Three Denver Salumi Makers Are Growing Quickly

Bill Miner has been patient. When he opened Il Porcellino Salumi at 4334 West 41st Avenue over two years ago, his first dry-cured products still needed weeks before they'd be ready, so the shop sold other styles of sausage until the slow-aged pork products were properly cured. Since then, the variety of styles on offer has increased, and Il Porcellino barely manages to keep the deli case stocked (especially during the holiday season, when demand for party platters and gifts cleans out the aging room).

But one piece of meat still hangs as testament to the owner's patience: a whole pork leg that has been curing for 27 months — as long as the store has been open. Now, after that long wait, Miner is nearly ready to slice into the prized country ham, and he's also ready to expand Il Porcellino beyond the tiny Berkeley butcher shop that has gained both local and national attention.

For the past, year, Miner has been searching for a good location for a wholesale production facility…and he's finally found one. Last fall, Wendy Mitchell ended production of meats and cheeses at her Avalanche Cheese Company in Basalt (choosing instead to focus on her restaurant and cocktail bar), leaving a USDA-approved processing plant vacant. While Miner had been looking in Denver, the vacancy proved too tempting to pass up, so he's taking over the space and the USDA license and hopes to begin producing dry-cured sausage there by the end of February. He's hired Avalanche's former butcher to handle production, and he'll make regular visits to Basalt for three months or so to make sure his recipes and procedures are in place.

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