Charcuterie by Paradox makes artisan charcuterie for restaurants in Memphis
The sausage game is strong at Paradox Charcuterie.
The curing coolers of this Paradox Catering & Cuisine company are heaven for deli lovers. Well-known cures like capicola, bresaola, soppressata, pancetta and dry sausage hang on shelves. You can also find lesser-known cold cuts such as lonza, speck and salami cacciatore. Deli meats such as pastrami also dry in the meat racks.
What makes this artisanal deli business unique is that every cut is made with locally raised pork and beef.
Think farmhouse to charcuterie platter.
“We source our meat from Home Place Pastures,” said Jimmy Gentry, chef and co-owner of Charcuterie by Paradox. “Everything we make comes exclusively from them. The meat is amazing, it’s marbled all over.”
Charcuterie by Paradox now supplies fresh deli meats and sausages not only to its parent catering company, but also to restaurants around town like Grays Fine Cheese and Entertaining, Erling Jensen’s and Panta. Memphis Food and Beverage Company Savannah’s Food Co. also uses products from Charcuterie by Paradox.
You can also buy some to enjoy at home. Retail packages are currently available at Grays Fine Cheeses and Entertaining and Buster’s Liquors and Wines.
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The story back
Any regular at the now closed PO Press Public House & Provisions will tell you that a must order at brunch was Gentry’s house bacon.
The bacon was an original. Gentry cured and smoked the pork belly on site to make their crispy hickory-smoked bacon. The thick bacon seasoned with brown sugar and salt was crisp, but melted in your mouth.
As part of the farm-to-table concept at his Collierville restaurant, Gentry has dabbled in charcuterie, making home-cured smoked bacon and an occasional item for his locally sourced charcuterie platter.
Just before the restaurant opened, he took a course with famed butcher Michael Sullivan in Birmingham, Alabama. “I didn’t really need a refresher on butchering, but it was nice to get a hands-on lesson on curing.”
When the restaurant closed in 2019, Gentry shelved the deli business from his catering business. Then the pandemic hit.
“When COVID arrived, we didn’t have much to do in terms of catering. It was then that it really became an entity in its own right.
A partner passionate about the art of salting
A call from Mitchell Marable came at just the right time.
Marable, who had been PO Press’ bartender, called Gentry and said he was looking for a new direction in his career. The two decided that Marable would be the ideal person to take over the deli business as Gentry returned to the traditional restaurant business.
“The cool thing is that I didn’t have to teach him much. Mitchell had learned a lot from Aaron Winters and Brad McCarley when they worked together at Porcellino’s,” Gentry said.
“When I started bartending at Porcellino, I would go back and annoy Aaron and Brad. It started because I wanted to learn how to decompose my own game that I hunt so that I didn’t have to pay someone else to process it,” Marable said.
As he got deeper into butchery and meat curing, Marable said he continued to explore. “It’s a dying profession and I wanted to learn more.”
While Marable describes his position wryly, “I’m just a guy who throws salt on things and makes them edible,” he explains that the art of curing meats reminds him of his childhood on a family farm. . “It feels like home when I’m here in the kitchen.
Why Memphis Chefs Offer Paradox Deli
“We wanted to have as many local items as possible on our menu, said Fine Gray cheeses and receptions co-owner Kurt Mullican. “With someone making top-notch charcuterie nearby, it was naturally a good fit.”
Mullican said Paradox’s range of styles was a huge plus.
“Cashed (salame style), whole muscle, pate…French, Italian…you name it. Since working with Paradox, we’ve seen their offerings grow alongside the refinement of their recipes,” Mullican said. “With our cheese platters, we want people to get the best cheeses and charcuterie, to have a real cheese and charcuterie platter. Working with Jimmy was a big part of how we were able to do that. All of our on-site cheese and charcuterie plates as well as our cheese platters are made exclusively from Paradox.
Chief Erling Jensen features Paradox charcuterie like duck pastrami, bresaola and lonza (salty pork tenderloin) on its charcuterie platter and in its appetizers.
“I can buy out of town, but why would I when I can get it? It’s handmade,” Jensen said, adding that he thinks Paradox’s pastrami is “out of this world”.
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Paradox also works with customers on specialty items, such as the fresh sausage they make for Chef Kelly English’s pants.
“Jimmy and his team worked with us to make us Botifarra, which is a traditional Catalan sausage that’s usually served with white beans,” English said.
“From collaborating on size to spicing up to testing methods, they have done everything in their wheelhouse to make sure our product is perfect. There are few people and organizations that take the care that Paradox does for good do what they do.”
“And…I highly suggest digging into the Reuben at Grays Fine Cheese to see exactly what they can do with the meat,” English recommended.
Jennifer Chandler is The Commercial Appeal’s Food & Dining reporter. She can be reached at [email protected] and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cookwjennifer.