In honor of our 15th anniversary on October 15, we wanted to highlight the top 15 menu items and products we offer that prove that quality ingredients make all the difference when it comes to delicious tasting food. We thought it would be fun to give you the backstory on some of your favorite items, and to explain why we think they’re so good. First up, our Aged Gouda Mac & Cheese…
#15 Aged Gouda Mac & Cheese
Our Mac & Cheese was one of our original items, offered by the pound and as one of the side selections that accompany our sandwiches. From opening day it received rave reviews. Mac & cheese was standard southern fare at the time, but no one was using gouda cheese, much less aged gouda. There’s nothing magical about the recipe – the ingredients are simple, so the quality and flavor of the aged cheese stands out.
Interestingly, in the chaos of opening, we didn’t think through how we would serve this as a warm side to go with sandwiches on the fly. So our initial customers got this as a cold side, and they loved it. Ultimately we began to offer it hot or cold, and the jury is still out on which is better!
#14 Chicken Pancetta & Avocado Sandwich
Our Chicken, Pancetta & Avocado Sandwich has been another favorite on the menu since day one. If you haven’t tried this one, you should. It’s not rocket science, it’s just a really good combination of quality ingredients: Roasted, seasoned premium chicken breast; thin-sliced, crispy pancetta; sliced ripe tomato; creamy avocado, and housemade herb aioli on a ciabatta roll. And here’s a tip from Ted: Ask for it pressed as a panini.
#13 Painted Hills Ribeye
Ted discovered Painted Hills Natural Beef from Oregon when he was preparing to open his butcher shop 15 years ago. His goal was to bring the best tasting, responsibly raised, all-natural beef he could find to Charleston. To this day, you won’t find better quality beef available for retail purchase here.
The ribeye is our best selling cut from Painted Hills. Bone-in or bone-out, the marbling on this cut is what makes it taste so good. We cut to order, and recommend ribeyes be cut at 1 ¼” thick. Salt and pepper is all you need to bring out the flavor of this beef.
#12 Pulaski’s Polish Kielbasa
Before he was born, Ted’s Polish grandparents owned and operated a butcher shop in New Jersey where they made their own kielbasa in a basement smokehouse. Ted’s Butcherblock is not equipped with a smokehouse, so Ted chose to feature the next best thing to homemade.
Pulaski Meats is a family-owned business in New Jersey where Ted’s family has purchased kielbasa and other authentic Polish products for over 50 years. Their kielbasa has been in our cases since the day we opened. It’s perfect for the grill; boiled, sliced and served with Pulaski’s Polish mustard (also available at Ted’s); or used in a classic Lowcountry Boil.
#11 Housemade Meatballs
Did you know we offer two different kinds of housemade meatballs at Ted’s? These aren’t your average meatballs. We use the same uber premium butcher products we sell at the Butcher Counter to make meatballs that are beyond delicious. We’ve offered them since day one, and they’ve remained a customer favorite ever since.
Our classic meatballs are made with fresh ground Painted Hills Natural Beef, pork and veal and are delicious served with our house marinara sauce and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. We also have Gluten-free lamb meatballs that are perfect on rice, pasta or in a pita with feta cheese and veggies.
#10 Signature Rub
We came up with our signature dry rub as a seasoning for the roast chicken breast that we use for several of our original chicken sandwiches. We soon realized that it was the perfect balance of flavors for virtually everything — we use it on steaks, burgers, seafood and more. You might even taste a hint of it in our house pimento cheese!
#9 Housemade Sausages
There’s an old adage that says there are two things you never want to watch being made: legislation and sausage. That’s because traditionally, sausages were made with all the byproducts of the hog that couldn’t be used elsewhere. Not pretty.
We use heritage breed pork shoulder – the same cut used for pulled bbq pork – to make the crazy good fresh sausages in our case. It offers the flavor + fat content that is the secret behind our signature selections: Hot & Mild Italian, Fresh German, Fresh Chorizo and Bratwurst. The flavor profiles for each of these are described on the Butcher page of our website if you want to learn more.
Once our customers discovered our sausages, we began getting requests for sandwiches, so we started offering a special once a week and even added the popular Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage sandwich to our regular Gourmet Cafe menu!
#8 Essential Seafood
Local seafood is one of the best things about living on the South Carolina coast – we check in weekly with local fisherman and purveyors to offer “fresh catch” selections.
But there are a few seafood “staples” you simply won’t find in our local waters that we can’t live without, including Scottish Salmon and Jumbo Dry Packed Scallops. We did our research to source the best tasting, responsibly raised salmon and scallops we could find, and we keep both in stock. We promise if you are a fan of salmon or scallops, you will love these selections.
A bonus: They both do really well on the grill. That means we can cook them up for you on the Big Green Egg for dinner on the days we’re open. Easy and delicious!
#7 Meat Sticks
Sometimes it’s the little things that you may otherwise overlook that turn out to be long-running, tried & true favorites. Such is the case with our “meat sticks,” as some of our favorite younger customers affectionately call them.
It started with the Lanjagers, which were shipped to us as a sample from Schaller & Weber when we were stocking up the deli meat case for the first time. We put them out as samples on opening day and they were a hit – we’ve had them at the front counter ever since. Fun fact: We were recently told that we’re the country’s top seller of Schaller & Weber’s Landjagers!
But that’s not all… we eventually started making our own signature Painted Hills Natural Beef Jerky, and that was a hit as well. Soon after, paleo diets and the beef jerky craze hit, and we’ve been struggling to keep up ever since. We try to keep our house jerky in stock, but it goes fast!
#6 Meat Baskets
Our meat baskets earned a spot on Ted’s Top 15 in part because of their growing popularity this year. Not only do they make a great gift at the holidays or for special occasions, they’re a great way to stock up your fridge for cooking at home during this era of social distancing. We’ve ranked them #6.
Filled with premium, vacuum-sealed selections and available for delivery locally (some limitations apply), Ted’s meat baskets can also be shipped to most places domestically. They make an awesome gift for yourself or for anyone who loves to cook and appreciates quality food. You can purchase them from the online shop on our website.
#5 Ted’s House Chili
This is another item on our menu that hasn’t changed from day one. It’s based on a chili Ted cooked up for friends on New Year’s Day decades ago that became a favorite “go to” for casual parties. When he went on to open a butcher shop, he knew chili had to be on the menu. And he knew with the premium products he was bringing to Charleston, he could make it even better.
The chili at Ted’s is extra good because it’s made with our premium housemade sausage, ground Painted Hills Natural Beef and a spicy tomato and red bean base. It’s a hearty bowl of chili, for those who love their meat!
Our House Chili makes our Ted’s Top 15 list because it’s been around since day one, and because it incorporates several of the great products and ingredients that we are proud to carry.
#4 Kurobuta Pork Chops
Ted has turned so many people on to these succulent, flavorful pork chops that we simply had to include them on our list of Ted’s Top 15. These pork chops are 100% certified pure heirloom Berkshire pork, the gold standard for quality and flavor. These are not your grandmother’s pork chops. Kurobuta pork has a higher fat content that renders superior flavor – salt and pepper are truly all that is needed.
We always tell people who are trying our Kurobuta pork chops for the first time that if they don’t notice a difference in the flavor we will give them their money back. In 15 years that has never happened!
#3 Bacon – Bacon – Bacon
We’re a butcher shop located in the south, so it’s only fitting that bacon was a signature item from day one. Artisanal bacon was surprisingly hard to come by in Charleston when we opened, and to this day we still offer the city’s largest selection, with a dozen varieties in stock at any given time. And since we slice to order, you can get it cut as thin or as thick as you’d like.
Our selections are from small smokehouses from around the country. Among our favorites: Kurobuta Applewood Smoked, Benton’s Hickory Smoked Bacon, Broadbent Maplewood Smoked Bacon and Everything Spice.
Shortly after opening a customer asked if we would ship him bacon monthly, and our Bacon of the Month Club was born. Available as 3, 6 and 12-month “subscriptions, it’s a popular gift at the holidays (see our online store for details). We also feature a monthly bacon in our “Bacon of the Month BLT,” another original from our sandwich menu.
#2 Ultimate Burgers
Our list of Ted’s Top 15 would not be complete without our Ultimate Burgers. Recently named among “Charleston’s most delicious hidden gems” by Charleston City Paper, our burgers most certainly offer superior flavor. That’s because we use a mix of freshly ground cuts of Painted Hills Natural Beef as the base for our juicy, mouth watering Ultimate Burgers. They’re available only on Saturdays, and we come up with a new way to top them each month. A classic “Backyard Burger” is also available each week. All of our burgers are served on locally baked buns from Brown’s Court Bakery.
#1 Wagyu Beef Panini
For 15 years, this sandwich has been our top seller. There’s just something about the combination of thin sliced, house roasted (yes, we roast it right here in the kitchen) wagyu beef, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and blue cheese aioli pressed on a soft ciabatta roll that is music to your mouth. Maybe it’s the combination of savory and slightly sweet flavors bound by the creaminess of blue cheese aioli. Maybe it’s the quality of the ingredients. Maybe it’s the simplicity of just 4 ingredients that combine perfectly in terms of texture and taste. In any case, if you haven’t tried it, you should. The Wagyu Beef Panini is a true Ted’s classic!
With all the changes that have taken place in Charleston’s culinary world in the past decade and a half, we’re proud that our tried and true offerings have stood the test of time, and that the majority of items we offer were on our menu or in our cases on the day we opened. Cheers to another 15 years!