Capicola is a traditional Italian antipasto which is a cured pork shoulder meat that may hold your heart because of its spicy, fatty, salty and rich flavor. It can be a great snack along with cheese, crusty bread and condiments.
The good thing is that you can make capicola at home in spite of the complex and difficult process.
Table of Contents
If you’re planning to make a homemade capicola, you need to prepare the following ingredients:
- 5 lbs. pork neck
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 5 tbsps. Salt
- ½ tbsp. black pepper, cracked
- 1 tbsp. Prague powder
- ¼ tbsp. Juniper berries, crushed
- ½ tsp. nutmeg, crushed
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
Steps in Making Homemade Capicola
- Meat preparation
First thing to do is to look for whole pork loin, take note not the tenderloin. The meat should not be frozen. The average length of the loin is 24 to 28 inches. Make a uniform circumference by cutting both ends of the loin.
The loose strand of the meat should be trimmed off to achieve a consistent round loin. Cut the loin into 2 equal parts.
- Brine process
After preparing the meat, the next step is the brine process. Roll each piece of loin in salt and make sure that all surface is covered with salt. Let the loin set up right side by side in a bucket.
In this process, it is important to consider the right temperature ranging from 40 to 45°F. Higher temperature should be avoided otherwise it will compromise the quality of the meat.
As the salt is absorbed into the meat, the fluids will come out and this is the proper way of preserving the loin. Keep the loin in an upright position for 12 hours and turn the loin upside down and let it sit in the same position for another 12 hours.
- Capicola preparation
After 24 hours of brine process, you should wash each loin using red wine to remove the excess salt and brine liquid in the surface. Likewise, the red wine can add flavor to the meat.
In a tub, prepare the spices including cayenne, black pepper and paprika. The meat should not be overly wet, but it should be damp. Otherwise, the presence of too much liquid can make the spices to form together. It can also trap moisture that can cause issues to the hanging meat.
The spices must be dry all throughout the process. Roll each loin in the mixed spices one at a time. This way, the spices will be absorbed into the meat.
Prepare the deli netting and cut it 14 to 16 inches long size enough for each capicola. Tie the netting end firmly and place it on one end of the pvc pipe. Insert slowly the seasoned loin onto the open end of the deli netting.
Hang the meat in the cellar room with a temperature from 45 to 55°F to prevent freezing. There should be fresh air circulating in the room and maintain 60% humidity level to prevent mold to grow on the surface. It takes 9-11 weeks to cure the meat.
- Aging process
After the curing week, place the cured meat inside a glass container filled with vegetable oil. See to it that the meat is submerged completely in the oil. You can retain the deli netting if you want to preserve the spice, otherwise you can remove the net.
During the aging process, the capicola cylinder should be stored in a dark, cool place. The suggested aging process should last to 12 months. This will give you the best taste of capicola ever.
Serving Your ‘Capocollo’
It is best to serve capicola once it is well-aged. But, if you can’t wait that long time of aging process, you can serve it after the curing weeks have lapsed.
Cutting the roll of meat will reveal the firm texture and beautifully colored meat and amazing aroma.
You can slice the meat thinly manually or using a machine. To enjoy better flavor and texture, you should slice the meat thinner.
Curing meat would take a long time, but tasting the rich-flavored capicola is rewarding and worth-waiting. That’s why it is recommended to look for different options of curing and aging process that will give you the best quality of capicola.