Make Spicy Capocollo in your home refrigerator

Of all the dry cured meat projects that I do, Spicy Capocollo (coppa for short) has got to my my all time favorite! It’s buttery, balanced, spicy, a little smoky, and so easy to make. Generally coppa is made under very specific parameters with controlled humidity and temperature (check out our post on how to build a dry curing chamber), but today I’m going to show you how to make it in your house refrigerator.

Making dry cured meat isn’t very complicated. We first cure the meat then we dry it. It’s literally those 2 steps. The first step (curing the meat) is all about 2 things: preserving/protecting the meat from harmful bacteria and infusing lots of flavor. The method we will be using to cure our meat is called the equilibrium cure. I really like this method as it’s not only incredibly easy to do but it’s also the most reliable and safest way to cure your meat. This method allows us to perfectly season/cure our meat without any concern of over/under salting. What’s also great about this technique is that you can work at your own pace (meaning if you can’t get to the meat immediately and it needs to sit in the fridge a few more days you don’t need to worry about it becoming too salty or over seasoned). This method is contrary to the alternative method called “Salt Boxing”. Salt boxing simply means you take a bunch of salt and encase your meat in it. Salt boxing is very unreliable and often produces a piece of meat that is extremely salty. We can talk about the 2 techniques in a different post. Once our meat has been cured we begin the process of drying.

How long should my meat cure?

Curing the meat is all about time. Once you add the necessary salt and spices you simply need to wait long enough for those spices to penetrate the meat. Our goal is to have 100% penetration. Depending on the size of your muscle will completely determine how long you leave it in your refrigerator. I found this great calculator that breaks it down for you. Click on the tab “Brining Time” and input the information. Be sure to add 20% to the answer so ensure that your cure gets fully penetrated. Bookmark this page as you will certainly find it useful when you start dry curing lots of meat

Calculator for determining how long to cure your meat

Are curing salts necessary for this recipe?

This is a tricky topic that can be quickly misunderstood so I want to tread lightly as I explain how this works. Curing salts (Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate) are added to recipes for protection against harmful bacteria, especially botulism. Botulism is a deadly bacteria that grows in anaerobic conditions (no oxygen). If you create an anaerobic environment and Clostridium botulinum spores are introduced (by contamination) they could grow to infect your dry cured meat. As an example conditions like this could exist when smoking meats at low temperatures or making salami. In the case of salami the meat is ground (this is where possible contamination could take place), it’s then stuffed tightly into a casing (this is the anaerobic environment), then hung to dry for several months. For both of these examples I would ALWAYS recommend the use of curing salts.

In the case of whole muscle curing the situation is slightly different. Freshly and properly butchered whole muscles are sterile inside and because botulism can’t grow on the outside of the muscle there is no cause for concern. With that being said there are a few things to consider when selecting a whole muscle to dry cure.

  • Try and buy the freshest possible piece you can get for your dry curing project
  • Inspect the muscle to make sure there are no knife gashes or punctures of any type

When it comes to charcuterie fresh is always better. Get to know your butcher (or the grocery store butcher) and find out when they receive fresh merchandise. More importantly though you’ll need to inspect the muscle that you plan on using to ensure that it doesn’t have any knife punctures or gashes in it. These cuts can introduce unwanted bacteria to your already sterile muscle. If you can follow these 2 pieces of advice you can safely cure your whole muscle using only salt.

So why are curing salts added to whole muscle dry curing projects if they are technically not necessary. Well, often people will add curing salt to preserve the color of the finished product or some will add curing salts to enhance the flavor. Some even add curing salts as an extra layer of protection for the “unknown”. Everyone has their own reasons. I can tell you this, if you are unsure or you don’t want to take any chances, my advice to you would be to simply add the appropriate amount of curing salt to your muscle. In the recipe below I’ve added curing salts as an optional ingredient in the event you feel like you want to add it.

Drying in your home refrigerator

Drying meats inside of your home refrigerator can be tricky because of the low humidity and high air speed. Both of these factors are almost certainly going to produce an overly dried piece of charcuterie. The trick to making this happen is having a unique wrap around our coppa that controls the moisture loss. I have used lots of different product over the past 10 years that claim to do this and the one I like the most is The Sausage Makers Dry Aging Wraps. These wraps were developed for dry aging beef but in my experiments I’ve found that they produce some pretty good charcuterie as well.

When you use these dry aging wraps, simply (and carefully) place the coppa on the sheet and begin to wrap the muscle with your dry aging sheet. As you fold the wrap around the meat you will want to press out any air pockets. Once it’s fully wrapped place the netting around the meat, weigh it, record the weight, and place it in your refrigerator till you lose the appropriate amount of weight. I like 35% for this recipe. That’s it!!

I hope you enjoy this week’s video and recipe. If you give this a go be sure to let me know how your came out and if you have any questions ask away in the comment section below.

Here are a few things you might find useful when making this recipe

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!

If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.

2 Guys & A Cooler Amazon Storefront

Print Recipe
4.72 from 21 votes

Easy to make Spicy Capocollo (Coppa)

Cured Pork Shoulder
Prep Time1 hr
drying/curing time35 d
Total Time35 d 1 hr
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Meat

  • 1000 g Coppa Muscle

OPTIONAL

  • 2.5 g Insta Cure #2 this is only for color and flavor enhancement. If you add cure reduce the salt level by how ever much cure is added

Materials

  • dry aging wraps this is the wrap you'll be using to dry this in your home refrigerator

Instructions

  • Weigh your coppa muscle and type the weight in the box above that reads "How much do you want to make?"
  • Combine all of the "cure" ingredients and rub them onto your meat. Be sure to include 100% of all the cure spices. You don't want to leave any spices behind. Place the meat (and any spices that are left in the tray) in a bag and vacuum seal it (or a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible).
  • Once your meat has been vac sealed place it in your refrigerator for 7-21 days (depending on the size). Be sure to turn and massage the meat daily.
  • After the appropriate amount of time in the refrigerator the coppa has been cured and you can remove it from the fridge. Blot the muscle dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle the meat with a little wine or water to create a slightly wet surface.
  • Place the cured coppa in the middle of a Dry Aging Sheet and gently fold each side over the coppa trying to remove as much air bubbles out as possible. Trim off any excess.
  • Once you wrap your coppa in the dry aging sheets (try to get as much air out as possible), place the net around it, weigh the muscle, record the weight, and place it to dry in your refrigerator. Make sure that it is on a grating or hanging so that there's air flow on all sides.
  • Once you lose 33% – 35% weight your dry cured coppa is finished. Slice thinly and enjoy.

Storage instructions

  • Take your coppa and give it a vinegar or wine wash (to remove any molds), then place the uncut piece in a vac sealed bag and vacuum seal it. Store it in your refrigerator. It will be good for up to a year.

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76 thoughts on “Make Spicy Capocollo in your home refrigerator

  1. carnicería Miranda
    carnicería Miranda

    5 stars
    soy nuevo suscriptor, es muy interesante su trabajo.

  2. Phil Liew
    Phil Liew

    Hi Eric, Thanks for this recipe. I have been following your YouTube channel and have learnt lots. I just prepared a 1.6 kg of pork cut and is presently curing in the fridge. I shall comeback with the results after 35 days dry aged following curing of 10 days.

  3. Tomek
    Tomek

    What a great idea to make this at home!
    Are there any cheaper or easily available alternatives to the dry aging wraps? With international shipping they’re almost $50.
    As a Pole living in Poland I am so happy to see you have recipes for popular Polish cured meats, kielbasa and krakowska are real staples here, I am looking forward to trying them out and comparing them with our local products.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Thank you. I al working on other techniques to see if we can make dry cured products even easier in the refrigerator. I love a good polish sausage. Just make Kapusniak this week. SO GOOD!!!

    2. Johannes S. Herbst
      Johannes S. Herbst

      In Europe/Germany there are dry curing bags available which can be vacuum sealed.

    3. Ryszard
      Ryszard

      Hi Tomek and hi to everyone,
      Not a problem in Poland: https://vacus.pl/42-worki-do-dojrzewanie-miesa.
      Regards/pozdrawiam,
      Ryszard

  4. Kevin O'Neill
    Kevin O'Neill

    Hi ya.
    Was very happy when I found your show on YouTube.
    I went to Amazon to look for the Dry aging steak wraps but nothing’s currently available.
    Q. I’m thinking trying of using sushi wrappers. Your thoughts? Stupid?
    Living in the Philippines.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I just checked on amazon and i guess they restocked their inventory.. Very interesting about sushi paper. You’ll have to let me know if that works.

    2. Leslie Johnson
      Leslie Johnson

      5 stars
      Do sushi wrappers equal nori seaweed?

      1. Eric
        Eric

        @Leslie yes, nori and sushi wrappers are the same material. I actually have a pork loin curing right now in sushi wraps to see what happens. Hopefully in a month I’ll find out😁

        1. Dave Ruzicka
          Dave Ruzicka

          Eric, I just stumbled onto this feed after googling homemade capocollo today.

          Did your nori/sushi wrappers work? I too find the dry aging bags a little cost prohibitive…but am willing to explore the options with my pork loins. Interesting approach.

          Dave

          1. Eric
            Eric

            The nori worked but added a very seaweed flavor to the meat. The rice paper seemed to have worked but on further testing I found it to be too inconsistent..

  5. Omar de Vanssay
    Omar de Vanssay

    Eric
    Hi from Argentina!
    I’ve seen almost every video of yours, I think. You have a really excellent channel.
    I wanted to ask you something regarding the Dry Aging Wraps.
    Here in Argentina (and for what I see in the comments, a lot of other places as well) we cant get those kind of wraps.
    But we have a microporous plastic sheet to make our Bondiola (very similar to Capocollo, I believe!), which is very similar to cellophane (but not equal).
    Could this microporous work the same as your dry aging wraps?
    Thank you in advance, for your answer, and for your future videos, which I will definitively see.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      If you are able to make Bondiola with those sheets then I’m pretty sure you can make this recipe. Could you send me a link so that I can see what they look like..

      1. Omar de Vanssay
        Omar de Vanssay

        Great!
        I will try it then and tell you how it went.
        Here is a link for you to explore.

        https://articulo.mercadolibre.com.ar/MLA-926465538-papel-microperforado-20-unidades-para-bondiola-10-metros-red-_JM

        I didn’t find almost anything related to food industry usage, except the technical name, which is PT300.

        1. Eric
          Eric

          Yes. IT looks like that would work for this project.

          1. Omar de Vanssay
            Omar de Vanssay

            Will try and comment here the results!
            Thank you!

          2. Andrew
            Andrew

            This is really interesting, and much less expensive than the dry age wraps. I’d love to see if you can get your hands on some and try it out!

  6. Colby Campbell
    Colby Campbell

    Hello,

    I completed this recipe. Starting weight 1.36kg after 10 days in the fridge to dry curr it weighed 834g. I took it out of the wrap and started to slice it, but it was still a little raw and chewy in the middle. Is this how it is supposed to be or should I re-wrap it and let it dry some more?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hey Colby. Lots of charcuterie comes down to personal preference. Some people like these cuts to be quite soft and others would rather them to be more firm. It is intended to be rather soft. If it’s cut very thinly and i mean super thin the piece almost melts in your mouth. If you want it more firm I would rewrap and place it back into the fridge. Out of curiosity did you use the wraps from this video or something different. 10 days seems super fast for a 3 pound coppa…. I’d love a picture of your finished product as well if you could email one to me. eric@twoguysandacooler.com

      1. Colby Campbell
        Colby Campbell

        I did use the wraps that you recommended. I used your link to purchase them through Amazon. I did not use the same cut of meat as you recommended. I used what I had which much less fat marble as your photo. I wrapped it in cheese cloth this time and will continue to check it. I will send you photos of before slicing and after. My slicer does not slice as thin as you recommend.

  7. Paul Dumais
    Paul Dumais

    4 stars
    I made this recipe and let the Capaco1a lose 35% of it weight. When I cut into it it was not done yet. What can I do since I removed the the drying sheet and cut it.
    Is there a way to continue to dry it?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Hey Paul. At 35% weight loss it’s totally done. Are you saying that you prefer it to have a more firm texture? If so you can wrap in a couple layers of softened rice paper or cheese cloth (in a pinch) then place it back in the fridge to lose more weight.

  8. Allan
    Allan

    Is there a way to determine nutritional values?

  9. Taylor
    Taylor

    I’m really looking forward to trying this one! I have a wine cooler which I’m trying to use as my chamber for curing meats, cheeses, etc. because I have room to hang unlike the home fridge. The temperature is warmer than the home fridge; can I still do this recipe?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      yes. 13c (55f) should work well. If you can have high humidity it would be even better (80%)

  10. erol tarhan
    erol tarhan

    5 stars
    Hi Eric,
    Is there any beef substitute for coppa that I can work with this recipe?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      not really. The beef cut that’s used most often is eye of round but it’s nothing like the coppa cut from a pork. Still delicious just not as much fat..

      1. erol tarhan
        erol tarhan

        roger that. thanks a lot.

  11. Libier Bermudez
    Libier Bermudez

    Hi Erick, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with all of us. Last night I seasoned my coppa and also a roast loin (experimenting with that cut) and I added 20% more of salt and spices to the rub. I realized that after I sealed them in the bags. Should I adjust the brine time by 20% less or should I open the bags, rinse the meats and redo the process?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Great question. I’ve never done that. You could rinse the meat and redo the process. That would be the safe bet.

  12. mick
    mick

    5 stars
    i cannot find where you say what size meat netting you use. 8? 10? 12? 14?
    grazie

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I think it’s a #16. It came with the pack of dry aging sheets..

      1. mick
        mick

        5 stars
        16, wow, seems large, but ur the guy. thanks 4 the inspiration

  13. Gizz
    Gizz

    Hi Eric,
    I have been an avid follower of all the video’s you make and this one really struck a chord and I came upon it just in time to get a coppa ready for Xmas. As a european it was a bit of a search for the dry aging sheets, but all went well and today I opened up a beautifully cured and aged coppa, ready for consumption! Really happy with the result, the fam had a first taste and it was a hit all around. Couldn’t have done it without you, thanks for the inspiration!

    (now eyeing the smoked garlic sausage recipe, hmmmm 😉

    1. Eric
      Eric

      NICE!!! Congratulations!! Can’t wait to hear about the next project..

  14. Kevin Nelson
    Kevin Nelson

    My meat is cured now. Should I rinse off the salts before apply the spices for the second stage?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You can. I normally don’t rinse it off. Actually I add all of my spices during the first step, then (once cured) wrap with a sheet and begin the drying process

  15. Ray
    Ray

    Hi Eric,what type of shelf life would you give the vac capocollo,Thx Ray

  16. Tim
    Tim

    They don’t seem to have those sheets on Amazon.
    Will Collagen sheets work ? are they not the same?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Try this: https://amzn.to/3FBZbp5
      The collagen sheets are not the same..

  17. Mike
    Mike

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks so much for the wealth of knowledge you are passing on!
    As a child I helped my father make capicoli and sopresata and fresh Calabrian sausage. We never used nitrate/nitrites to preserve. We essentially made our fresh sausage……took some of the already salted and seasoned meat and added more salt, so much that it was too salty for fresh sausage but enough to cure the meat.
    We hung or pressed depending on what we were making in our “Cantina”, a cool dark room in the basement. Always worked out well. However, I do see the potential risk.
    Traditionally we used the bury the coppa in salt and wash with wine method followed by casing sticks and hanging method.
    I really like your method with the brining in the fridge wrapping it and netting it!
    Can I also use that method and your calculator but omitting the seasoning but keeping the salt in the recipe?

  18. Konrad
    Konrad

    Hi. I have a question I did a capoollo as per your video. The meat tastes great but there is no aging aroma ( prosciutto aroma) at all. What went wrong ?what is responsible for that aroma?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      The aging aroma comes from the bacterial activity that happens as it dries in slightly elevated temperatures. In a refrigerator you won’t get that..

      1. Johann
        Johann

        Hi Eric – for those of us drying in the fridge, and going to Konrad’s question – after curing and drying, is the capocollo room temperature stable (if sealed in a vacuum bag)?

        I’m wondering if it is RT stable, maybe we can get more of that nice aged flavor after the drying is complete by letting it sit at room temperature for 2-3 weeks?

        This assumes one can avoid the temptation to eat it right away, of course. Mine is at 70% after 30 days and the rate of moisture loss is slowing daily, so it’s getting really hard to wait! (Loss was averaging about 2.2%/day first week, about 1.6%/day the following week, and at this point is just under 1% per day – so I’ve still got 6-7 days to wait.)

        1. Eric
          Eric

          Once the meat has been dried the bacterial activity is greatly reduced. Flavor development usually happens when the water activity is much higher. With that being said there could be a chance that the flavor will be affected.

  19. Erik Goodroad
    Erik Goodroad

    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for the recipe and tutorial. I would like to know your thoughts on any experiments you may have run using collagen wraps as opposed to the vegetable based wraps you used in this recipe.

    All the best,
    Erik

    1. Erik Goodroad
      Erik Goodroad

      Apologies, just read the reply above.

  20. Matt
    Matt

    Eric,
    I am going to try this for my first dry cure attempt. I am going to hang it in a converted fridge (thanks for the step by step video). Are the dry cure wraps you use required if ageing in a chamber? If I put the meat in a net after the curing process would they yield the same results?

    Thanks!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Cool. Very exciting. If you are hanging it in a chamber you will want to wrap ot in either a natural casing (like a beef bung) or some sort of synthetic casing. I personally like “collagen sheets” from the sausage maker but pretty much any casing would work. As an aside, I’m not a super huge fan of cheese cloth as it won’t produce optimal results, but in a pinch it’ll work

  21. Vee
    Vee

    Hey Eric, is it the end of the world if I forgot to massage for a minute before sealing for brining? I kinda just rubbed it on and made sure it was coated and then tried to make sure the rest that was left (more than you had) was evenly distributed in the bag though once sealed you do notice the spots with the excess rub.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It’s no problem. Rubbing helps distribute it more evenly but if you forgot, that’s ok too

      1. Vee
        Vee

        Thanks for the reply Eric! One last thing, I know they are not needed for whole cuts, but I kinda wanted to have that slight extra safety however I only had instacure#1 and used the amounts listed (subtracting the equivalent amount of salt) for instacure #2. Will this be a problem? I know normally they can’t be exchanged for one another but figured worse case it won’t have much of an antibacterial affect as #2 so should be ok?

        Thanks!

        1. Eric
          Eric

          In this very specific situation it’s ok. The reason is because rthis cut technically doesn’t need a cure to dry safely. If you were making a salami though I would advise against it. Perhaps getting a small pack of Cure#2 might be on the short list of things to buy😉

          1. Vee
            Vee

            Yessir it’s on the list! Thank you!!

  22. Johan
    Johan

    5 stars
    Thank you! I have not made this yet but I’m still giving it 5-stars because after watching the YT video I’m shocked at how easy this will be to make one of my favorites at home. The only meats I’ve made are corned beef/pastrami and a few ground & cured sausages (e.g. “Slim Jim” type stuff).

    One question – I have a dedicated refrigerator in the basement (no one gets into it but me) that I dry age beef in, and I generally dry age the beef unwrapped. With such a setup, could one simply place the coppa on a cooling wrack and dry it unwrapped? Or do the wraps retard water loss to a certain extent, such that unwrapped it would lose water way too fast?

    Thanks again.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      That is correct. If you place it unwrapped it would basically lose water too fast forming a thick pellicle around the muscle. The idea is to have it dry nice and even.. The wraps help. Sometimes people use cheese cloth but I’m not a super fan of the results,

      1. Johan
        Johan

        Many thanks for taking the time to respond, Eric. I’m already into this current process so I will use cheesecloth moistened daily for the current piece. But I’ve also ordered the wraps from Amazon for the future attempts at this and many more!

        Thanks again!

        Johan

        1. Eric
          Eric

          Cool. Let me know how it turns out.

  23. Andrew
    Andrew

    Hi Eric
    2 things
    I’m about 3 weeks away from getting my first Cappocolla out of the (domestic) fridge. I’ve had it lying on a wire rack for air to circulate and I can’t wait for the results. However despite wrapping in a UMAI dry aging bag and then the latticed butcher’s sleeve the whole muscle has flattened out considerably…. and I guess that can’t be avoided unless you hang the thing somehow but that’s difficult in a standard home fridge!
    Secondly – can all whole muscle joints be done using this method?
    Love the enthusiasm and delivery of your videos – keep up the fantastic work.
    Andrew

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Yeah. A netting does seem to help but they will eventually flatten a bit. No worries..
      Yes. All whole muscles can be done like this. Thanks for the comment!!

  24. Vee
    Vee

    Hey Eric me again 😁.

    Was wondering if I could get your opinion, I have my coppa drying right now and used the dry aging wraps, currently in my fridge:
    starting weight : 2588g
    After 14 days: 2084g

    Does that seem like a normal progression of weight loss? My target would be 1682g, if it’s too fast what Can I do to slow it down?

    Thanks!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      It does seem a little fast. If you have a cripser in your refrigerator , that might be an option to slow down the drying..

  25. Toni
    Toni

    5 stars
    This came out perfect!!!

    1. Eric
      Eric

      NICE!!!! Congratulations!! This is one of my absolute favorite pieces of charcuterie.

  26. Andrew
    Andrew

    Hi Eric
    After getting excited with the prospect of getting my first Coppa done I’ve just seen that there is a white mould forming on the meat – it is generally small white spots but appears to be spreading quite a bit. Given that I’m doing this with the UMAI dry-aging bag will this just be a case of washing the Coppa in vinegar or is it now not safe to eat? I’m also a little conscious of other fridge items too….
    Andrew

    1. Eric
      Eric

      You can just wash it off with vinegar and it will be ok to eat once it finishes drying..

      1. Andrew
        Andrew

        Thanks Eric – I’ll let you know how it comes out!

  27. Shelley M
    Shelley M

    4 stars
    I say 4 star because I altered the recipe for 3 of the 4 coppas. Started cure Jan 20, wrapped in collagen sheets and netted about day 25 due to time issues… just weighed them today (April 19th) and 2 are at 35% loss, two still need a bit more time, conventional fridge as the food safety gurus will not allow them hanging in my walk-in as it’s not dedicated. Slight case hardening but will be rinsed and chamber sealed for a while to equalize… then we shall see. I have a livestock farm and meat processing license so I have a load of pork, beef and lamb as well as poultry going through here.

  28. Kenyon
    Kenyon

    5 stars
    This was my first attempt at charcuterie it took a full month to reach its 35% weight loss but time sure makes things better, this was wonderful and I will happily jump down that rabbit hole now that I have had success.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      NICE!!!!! That’s great to hear!

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