich meat nestled within. Zesty coppa, seemingly colored by the nearby Indian paintbrush wildflowers. It was a decadent delight. Each bite of his charcuterie erases the memory of other preserved meats. It's an art that celebrates the animal who gave its life for our eating pleasure. Mike Phillips is a meat maestro, building flavors, creating sensations and making the world a better place through his particular brand of artistry.

(Follow Kitchen in the Market for upcoming cooking classes with Mike Phillips.)

50 Favorite Dishes

No. 50:Somos Peru's crema volteada
No. 49:Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub's waffle battered chicken sandwich
No. 48: Namaste Cafe's bison mamacha
No. 47: MidNord's Argentinian empanadas
No. 46: Krungthep's Thai sausage
No. 45: Eat Shop's shrimp salad
No. 44: Icehouse's savory eclair
No. 43: Cajun 2 Geaux's beignets
No. 42: A Cupcake Social's dulce de leche cupcake
No. 41: French Hen's Creole biscuits and gravy
No. 40: The Gray House's cabbage and cava salad
No. 39: Foxy Falafel's curry falafel
No. 38: Republic's ricotta fritters
No. 37: Meritage's matzo ball soup
No. 36: Butcher & the Boar's lobster grilled cheese
No. 35: Sushi Fix's tuna poke
No. 34: George & the Dragon's Asian hangover
No. 33: AZ Canteen's Cabrito burger
No. 32: Nightingale's scallops with almond gazpacho
No. 31: Cafe Racer's pork plate
No. 30: World Street Kitchen's soft serve
No. 29: The Lynn on Bryant's baba rhum
No. 28: Fika's pork belly and poached egg
No. 27: The Kenwood's pancakes with black walnut butter
No. 26: Blackbird's spicy peanut noodles
No. 25: Sonora's shrimp caramelo
No. 24: Mona's marrow on toast
No. 23: Smack Shack's lobster guacamole
No. 22: No. 21: Neato's Burgers duck fat French fries
No. 20: Birdhouse's sweet pea pate
No. 19: Mojo Monkey's cake doughnut
No. 18: Parka's ham & pickle tots
No. 17: Blue Door Longfellow's baked and loaded blucy
No. 16: Ipotle's spicy dosa
No. 15: Grand Szechuan's Chengdu Dumpling
No. 14: Birchwood Cafe's key lime pie
No. 13: Dandelion Kitchen's braised beef sandwich
No. 12: The Left-Handed Cook's 21-Spice Fried Chicken


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