Homemade capicola will change your life … a little dramatic? Maybe, but you’ll be happy you made it. It’s tasty as all get out and easy as pie! Let me tell you about it…
What is capicola?
Capicola is a dry cured meat covered in spices. It comes from the coppa muscle and it’s located between the head (capo) and includes the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder (collo). Or for us folks in the U.S., you’ll find it buried in a pork shoulder/butt. It’s used for it’s ratio of 30% fat and 70% lean meat.
I had a very hard time finding not only the coppa itself, but someone who knew what it was and would cut it for me. I eventually found a local grocery store that had actual butchers working. I explained what I wanted and boom! You could also ask the butcher for pork collar. That may be helpful, as not all butchers are familiar with European cuts of meat. (Shame on them!)
Anyway, finding the coppa is the hard part. The rest is just passive time and the result? It’s hard to put into words. Let me just say, the wife and I, well we do love charcuterie. A lot. But of all cured meats, capicola is our least favorite. But homemade? We cannot. get. enough. For real. It’s buttery and beautiful. I mean, look at the picture! A thing of beauty!
I used the Umai system to dry this, just as I did my dry aged ribeye. It makes it really easy and you can even get a spice kit with it. I used my own spices, which I’ll list below. It may seem pricey, but it comes with 5 bags, Instacure and juniper berries. Like I said, it does take time, but that’s all. It’s amazing to watch as this gross piece of raw pork turns into this dried, firm beautiful cured meat.
What’s gonna happen now is a little bit different than what normally happens here: I’m going to put a list of ingredients only and a video. It’s not that I want to force you to watch a video, I know some of you hate videos. It’s just a ton of information and it’s hard to put it all into words without you falling asleep, if you haven’t already.
The Scary Part of Homemade Capicola…
Now that you’ve seen that and I’ve got your juices flowing, here comes the “scary” part. I didn’t tell you up front because I knew you would leave. There’s some math involved in this. I used a 3.5 pound coppa. If your pork weighs more or less Just follow the standard ratio of Kosher salt to meat ratio of 3%. Instacure #2 to meat ratio of 0.25%.
And about the Kosher salt – salt weighs differently by the brand. For this video, I used Mortons Kosher salt. Always weigh it out on a scale using grams and not by using the teaspoon tablespoon method.
Not scared are you? You got this? You ready to impressive everyone you know and yourself with beautiful homemade capicola? Here’s what I did with the spices….
- 48 grams Kosher Salt for 3.5 pounds of meat follow the ratio stated above if you have more or less
- 30 grams sugar
- 4 grams #2 Instacure
- 2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
- 3 grams Juniper berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 gram grated nutmet
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup Paprika
- 1/4 cup Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
You can get the meat netting roll here on Amazon. It’s a size 16 and it comes with 50 feet. You don’t have to use a netting roll, but if you want it to be a nice, standard shape of capicola, you’ll want to use it. It does not effect the flavor, just the aesthetics.
24 thoughts on “Homemade Capicola”
So mine are at 36% and 32% currently. I’m also using the umai bags but want to branch out with collagen sheets( a little scared to wander away from umai). At what point do you pull the meat? I’ve heard 36-40% and want to vacuum seal it for a few months to redistribute the moisture. Thoughts?
Ran across your recipe and process, including the Umai bags and decided to try this with wild boar shoulder. Actually only took about 6 weeks to dry cure in the fridge. Obviously the shoulder is a different cut but no colla muscle on a ferrel hog. I think it came out great and will proceed with other cuts I have in the freezer. Doesn’t look like I can attach a picture
This is the recipe I used to make my first Capicola. I started it in late November and let it hang in my unheated garage over winter. I just tasted it for the first time today. Wow, is it ever tasty! The texture is firm but buttery at the same time, and the flavor is excellent. The Kashmiri chili powder and cayenne pepper bring it to life.
I have made this recipe for my Italian family and they LOVE LOVE LOVE it. And the husband’s foodie friends gave it an 8 of 10. Used the Umai bags and it did take a LONG time to cure in my fridge (4 months) but it was definitely worth the weight. Thank you Bearded Hiker! This recipe is a keeper!
Wow! Love to hear that! It is really, really good and yeah, I think it is worth the wait!
Hi what’s the curing time? And ideal temperature?
Ernesto, it’s cured in the fridge and you want to cure it until the weight is reduced by 35-40%. Watch the video, if you haven’t, it’s got all the tidbits of info you’ll need and remember – I used an Umai bag for this. If you use another method or another bag, I have no knowledge.
But if you give it a go, I would love to hear how it turns out!
Are the amounts of salt and cure #2 in your video correct, or the ones on this page? They are two different measurements. Just curious which one to use.
I will have to correct that Dan, good eyes – use the one in the video.
I thought the post and video gave great instructions – no complaints. Question – I am about half to 3/4″ way through my curing time… i dont seem to be losing any weight?? not sure if the bag is not right or if i missed on the salt amount??? thanks though for posting this… if it doesnt work for me – i’ll be trying it again.
You should be losing at least 35% of your beginning weight. Hopefully, you got a beginning weight, figure out what that minimum of 35% weight loss. Not sure if you caught it on the video, but I was figuring it would take 6-8 weeks to lose the weight, but it ended up taking me 10 weeks and 3 days to lose 40% weight. I’m not an expert, but if you reach your curing time and you’re not there yet on weight loss, go ahead and leave it longer until you achieve it. So many factors can contribute to that weight loss speed. Just make sure you’re looking at it, you know, checking for any weird growth or smells. Did you use an Umai bag or a different kind? If you went with Umai, honestly, I don’t think you can goof it up. I’ve used these bags for alot of different things and they have never failed me. Sometimes I’ve been worried, but nope, they have never failed me. (Right now I’m dry aging a brisket for 45 days…we’ll see!)
Do keep me updated on your capicola! I would to hear and see how it turns out for you! And if you have any more questions, please ask!
Thanks for the reply. So with my vacuum sealer came some bags – one side of the bag is solid plastic, the other side is dimpled. Since one side was dimpled, at the time i thought it allowed airflow but i just now tested another bag with water and it definitely does not let airflow. I did buy some dry aging collagen sheets from a sausage place before i knew the bags were coming with the sealer. The sheets though are not quite something that would look like they would seal. i was thinking i would transfer the capi to one of these sheets but i think i will just wait longer to see if anything happens. i will take another look at your video to see if you said that airflow is a requirement. i should have just bought the umai bags like you said. i will keep you updated. thanks again.
I’m really, really hating to tell you this, but I would toss it. Err on the side of caution. 3/4 of the way through in a vacuum sealer bag has not let any moisture out. If anything, I would try just the collagen sheets, though I’ve never tried that, but if it was me, I wouldn’t risk it. It has not cured without moisture being able to leave the meat. The Umai bags let moisture out but doesn’t let any in and as time goes on, it’s visible it’s not even vacuum sealed anymore because the meat has shrunk and the bag gets a little bit baggy. If you continue on with it, do please, keep me updated. There could be a chance that it works and I would love to hear about it! Many people cure meat in many different ways – lots of people tell me an Umai bag is not necessary at all, just to hang it in my basement. I live on the Gulf Coast and I am one of the very rare people that have a basement here – I certainly would not hang my meat in the basement. Waaay too much humidity for any curing and drying to take place. My point though is that hanging it in the basement works for some people. Many methods in the curing world.
no worries. yep.. i realized my mistake quickly after seeing that the bag i had it in was not an airflow bag. my fault. i then removed it from the bag, it had barely any juice in the bag. it smells fine, like the spices i put on it. i wrapped it up good with the aging collagen sheet. i might as well see what happens. i got these sheets from the sausage maker .com site and they had a few tips on there as well. i did see some blogs on hanging it just by itself without anything or in a basement – i’m not that adventurous either although it appears they’ve been doing that method for many centuries.
i might as well go for it and see what happens. i am thinking its basically been vacuum sealed but then again a vacuum sealed piece of meat or chicken will not survive for too long without freezing etc. its an experiment at this point. i an easily get more copa if i want to try it again, i’m in atlanta and got my stuff from iberianpastures . com
thanks again. i will update after this thing sits in the fridge for another 2 months.
If it were me, I would take it out of the vacuum bag And wrap it with the collagen sheets. If you know how to tie butchers twine, do it around to keep the collagen sheet in place. I’m sure the time in the vac bag is OK because you cured the meat before putting it in the bag.
thanks. yep, have done that. the sheet actually works really nicely at staying on the meat. i think if i had detected any odd or foul smells i would have just tossed it but it really didnt smell other than the spices i put on it. i appreciate it. will update when its done sometime in 7 or 8 weeks.
Update: So….. its early december and I finally decided to open her up since mid July. I was the guy who didnt have a bag that was letting air in or out at the beginning. half way through I used a collagen wrap. I wish I could send photos but after taking the collagen off – there is no discernible smell of any sort. Very hard to the touch. I sliced open one end and there is alot of fat with many deep purple reddish meat portions – that look very similar to your photo. I guess that’s a good sign. No real smell of any sort. Not really greasy either. The taste is amazing – very salty with a mix of other spice notes. I guess it worked out ok. It tastes great even though I have some underlying hesitancy due to my early on mishap. I assume since it has no smell of any sort that its ok? Since I sliced one small end open – will this end exposed piece go bad or just seal itself? I guess I am saying if I dont eat it right away it wont go bad in the next week or so I hope.
Thanks for the update…I’ve actually been wondering what happened to your hunk of meat. Did you happen to weigh it to see how much moisture it lost? I’m just curious.
I’m thinking because it is very salty, maybe the moisture loss was greater than 35-40. It’s not a problem though.
Yeah man, if there’s no smell, you’re good to go, I would say. No, it won’t go bad in the next week. You may have to slice off the end where you made it a previous slice because it might get hardish. But other than that, you’re good. It does freeze perfectly, so in a week, if you have some left, you can toss it in the freezer in a hunk or preslice it, it’ll be fine.
Thanks for the update! Glad to hear it worked out!
Yep.. I weighed it every step. So I started with a 30.4 ounce piece of meat and as we know with the sealed bag it was not loosing any weight much at all, once the collagen was used, it really started loosing at a regular interval every month. I ended up with exactly a 16 ounce piece. so that is a 50% ish reduction. I looked back at your video at the reveal and I can say I ended up with something that looked just like yours did. I guess maybe the difference – good or bad – with my whole ordeal is that my piece literally has no smell at all. Kinda wish it did. Also, its pretty darn salty/spiced – which is ok with me but might be heavy for others. So… I will enjoy and most likely try it again sometime soon. Thanks for the great recipe !!!!!
It is a pity that you do not describe what you have done, only people who speak your language understand the text, the texts can be translated using a computer, no movies.
I’m sorry Bogden, sometimes a complex process is best described visually. There is a video link at the bottom of the post. If you’re referring to the text within the video, let me see what I can do. What language do you wish to see the text in?
I like your recipes very much.
This looks delicious and perfect! I’m pretty sure you know what you’re doing! Do you make Soprasatta and Prosciutto too?
Thanks Joanne! Those are next, next round. Next round is chorizo and mettwurst! Yay!