If you like to indulge in exotic cheeses and wines, not to mention some excellent prosciutto, you are going to find delight in making some homemade capocollo in the comforts of your kitchen. So, put away your passport because you don’t have to fly to Italy to taste this delicious, meticulously prepared, slowly cured meat.
Capicollo is also known as coppa, capicola, or capicollo, so don’t get confused if you hear its other nicknames. Capocollo is the same cut of meat that is made from the upper portion of a pig’s neck and shoulder. Salt is then massaged into the meat before it is stuffed in a natural beef casing, seasoned with different spices, and aged for a couple of months.
If you’ve never done something like this before, don’t worry, because there’s a first time for everyone. Also, put your favorite cookware back in the cupboard, because there is no use for even the most durable ceramic cookware in this no-cook procedure. All you’ll need are the meat, some spices, a refrigerator, and a lot of patience and time.
First, you’ll need to prepare the following ingredients:
- 5.5 lbs of Pork Neck
- 5 Tablespoons Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon #2 Prague Powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon Black Pepper
- 1/4 Tablespoon Juniper Berries
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg (ground)
Once you have everything prepared, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Step 1: Get all the dry ingredients together, including the Prague Powder, bay leaves, salt, sugar, nutmeg, juniper berries and black peppercorns.
Step 2: Use a grinder to crush the juniper berries, black peppercorns and bay leaves. In case you do not have a grinder, you can use the side of a knife to crush them.
Step 3: Mix the crushed spices with the other powder ingredients and mix them well. Feel free to add other spices according to your taste. For instance, you can add cayenne pepper or crushed chili pepper for an added kick.
Step 4: Take the pork neck and roll it tightly lengthwise. Once it’s completely rolled, use some butcher’s twine to tie the pork neck in a firm position.
Such a method is done to help maintain the shape of the roll. You’ll notice a capicollo is rolled correctly if you see an even distribution of meat and fat when you slice it across the grain.
Transfer the meat into a roasting tray and then put the curing mixture in an even manner all around the meat. Keep patting the powder mixture all over the meat until you have covered it entirely.
Put the prepared meat inside a vacuum bag that has been turned inside out in the middle. When the meat is inside, unfold it again, so it closes. Use a vacuum seal packer to seal it securely.
Place the sealed meat inside the refrigerator for seven days so it can cure.
After seven days in the refrigerator, remove the pork from inside the bag. Rinse it through with cold water, and then use a paper towel to dry it.
Put the pork neck on a clean board and rub the meat with paprika.
Position the meat on the rack and let it age for about six weeks at a 57°F to 65°F and 60 to 70% humidity.
After a few weeks, you’ll notice that a crust will begin to form. The crusting is a normal part of the curing process, so don’t worry. Once the six weeks have passed, you can now remove the strings from the homemade capocollo and start slicing. You can use a sharp knife or a machine for thinner slices. You’ll be amazed at the fantastic color and aroma the meat has absorbed from all the spices.
Note that you’ll appreciate the flavor of this meat more if the slices are thinner. You’ll be able to get a better sense of its texture and aroma.
You can prepare the homemade capocollo by making a DIY charcuterie board with a variety of cheeses, dried fruits, nuts, olives, and bread. Match it with an excellent selection of red wine, and the next thing you know, you’re already hosting a dinner party for friends. You can even turn this meat curing hobby into a little side business. After all, once you prepare the meat, all you have to do is wait for it to cure.
You’ll be surprised that you can do the capocollo in your very own kitchen. It’s not the easiest or quickest recipe to take on, but some things are just worth the wait. In fact, there are several mouthwatering recipes you can recreate in your own home. There’s no need to go out to a fancy restaurant if you can make these succulent dishes yourself.