Eater Austin had the opportunity to talk with Ben Runkle, founder of Salt & Time Charcuterie. He discussed plans for a retail location, being mentioned by Bon Appetit magazine, and his trip this past weekend to the Eat ‘Real Festival in Oakland.
In the October issue of Bon Appetit , writer Andrew Knowlton features Salt & Time's coffee lomo, calling it "one of the crowning achievements of the recent American charcuterie boom." [Print only.] How did he get to taste it, and can you tell me more about the product?
I did a panel with Andrew Knowlton at the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival earlier this year (along with Marla Camp, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, and Larry Kocurek). We were given wines to pair with, and I made a typical prosciutto but also brought an experiment — our coffee lomo. We had started the dry cure six months before, adding coffee grounds to the mix, and it just happened to be an eye opening, amazing product. So, we had to share it.
A few months later Andrew's assistant called and asked for another sample to be mailed up to New York, and about a month ago Andrew called me himself to say we were going to be featured. Most domestic charcuterie just imitates the French and Italian styles (and very well), but this was different.
What are your plans for expansion? A retail location?
We are looking to bring a retail location to central Austin to supplement our presence at the HOPE Farmers Market. We'll feature a fresh butcher counter as well, offering local beef, ribs, and pretty much anything you'd like.
Where did y'all go this past weekend?
Bryan [Butler, the butcher] and I went to Oakland for the Eat ‘Real Festival in Oakland. It was started by Anya Fernald, whose husband started Slow Food International. This festival brings the ideas of Slow Food to more of an accessible level - a "street food vibe." Bryan and I participated in a pig butchery competition against guys from Fatted Calf and Avedano's Holly, who actually taught me the craft. It was surreal.
Also note: Bryan Butler won his competition at this summer's national Cochon 555 butchery conference in New Orleans.