Amidst the loaves of rustic bread, the bags of locally roasted coffee, and the garden-fresh greens that line the shelves at Revival Market, one thing stands out above all: meat.
Cases full of ruddy beef and blushing-pink pork greet you immediately upon entering. A glass enclosure in the small seating area for Revival Market’s cafe looms above diners as they munch on house-cured ham; behind it, more hams sway gently, suspended from thick white twine in a climate-controlled room, curing for months or even years at a time. Next to the giant hams—each one the entire rear quarter of a pig—hang smaller charcuterie items: fat, dark red coppa; reams of lardo the color of fresh snow; pancetta speckled with pepper—all waiting for their graduation day to the big meat case up front.
Revival Market is the only grocer in town that cures its own meat, offering a selection of charcuterie (called salumi in Italy) that rivals anything in Chicago or New York City. Here, you’ll find the common cuts—the prosciutto, the pepperoni-like sopressata, the terrines of pâté—but you’ll also find an assortment of specialty items rarely seen in the US. One month, it may be the sweet black pudding called sanguinaccio, a blood sausage that tastes so much like fudge it could fool even the most discerning palate. Another month, it may be culatello, which is the sweetest part of a ham and the so-called “king of charcuterie,” said to make even the finest prosciutto pale in comparison.
Culatello takes at least nine months to cure and requires the destruction of a perfectly fine leg of ham in order to carve out the most tender part of the pork, rendering the stuff both rare and expensive. But at Revival Market, it’s just another example of how owners Ryan Pera and Morgan Weber, along with head butcher Andrew Vaserfirer, are determined to bring the world’s best charcuterie to Houston.
Not all, but most every piece of charcuterie Revival Market sells is made in-house, from the chicken liver mousse to the American whiskey pâté. Here’s a guide to what’s in store now.
Prosciutto: salted ham dry-cured for up to two years; sweet, salty, and gently fatty at the edges
Bresaola: leg of beef dry-cured for two to three months and rubbed with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and juniper berries
Lonzino: pork loin dry-cured for up to six months; flavored with salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, cloves, and other spices
Coppa: pork shoulder (and sometimes neck) dry-cured for up to six months; flavored with wine, garlic, salt, and other spices
Pancetta tesa: quick-cured pork belly, akin to bacon; flavored with wine, allspice, juniper, nutmeg, and other spices instead of smoke
Lardo: pure, delicious, cured fat; pork fatback is dry-cured with rosemary and other spices until opaque
Pecan mortadella: a Revival Market specialty; originally finely ground pork sausage from Bologna, often flavored with pistachios; here, it’s mixed with Texas pecans for a fancy sandwich filling
Mangalitsa ham: extra-fatty, extra-flavorful ham made from owner Morgan Weber’s prized Mangalitsa hogs, perfect for lunch or dinner
Lamb pastrami: normally made from beef, Revival’s pastrami is brined, then smoked, and finally steamed for a gentle, brisket-like texture that’s terrific in sandwiches