12/12/18 10:30pm

Don Rodrigo’s Portuguese Combo Rocks

It takes a true charcuterie master to make a masterful sandwich, and Don Rodrigo Duarte is such a master. I first met Don Rodrigo four years ago when I helped to launch Charcuterie Masters.

Today was my second visit to his shop, Caseiro e Bom in Newark’s Ironbound. I’ve tasted his exquisite Portuguese charcuterie several times, but it occurred to me and the New York Epicurean Events crew that none of us had ever had a sandwich made by the master.

“O.K. I’ll make you guys a sandwich,” Don Rodrigo said after giving us a tour of his subterranean curing chambers, which are filled with precious pure breed Alentejano hams.

Despite its slim profile, the Portuguese combo, as I’ve come to call it, packs a wallop of flavor. Don Rodrigo told us what was in it, but after one bite I forgot and was swept up in waves of cured pork, red pepper and salty cheese.

When my meat reverie lifted, he broke down all five components: jamon cured for 16 months; culatello cured for 2 years; loin cured for 6 months; portuja, a pork back lardo seasoned with chilies cured for 6 months; and an artisanal Portuguese sheep’s milk cheese, Serra da Estrela.

No wonder the dainty looking sandwich punched so far above its weight class. Don Rodrigo and his exquisite products will be at this year’s Charcuterie Masters, which takes place on February 23rd.

Caseiro e Bom, 70 Pacific St., Newark, (973) 900-5385

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