Making Capicola

Freshly-trimmed pork loins
Sliced capicola ready to be served to friends and family.  A Salute!
  • Freshly-trimmed pork loins
  • Salted pork loin 24 hours after the initial brine
  • Washing the salted loins in red wine
  • Washing the salted loins in red wine
  • Combining the spices of black pepper, cayenne pepper & paprika
  • Rolling the pork loin in the spices, giving the meat all it will hold
  • Pushing the loin through the pipe and into the deli netting
  • Seasoned and netted prepared loin ready for hanging
  • Capicola hanging in the cool cellar for a 10-11 week cure
  • Always take a group picture to remember the CappyFest !!!
  • Capicola aging in vegetable oil
  • Capicola ready for cutting after 1 year of aging in a glass cylinder filled with vegetable oil
  • A cut section of capicola, after removing the netting, ready for thin slicing
  • Using a deli meat slicer - the thinner - the better
  • Sliced capicola ready to be served to friends and family.  A Salute!

Project Description add commentupload similar

Start with whole pork loin (not tenderloin).  The meat must never have been frozen.  The average loin weighs approximately 9-11 pounds and measures 24-28 inches long.

Cut each end of the loin so that a uniform circumference exists.  Trim off the loose strand of meat that runs along the length of the loin.  This is the portion that attached the loin to the ribs.  The result is a round and consistent loin.  Measure to the middle of the loin cutting the meat into 2 equal-length pieces.  (Consider taking the ends and trimmed pieces of meat and making fresh sausage links with it.)

Roll each loin in salt covering all surface area.  Give the meat all the salt it will take.  Place the loin upright in a plastic tub.  Depending on how many capicola you are making, line each loin up side by side filling the bucket.  Temperature here is important.  Ideally, the temperature range should be around 40 - 45 degrees F.  Higher temperatures could compromise the meat and, as mentioned previously, the loins should not become frozen.

The salt will penetrate the meat and force out the fluids, helping to preserve the loin.  Allow the loins 12 hours in this upright position.  After this time frame, simply lift and turn each loin upside down to allow the meat to remain upright once again for another 12 hours.  Do not add any additional salt during the flip.

After the 24-hour brine process, gently wash each loin by hand is a small, plastic dish tub in red wine.  This will remove any excess surface salt and brine liquid and prep the meat with a wet coating for the spices to adhere to.  The wine also adds valued flavor to the meat, as well.

Prepare a container tub that combines the spices that include black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika.  Make certain that the loins washed in wine are not overly wet, but damp.  Too much liquid on the meat will cause the spices to clump together and may trap unnecessary moisture on the surface of the hanging meat, which can cause problems.  To continue to keep the spices dry and easy to work with, add them into the container a portion at a time as you are working through the number of loins.  

Generously roll each loin, one at a time, in the container of mixed spices.  Give the meat all the spices it will take.

Cut the deli netting (size #12) into an appropriate length for each capicola, approximately 14-16 inches long.  Place the netting piece onto one end of the pvc pipe. Firmly tie the netting end with string.  Carefully slide the seasoned pork loin through the open end of the pipe slow enough for the deli netting on the other side to evenly encompass the meat as it passes through the pipe.

Add additional mixed spices to the loin once again, covering any surface areas that might have add the spices knocked off during the netting process.

Tie off with string the remaining open end of the netting that has now completely encased the pork loin.  Hang the meat in a cool room for curing.  The temperature of the cellar room should between 45-55 degrees F.  Do not allow the meat to freeze.  A little fresh air circulation is a must, keeping the humidity levels at 60% or lower and preventing mold from growing on the surface of the meat.

The capicola will need approximately 9 to 11 weeks to properly cure.  Visibly you will notice that the meat will gradually shrink a bit and begin to be firm to the squeeze.  When the capicola is done, the meat will still have a very slight squeeze left in them.  Do not allow the meat to get rock hard.  That is too dry and the result of the meat hanging too long.

After the 9-11 week cure, place the loins in a glass cylinder container filling the volume completely with vegetable oil.  The meat must be completely submerged in the oil at all times.  If you want more spice to remain on your capicola, leave the netting on the meat when placing in the storage container.  If you prefer less spice, simply remove the net prior to placing the meat under the oil.  Glass or stainless steel is the recommended for the storage container.  Do not use plastic as it will impart a compromising taste to your finished capicola.  

Store the aging capicola cylinders in a cool, dark place.  It is highly suggested that one wait approximately 10-12 months before considering to cut the capicola.  Ideally, if you have the discipline to wait, a 2-year old capicola is simply the BEST.  When cutting the capicola, a deli meat slicer is highly recommended, providing the best results for a thin, uniform slice.

Enjoy the work of human hands!

Current Rating: Maketastic! Votes: 3 | Views: 19131 | Favorited: 1 | Comments: 11

Project Comments & Questions


Psi Brr 01/16/2012

We prepare our meat much the same way as you, but we dry cure it. The finished product winds up tasting almost like a prosciutto. It has that aged ham consistency with full flavor.

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saynuk 09/20/2011


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If you're making a small quantity, you can use the refrigerator. I live in Cleveland, Ohio and our capicola is done in January. Since we make in excess of 400 pounds, I use my garage, which has a temperature range between 39 - 45 degrees during that winter month. Don't let the meat freeze and don't let it brine at room temperature.

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jymparents 05/04/2010

Joey Cannoli and friends meet annually for their "Cappy Fest". This year's theme was "Porkin" Again in 2010". Everyone pitches in to trim, season, net, and hang the cappies. Then, about ten weeks later, we meet for the "Cappy Draft". It's quite an event with lots of food, fun, and spirits. Get together a group of friends to do the same. They'll thank you for it and you will have created unique life-long memories.

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Primo Vino 01/30/2010

Good Stuff! Very informative. I always enjoy different little things guys do to acheive perfection! I ve grown up doing drying meats and making the wine, and already have my son helping out at age 4. Thanks for the info.

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