Capicollo, much like it’s distant cousin mortadella is underappreciated by far too many people. Perhaps it’s because the deli stuff that kids pick out of Italian sandwiches across the U.S. most often resembles a wet piece of ham and has the mouth feel of a leather shoe with stringy laces. Unfortunately the mass-produced grocery store versions of this classic salame have given Capicollo a bad name. When prepared correctly using a quality piece of pork, Capicollo melts in your mouth and has a wonderful flavor reminiscent of prosciutto.
Capicollo, also called Coppa, (sometimes Capicollo or Capicolla in the U.S.) is a relatively easy whole muscle meat to make at home and is an excellent choice for first time curing. I had my butcher cut the Capicollo out of a whole piece of pork shoulder close to the neck. If you wish to do it yourself there are plenty of resources online that can guide you in the right direction.
The Capicollo Recipe:
- 2540g Pork Capicollo
- 6.3g of Cure #2 (.25%)
- 95g Sicilian Sea Salt (3.75%)
- 25g Partially Cracked Black Peppercorns (1%)
- Red Wine
- Peperoncino Calabrese
Rub the spice and salt mixture (minus the peperoncino) evenly on the meat and refrigerate in a covered container or bag for at least 20 days. Drain any liquid that has formed after the first week.
The capicollo should be slightly firm to the touch and begin to take on the characteristic pink color of cured meat when ready to move to the curing room. Before hanging to dry rinse with red wine and coat with ground Peperoncino Calabrese. Stuff into a large 5+ inch beef bung cap available from Butcher & Packer. The open end of the casing does not need to be tied shut like a salame, it can simply be folded over. The CapicolIo should be tied similar to any large diameter salame and pricked to allow the casing to breathe. It is then left to cure for several months at roughly 55°F and 75% humidity. I check for doneness by feel, so when it is not rock hard and not super soft it’s ready to eat!