Hot Capicola

While it’s not a true ham, because it’s made from the shoulder or neck of a pig rather than the leg, capicola is ham like. It’s distinctive flavor is defined by the rub––red pepper is used to make a hot capicola––black pepper is used to make a mild capicola. The following dry-cure formula was given to me by a fellow beef boner while I was employed at Conti Packing in Rochester, New York about 43 years ago. See even more recipes in the Sausage And Jerky Makers' Bible.

5 lbs pork butt coppa (2.27 kg)
1/3 cup pickling salt (102 g)
1 tsp Prague Powder # 2 (5.7 g)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (1.1 g)
1 tsp cloves, ground (2.7 g)
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (3.3 g)
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder (7.75 g)
1 tbsp Spanish paprika (7.2 g)
3 1/4 tbsp coarse black pepper (25.2 g)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (116 g)

Rub Ingredients:
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (3.3 g)
1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, packed (22 g)
1 1/2 tbsp Spanish paprika (10.8 g)
beef bung
elastic netting

1. Trim excess fat from the outside of the butt, refrigerate at 36-40°F (2-4°C).
2. Mix together salt, Prague Powder #2, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and sugar.
3. Rub half of the mixture into surface of the coppa, place in Ziploc bag, refrigerate 9 days, turning bag over every other day.
4. After 9 days, rub second half of mixture into surface of the meat, cover, refrigerate an additional 9 days, turn every other day.
5. Remove butt from refrigerator, rinse away excess salt/cure that may have formed on the surface of the butt; air dry 2-3 hours.
6. Mix together cayenne pepper, brown sugar and Spanish paprika, rub mixture into all surfaces of the meat.
7. Stuff butt into beef bung, tie one end, slip encased butt into elastic netting, tie, leaving enough string to make a hanging loop.
8. Hang capicola 18 days at 55-59°F (13-15°C) at 70-80% relative humidity.

Cut a piece of ham netting slightly longer than the seasoned coppa and slide it over the end of a 4” (10.2 cm) x 12” (30 cm) piece of clean PVC pipe, tie a knot into the end of the netting. Push the loin through the open of the pipe to allow the netting to wrap around the meat as it passes through.

When it’s done right, the end result is a ruby-red piece of cured meat embedded in clean, white fat with a depth of flavor comparable to the best prosciutto.

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