This past Saturday marked the inaugural Charcuterie Masters, a tasting and competition between some of the best makers of cured meats in New York and the country. Held at the historic Flushing Town Hall on Northern Boulevard in Queens, purveyors showcased what they do best to hungry guests, judges and their fellow food artisans.

My first bite came by way of one of my favorite meat makers, Dickson’s Farmstand (@EatMeaty, 75 Ninth Ave., located in Chelsea Market, 212-242-2630, www.dicksonsfarmstand.com). Among the gorgeous cuts of meat and poultry and their prepared foods, they make one of my most favorite sandwiches ever! It’s called the Spicy Italian and consists of their housemade ham, coppa and mortadella plus cheddar, thin sliced onions and chilies and mayo on a portion-controlled (because my eyes, not my stomach, want it to be much bigger than it is) ciabatta roll. I have ventured downtown many times for this sammy, most recently to make my first day of jury duty that much more manageable.

Dickson’s Farmstand wasn’t serving the Spicy Italian on this night. Instead, they presented a plate of their coppa and mortadella, plus their tender, flavorful and luscious hogs headcheese. My grandmother would be so proud. It is most certainly one of the reasons for their second place finish. Congrats!

I somehow missed the grand champion, Nduja Artisans (@NdujaArtisans), and mostly likely their version of their namesake. We connected over social media when I posted photos of my rudimentary attempt at making the aged meat product in my small wine cellar at the suggestion of Betony chef Bryce Shuman at Eataly’s Identita Golose. It turned out alright, but I am sure it was not as true at these masters’ creations. Congratulations to you!

Jeremy Stanton, event creator and owner of the Meat Market and Fire Roasted Catering, came together with New York Epicurean Events to celebrate and elevate the fine art of charcuterie through competition. His aim is to highlight the unique American flavor of this European craft and inspire others to pursue the profession.

Other Charcuterie Masters winners were third-place finisher Michael Clampffer of Mangalitsa by Mosefund
and Steven Jagoda for Best Amateur. Some of my winners included a perfectly seasoned and sliced salumi from Ridgewood Pork Store, the most delicate pork rinds from Ends Meat, a smorgasbord of unique pates from Hudson Valley Charcuterie and a taste of a three-year, $8,000 leg of ham from Caseiro e Bom!

For more on my time at Charcuterie Masters, links to all of these amazing purveyors and photos, visit my blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl and on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Follow AmNewsFOOD @NYAmNewsFOOD.