How to Make Capocollo: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

Back by popular demand after making our home made salami video, Piero teaches us how to make homemade Capicola / Capocollo or cured and dry-aged pork neck it is out of this world and bursting with flavor! The Capocollo / Capicola is one of Italy’s most popular charcuterie cuts to make. Very easy to make at home! let us know if you try it out 🙂

Capocollo, coppa, gabagool, or capicola is a traditional Italian and Corsican pork cold cut made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder or neck. It is a whole-muscle salume, dry cured, and typically sliced very thinly.

Understanding capocollo is the first step to successfully making it at home. This cured meat is made by rubbing a pork shoulder or neck with a mixture of salt, sugar, and spices, and then allowing it to cure for several weeks. The curing process not only preserves the meat but also infuses it with delicious flavor. Once the meat has cured, it is hung to dry for several weeks, during which time it develops its characteristic texture and flavor. With a little patience and attention to detail, anyone can make delicious capocollo at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Capocollo is a popular cured meat that originated in Italy and is known for its delicate flavor and tender texture.
  • Understanding the curing process is essential to successfully making capocollo at home.
  • With the right ingredients and techniques, anyone can make delicious capocollo in their own kitchen.

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • 500g Sea Salt Course
  • 2 Tea Spoons Chilli Flakes
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt Fine Course
  • 1 Teaspoon Rosemary
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • Coppa (Muscle from the pork shoulder)

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Understanding Capocollo

Capocollo, also known as coppa or capicola, is a traditional Italian charcuterie made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder or neck. This Italian delicacy is a popular cold cut in Southern Italy, where it is often served as an appetizer or as a part of antipasto platters.

Capocollo is made using a traditional curing process that involves seasoning, marinating, curing, and drying. The producers season the pork meat in a marinating tub with usually red wine, spices, and herbs. After seasoning, the meat is cured for several weeks, during which it is hung to dry and develop its characteristic flavor.

The traditional Capocollo di Martina Franca is a popular version of this Italian meat. It is made using pork coppa, which is a cut of meat from the pig’s neck. The meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, and other spices, then rolled and tied with string before being hung to dry. The result is a flavorful and tender meat that is perfect for sandwiches, antipasto platters, or as a pizza topping.

Capocollo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes. It is often sliced thin and served with cheese and crackers or as a topping for pizza. It can also be used as a filling for sandwiches, paninis, and wraps. Capocollo is a popular ingredient in Italian cuisine, and it is often used in pasta dishes, soups, and stews.

In summary, Capocollo is a traditional Italian charcuterie that is made using a time-honored curing process. This Italian meat is a popular cold cut that is often served as an appetizer or as a part of antipasto platters. Capocollo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many dishes, and it is a must-try for anyone who loves Italian cuisine.

Choosing the Right Meat

When it comes to making capocollo, choosing the right cut of meat is crucial. The traditional cut used for capocollo is pork shoulder or neck, although some recipes may call for pork butt.

Pork shoulder is a popular choice because it has a good balance of meat and fat, which is essential for creating the ideal texture and flavor of capocollo. Pork neck, on the other hand, is a leaner cut of meat that is often used to make capocollo in Italy.

When selecting the meat, it’s important to look for a piece that is well-marbled, with a good amount of fat running through the meat. This will help to keep the capocollo moist and tender during the curing process.

It’s also important to consider the size of the meat. The ideal size for a capocollo is around 2-3 pounds, as this will allow for even curing and drying. If the meat is too large, it may take longer to cure and dry, which can increase the risk of spoilage.

Once the meat has been selected, it’s important to prepare it properly. Many recipes call for the meat to be tied with meat netting to help it maintain its shape during the curing process.

Finally, it’s important to monitor the internal temperature of the meat during the curing process to ensure that it is safe to eat. The USDA recommends that pork be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) to ensure that any harmful bacteria have been destroyed.

The Curing Process

Capocollo is a dry-cured meat that requires a curing process to achieve its distinct flavor and texture. The curing process involves rubbing the meat with a mixture of salt, spices, and curing agents such as sodium nitrate or sodium nitrite. The cured meat is then hung to dry for several weeks to several months, depending on the desired level of dryness.

The curing process is critical in producing a safe and flavorful capocollo. The salt and curing agents help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, while the spices and seasonings add flavor to the meat. It is important to use the correct amount of salt and curing agents to ensure that the meat is properly preserved.

One common curing agent used in capocollo is Cure #2, also known as Prague Powder #2. This curing agent contains a mixture of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria and adds a distinct pink color to the meat. It is important to use the correct amount of Cure #2, as too much can be harmful to human health. Keep in mind that Piero does it naturally so if you wish to not use it follow the video.

During the curing process, the meat is rubbed with the salt and spice mixture, making sure to cover all areas of the meat. The meat is then placed in a curing chamber or hung in a cool, dry place to dry. The temperature and humidity levels must be carefully monitored to ensure that the meat dries properly.

After several weeks to several months, the capocollo should be ready to eat. The meat should be firm and have a slightly salty and savory flavor. It is important to slice the capocollo thinly to fully appreciate its flavor and texture.

Overall, the curing process is an essential step in making capocollo. It requires careful attention to detail and the use of proper curing agents to ensure that the meat is safe to eat and has a delicious flavor.

Essential Ingredients and Spices

When it comes to making Capocollo, there are several essential ingredients and spices that are needed to achieve the desired flavor and texture. Here are some of the key ingredients and spices used in making Capocollo:

  • Salt: Salt is an essential ingredient in Capocollo as it helps to preserve the meat and adds flavor. Sea salt is often used in traditional recipes.
  • Pepper: Black pepper is commonly used in Capocollo to add a spicy kick to the meat. Some recipes may also call for red pepper flakes or chili pepper.
  • Spices: A variety of spices are often used in Capocollo, including paprika, coriander, nutmeg, and fennel seeds. These spices add depth of flavor and aroma to the meat.
  • Fat: Capocollo is a fatty cut of meat, and the fat is an important component of its flavor and texture. Some recipes may call for additional fat to be added to the meat.
  • Sugar: Sugar is sometimes used in Capocollo recipes to balance out the saltiness of the meat and add a touch of sweetness.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a common ingredient in many Capocollo recipes, adding a pungent, savory flavor to the meat.
  • Wine: Wine is sometimes used in Capocollo recipes to add flavor and acidity to the meat. Red wine is often used in traditional recipes.
  • Juniper berries: Juniper berries are sometimes used in Capocollo recipes to add a piney, resinous flavor to the meat.
  • Thyme: Thyme is a common herb used in Capocollo recipes, adding a subtle earthy flavor to the meat.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary is another herb that is sometimes used in Capocollo recipes, adding a fragrant, slightly bitter flavor to the meat.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar is sometimes used in Capocollo recipes to add acidity to the meat and help with the curing process.

Overall, the combination of these ingredients and spices is what gives Capocollo its distinctive flavor and texture. While there may be some variation in recipes depending on the region or personal preference, these key ingredients are essential to making a delicious Capocollo.

Preparation Method

To make Capocollo, the first step is to prepare the pork. The pork should be rinsed thoroughly and patted dry with paper towels. Next, use a heavy serrated knife to trim away the outer fat, revealing the muscle bundle beneath. Remove any excess fat from the surface, and shave away meat from the muscle bundle to round it off.

Once the pork has been trimmed, it can be rubbed with a mixture of salt and other seasonings such as black pepper, garlic, and fennel seeds. The pork should be coated evenly with the seasoning mixture and then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. It should be left to cure in the refrigerator for at least 7 days, or until it feels firm to the touch.

After the curing process is complete, the pork can be smoked over wood chips to add flavor. The smoking process can take several hours and should be done at a low temperature to prevent the meat from drying out. Once the smoking is complete, the Capocollo should be wrapped in netting and hung to dry for several weeks until it is firm and dry to the touch.

To store the Capocollo, it can be wrapped in plastic wrap or vacuum-sealed and stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If using natural casing, it can be tied with string and hung to dry in a cool, dry place. The Capocollo can be sliced thinly and served on its own or used as a flavorful addition to sandwiches or salads.

Capocollo

Serving Suggestions

Capocollo is a versatile meat that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are a few serving suggestions to help inspire your next meal:

  • Sandwiches: Capocollo makes a delicious addition to any sandwich. Try it on a classic Italian sub with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and arugula, or on a muffuletta with olive salad and provolone.
  • Appetizer: Serve thin slices of capocollo with crackers, crostini, or bruschetta for a simple and elegant appetizer.
  • Antipasto Platter: Capocollo is a common ingredient in antipasto platters. Pair it with other cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables for a colorful and flavorful spread.
  • Pizzas and Pasta: Capocollo can be used as a topping for pizzas and pasta dishes. Try it on a white pizza with ricotta and garlic, or in a pasta dish with vodka sauce and peas.
  • Salads: Capocollo can add a salty and savory element to salads. Try it on a salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Charcuterie Board: Capocollo is a must-have on any charcuterie board. Pair it with other cured meats, cheeses, nuts, and fruits for a beautiful and delicious spread.
  • Homemade: If you made your own capocollo, try it on its own or with bread and cheese to fully appreciate its flavor.

No matter how you choose to serve it, capocollo is sure to add a delicious and unique flavor to any dish.

Buying Capocollo

When it comes to buying Capocollo, there are a few things to keep in mind. Capocollo is a type of Italian deli meat that is often used in sandwiches, pasta dishes, and antipasti. One of the most important things to consider when buying Capocollo is the quality of the meat.

One option is to purchase Capocollo from a local deli or specialty food store. This can be a great way to ensure that you are getting high-quality meat that has been prepared and stored properly. It also allows you to speak with the staff and ask questions about the source of the meat and any other concerns you may have.

Another option is to purchase Capocollo online. There are many online retailers, including Amazon, that offer a wide variety of Capocollo products. When purchasing online, it is important to read reviews and check the seller’s reputation to ensure that you are getting a quality product.

It is also important to note that Capocollo is a protected designation of origin (PDO) product, which means that it must meet certain standards to be considered authentic. When purchasing Capocollo, look for the PDO label to ensure that you are getting an authentic product.

In summary, when buying Capocollo, it is important to consider the quality of the meat, the source of the product, and whether it is an authentic PDO product. Whether purchasing from a local deli or online retailer, taking the time to do some research can help ensure that you are getting a high-quality product that will be delicious in your favorite Italian dishes.

Safety Considerations

When making Capocollo, there are several safety considerations that should be taken into account to ensure that the meat is safe to consume.

Sodium Nitrite

Sodium nitrite is a key ingredient in the curing process that gives Capocollo its distinctive flavor and color. However, it is also a potentially dangerous substance if used improperly. Sodium nitrite can be toxic in high doses, and can also react with certain compounds in the meat to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic.

To ensure that the Capocollo is safe to eat, it is important to use the correct amount of sodium nitrite. This can be difficult to do accurately, so it is recommended to use pre-measured curing mixes that are specifically designed for Capocollo.

Protein

Protein is an important nutrient that is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body. However, it can also be a source of foodborne illness if not handled properly.

When making Capocollo, it is important to handle the meat with care to prevent contamination with harmful bacteria such as Salmonella or E. coli. This includes washing hands thoroughly before and after handling the meat, using clean utensils and cutting boards, and storing the meat at the correct temperature.

Temperature

Temperature is another important factor to consider when making Capocollo. The meat must be kept at the correct temperature throughout the curing process to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

It is recommended to use a meat thermometer to monitor the temperature of the meat at all times. The meat should be kept at a temperature between 36°F and 40°F during the curing process.

By following these safety considerations, you can ensure that your homemade Capocollo is safe to eat and has the delicious flavor and texture that you desire.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the traditional ingredients used to make capocollo?

Capocollo is a traditional Italian and Corsican pork cold cut made from the dry-cured muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder or neck. The traditional ingredients used to make capocollo include sea salt, chili flakes, and curing salts such as sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate.

Can capocollo be made at home, and if so, what is the process?

Yes, capocollo can be made at home. The process involves preparing the meat, applying the curing mix, and then allowing the meat to cure for several weeks. The meat is then hung in a cool, dry place to dry and age. There are several recipes available online that provide detailed instructions on how to make capocollo at home, such as this other recipe.

What is the ideal temperature and humidity for curing capocollo?

The ideal temperature and humidity for curing capocollo are around 60°F and 60-70% humidity. It is important to maintain these conditions throughout the curing process to ensure the meat cures properly and does not spoil.

What are some common spices and seasonings used to flavor capocollo?

Common spices and seasonings used to flavor capocollo include black pepper, fennel seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes. The exact combination of spices used can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference.

Capocollo is typically served thinly sliced and does not require cooking. However, it can be used as a flavoring ingredient in various dishes. If using capocollo in a recipe, it should be added towards the end of the cooking process to prevent it from becoming tough.

How does the taste of capocollo differ from other cured meats like prosciutto or salami?

Capocollo has a distinct flavor that is slightly spicy and salty. It is similar in taste to prosciutto and salami but has a firmer texture and a more intense flavor.

Do you have other Charcuterie Videos?

Yes! we do, here is a list:
Want To Make Guanciale? This is How You Do It (Step by Step)
Make Lardo: The Easiest and Best-Tasting Recipe EVER!
Step by Step Cured ROLLED PANCETTA

Do you have any other videos? Yes here are our latest ones:

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.