Capocollo (in America, capicollo or capicolla), or coppa, is a traditional Italian cold cut (salume) made from dry-cured whole pork shoulder or neck. The name coppa is Italian for nape, while capocollo comes from capo—head—and collo—neck—of a pig. The Italian spelling, “capocollo’”, is derived from Latin, “caput collum”. It is similar to the more widely known cured ham or prosciutto, because they are both pork-derived cold-cuts that are used in similar dishes. However, the technical definition of ham is the thigh and buttocks of a pig (or boar) slaughtered for meat, whereas capocollo is solely meat from the shoulder or neck.
This coppa was the first solid muscle charcuterie I attempted. As with anything new I spent a lot of time researching on the web and trying to learn the best way to move forward. There are a lot of opinions and styles of curing meats, so I felt like I would just need to jump into the deep end of the pool. It is easier to gauge the quality of your end product, when you are familiar with it beforehand.
Coppa is my favorite cured meat next to a good prosciutto. The advantage which coppa has over a prosciutto is the hanging time in the curing chamber. Whereas prosciutto can take between 1-4 years to dry, a coppa averages between 45-60 days. My hope was to have it ready in time for a friends and family get together in Northern Washington.
This is the first step to a successful Capicola, and includes the process for curing your meat in preparation for hanging. All ingredients are given as percentages of the weight of the meat. It is important to weigh your Coppa cut and alter the ingredients in relation to its weight. This recipe is a slight variation of Jason Molinari's recipe.
- Pork Coppa - 1000 g, (100% of meat)
- Salt ( Kosher) - 35 g, (3.5% of meat)
- White Pepper - 10 g, (1.00% of meat)
- Cinnamon - .75 g, (0.075% of meat)
- Cure #2 - 2.5 g, (0.25% of meat)
- Juniper Berries - 2 g, (0.20% of meat)
- Natural Casing- Beef Bung
- Bactoferm Mold-600 (Penicillium nalgiovense)
- Butchers Twine
- Start with your Juniper Berries. Using a spice mill or mortar and pestal grind them to a rough powder. Dump them into a small bowl for mixing with the other spices.
- Add the rest of the spices and salts to the bowl.
- Massage the spice mix into the meat. Taking care to make sure that it is in every crevice.
- Place the meat into a ziplock bag, or a vacuum sealed bag, dumping the excess spices in with it. Evacuate most of the air, sealing the bag.
- Place it into your refrigerator for 10-12 days. Flip the bag every two days, while slightly massaging the spices into the meat. Extra large pieces of meat may take longer.
- Remove and correctly weigh 3 grams of mold culture. Dissolve in 200ml (approx. 1 measuring cup) of lukewarm water (approx. 68°F) and hold for 12 Hours. Then dilute into 1 Liter of chlorine-free tap water (or distilled water). Pour into clean spray bottle.
- Rinse the cure off of the meat with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
- Prepare the beef bung by soaking it in warm water. Then proceed to rinse it under cold water, in order to get rid of the salt which was used to preserve it. Set aside.
- Weigh your coppa, and take note of both the weight and date.
- Stuff the coppa into the beef bung. The key is to stuff it tightly, while avoiding any air pockets. Tie the top off as close to the meat as possible. Prick any noticeable air pockets with a knife or fork.
- Use the twine to tie the meat for hanging. A video example can be found here.
- Set your curing chamber between 52F-55F and 75% RH.
- Liberally spray mold solution onto coppa.
- Target weight loss is 35%. Hang for 4-8 weeks, checking weight loss periodically.