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Coppa, Capicola, Gabagool whatever you call it

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pitrow View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 February 2016 at 16:50
So this is my first foray into more advanced charcuterie than bacon. So far so good.

Back in October I ordered some UMAI dry bags, since I don't have a curing chamber to do this stuff in. I started off by cutting the "money muscle" from two pork butts.

I weighed them out and measured the correct amount of cure/pink salt along with the other spices.
Sugar, garlic, fresh thyme, juniper berries and possibly some more. Can't remember now. Should have written it down.

the cure and spice were applied and each unit was vacuum sealed. I wrote the starting weight and start and finish date on each bag so I wouldn't forget Wink


Then they went into the fridge to cure. Massaged and rotated almost every day (ok, when I remembered!!) Three weeks later they were done curing so I took them out, rinsed off all the cure and dried them off. I gave them a good coating of paprika with a little bit of cayenne mixed in. I went a little too heavy with the coating, but in the end it came out ok, it's a learning experience ya know? I attempted to truss them up so that they'd hold a rounder shape, but that failed miserably, lol. Definitely need some work on my trussing skills. Anyway, into the UMAI bags they went. No problems there.

Now, as I said above, I put way too much rub on them, so the bags didn't properly adhere to the surface of the meat, but it doesn't seem to have affected anything. The meat shrank away from the bag but it still came out ok without any case hardening, so I guess it's all good. So far I'm liking the UMAI bags. Anyway, they went into the top back corner of my fridge where no one but me can see anything. I set them on a small cooling rack so they'd get airflow all around them, and rotated and flipped them every so often. Hardest part was keeping the kids from throwing stuff on top of them.

This weekend the smaller of the two hit 35% weight loss finally, and I just couldn't resist cutting into it. Pretty damn good looking, despite the huge vein of fat running through it.

I say despite the fat, because honestly, I'm not that big of a fan of the fat. It has that nice melt in your mouth texture and buttery flavor that everyone wants, but I just can't quite get myself to like it. I do however love the meaty portions of it. I'm hoping that as I get further into it the fat will decrease some. and I'm really curious to see how the other one turns out. I might let that one go to 40% weight loss and see how it does.

Anyway, I'd say not too shabby for my first attempt at dried, cured meats.

Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2016 at 17:51
nicely done...thanks for the tutorial!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2016 at 19:10
Whatever you call it, huh? Around here we call it 'cottage bacon' though the spice mixture is usually limited to the cure and black pepper. When the local abattoir changed hands a few years ago, they quit making it so I started making my own. I had been making my own corned beef and pastrami for a couple years so the switch to cured pork shoulder wasn't a big stretch. I've had one in the fridge for a week and a day that I'll smoke this weekend. Not so familiar with 'coppa, capicola, gabagool.' Are they usually smoked? Are there spice mixtures particular to them? What cure do you use? I rely on Morton's Tenderquick--one T. per lb., cure time--one week per inch of thickness.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2016 at 19:17
Very nicely done, Mike - I've heard of these UMAI bags, but don't know much about them at the moment. That might have to change, as I start messing with this pg that we now have in the freezer.

I love that marbling, and those slices look like a bit of Heaven to me. Beautiful colour in the meat, and the "rub" looks just right to me - but I always over-do it. I personally like the irregular shape, but with a little more practice, you'll get the tying down, I am sure. I am still learning, too ~

Bravo! And I appreciate your posting this ~ Beer

Suggestion: To me, curing meat should be about what YOU like, rather than about following rules; with that I say, if you don't like the fat, use a different cut with less fat! I know that it's "supposed" to be made from a certain cut, but the truth is that the reason for that is so that it has the fat in it. Bottom line: a pig is a pig, and the pig ain't gonna know or care if you break a "rule" or two. Might even be worth it to try it with loin - no fat there, but the spices should come through very well!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2016 at 20:58
Originally posted by Tom Kurth Tom Kurth wrote:

Whatever you call it, huh? Around here we call it 'cottage bacon' though the spice mixture is usually limited to the cure and black pepper. When the local abattoir changed hands a few years ago, they quit making it so I started making my own. I had been making my own corned beef and pastrami for a couple years so the switch to cured pork shoulder wasn't a big stretch. I've had one in the fridge for a week and a day that I'll smoke this weekend. Not so familiar with 'coppa, capicola, gabagool.' Are they usually smoked? Are there spice mixtures particular to them? What cure do you use? I rely on Morton's Tenderquick--one T. per lb., cure time--one week per inch of thickness.


Slightly different stuff we're taking about here. Basically the same thing, but after your bacon is done curing, this then takes that and dries it out. Typically that's done in curing chamber where temp and humidity are controlled so the outside doesn't dry out too fast and get rock hard, called case hardening. But since a lot of people don't have a curing chamber, there are these UMAI dry bags, that let the moisture out at a controlled rate without letting the nasties in and simulating the higher humidity of a curing chamber. They can also be used to dry age steaks. Good product if you ask me.

As far as spices, cures, etc. go everyone seems to have a different recipe but from what I saw juniper berries were pretty standard in all of them. For the cure, since it's a longer cure you'd use cure #2. Tender quick would also work in this situation since it has elements of both cure #1 and #2, but it's harder to control the salt content.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capicola
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 February 2016 at 21:06
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

Very nicely done, Mike - I've heard of these UMAI bags, but don;t know much about them at the moment. That might have to change, as I start messing with this pg that we now have in the freezer.

I love that marbling, and those slices look like a bit of Heaven to me. Beautiful colour in the meat, and the "rub" looks just right to me - but I always over-do it. I personally like the irregular shape, but with a little more practice, you'll get the tying down, I am sure. I am still learning, too ~

Bravo! And I appreciate your posting this ~ Beer

Suggestion: To me, curing meat should be about what YOU like, rather than about following rules; with that I say, if you don't like the fat, use a different cut with less fat! I know that it's "supposed" to be made from a certain cut, but the truth is that the reason for that is so that it has the fat in it. Bottom line: a pig is a pig, and the pig ain't gonna know or care if you break a "rule" or two. Might even be worth it to try it with loin - no fat there, but the spices should come through very well!


Thanks Ron, I definitely suggest trying the dry bags. They're not overly expensive and seem to work pretty good. I think I'm going to try some died salami in them next. As for the cut of meat, Richtee suggested I try to find some smaller butts as they tend to be less fatty. I just used run of the mill butts from the grocery store for this so I'm definitely going to try to find a better source. Maybe even some heritage pork. Or I'll try lomo/lonzino which are made from the tenderloin/loin and wouldn't be fatty at all. But I'm afraid with virtually no fat they'd be too dry. We'll see what I end up doing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2016 at 16:54
So, this is more like a dry salami or old-fashioned summer sausage? Or maybe a dry-cured ham?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 February 2016 at 17:24
Of the three you've mentioned, Tom, I'd say that it is most like a dry-cured ham, with different seasonings. I say this because it is a solid hunk of meat. The main thing about it is the blend of spices used and the fact that it is dry-aged over time to a certain point of weight loss.

Mike will correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think that capicola is normally smoked, although I certainly wouldn't turn it down if it was. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 February 2016 at 09:37
I'd say it most closely resembles prosciutto, just from a more fatty cut. Prosciutto comes from the hind leg, where this comes from the neck/shoulder area. But the processing of the two is similar, which is also similar to a country ham, just the spices used differ.

I've never heard of one being smoked, but it sure sounds good to me, maybe I'll try that on the next one.
Mike
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