Capicola Spices

Capicola Spices – What To Use And How To Make It

Capicola is a spiced sausage made with just the right amount of spice. It’s cured and flavorful. Because it’s cured and spiced, this Italian treat has an unmatched taste. In addition to buying capicola at the store, you can also make it yourself at home. The process of making capicola may not be the same as that used by butcher shops, however you can make it yourself with pork shoulder or similar cuts of meat.

What are capicola spices? There are a variety of herbs and spices with a bold flavor, but the most common flavors are garlic and paprika. Our guide will explain what to use and how to use it so that you can make your own capicola or just capicola spices if you prefer. You can take more than one approach, but this guide should give you a basic understanding of your options. Learn more about capicola spices – what to use and how to prepare them.

What Is Capicola? 

Firstly, let’s look at what capicola is.

There are several different names for capicola, including capocollo, salumi, gabagool, and even cup. It is made from pork, usually a pork shoulder, and then seasoned, married, and cured.

Smoking or slow roasting the meat is also a popular way to prepare it because it has a smoky flavor and spices that make it utterly delicious.

As with sausage links or summer sausage, capicola is usually cured and smoked.

It’s not the same as summer sausage, but it might be packaged and served similarly. If you make capicola at home, you probably won’t stuff it into a casing and you probably won’t cure it for 6 months either.

Spiced meat like this is intended as a cold cut. Once it’s been prepared appropriately, it’s sliced thinly and then used similarly to cured meats like ham and lunchmeat. The main difference is that this meat isn’t brined.

Traditionally, capicola is made by curing the meat before eating or serving it; if you wish to make it more simply, you can simply put the spices on a piece of meat for a similar flavor.

The good news is that there are also recipes out there for “quick curing” the meat and that’s where our focus will be.

What Spices Are Used For Capicola?

Although you might find different recipes and recommendations for the types of spices that can be used, there are traditional spices that are used more often than any other combination. If you search for a recipe, you’ll find several options.

The process is the same, but the measurements for herbs and spices may differ. Feel free to adjust any herbs or spices to your own tastes.

These measurements are recommended for pork shoulders weighing between 2-5 pounds, or similar meat.

Those measurements are based on a cut of meat that weighs around 5 pounds. Some people use pork loin, which is round and easy to work with.

To calculate the ratio of salt and other spices you might need, you can also use some formulas.

The following spices should be used for curing a 5-pound slab of meat:

  • Approximately 5 tablespoons of kosher salt or sea salt

  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon

  • Black pepper, 12 tablespoons

  • 14 tbsp juniper berries

  • Nutmeg, 12 tsp

  • Paprika, 14 teaspoons

  • Cayenne pepper, 14 tsp

  • Red pepper flakes (optional): 14 tsp

  • Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon

If you want more spice, you can adjust your ingredients here. Cayenne and paprika will give you a kick.

You should also have some butcher’s twine, netting roll, or even an aging wrap in addition to the spices and the meat.

How To Make Your Own Capicola

There will be some time involved in making capicola. Curing it first takes a bit of time, but using the quick cure method, it doesn’t take 6 months.

To make your own capicola, follow these steps.

Start With Curing

Curing the meat is the first step in the process. To cure the meat, mix together all of the spices and herbs listed above.

To ensure that the salt is evenly distributed over the meat, you need to mix them well. It is crucial to get this mixture spread out and combined thoroughly.

Adding an instant cure seasoning is optional, but it could add flavor or color if you choose to do so. However, if you do use an instant cure seasoning, be sure to reduce the salt measurements to account for it.

Use a vacuum sealer or vacuum bag for your curing process. If you don’t have one, you can use plastic wrap instead.

Follow these steps for the curing process:

  1. For curing, mix all of the herbs and spices thoroughly together so that the salt will coat all of the meat when you put it on.

  2. You need to lay the meat out in a bowl and rub the curing spice mix all over it methodically. You need to get the mixture all over the meat and even into the little spaces and gaps in the meat. This is going to be a very hands-on process.

  3. You should use either a vacuum bag or plastic wrap to place the meat in. Don’t throw out the loose seasoning. Once you have placed your meat for wrapping or sealing, go ahead and add the seasoning.

  4. Wrap the meat tightly in plastic wrap or vacuum seal it. If you use plastic wrap, be sure to wrap it tightly and with several layers.

  5. It needs to be kept in your fridge for at least 7 days. We recommend going with more like 10-20 days. Do not remove it from the fridge during this time.

  6. You should turn the meat every day and massage it just slightly to make sure the curing spices are being absorbed properly. 10 days is generally sufficient for up to 5 pounds of meat, but up to 21 days should not hurt.

Next, we move on to drying the meat, which is the most time-consuming part of the process.

Dry The Meat

The best way to dry meat quickly is to use your oven. You can dry it in different ways.

In some cases, the meat is dry aged in the refrigerator. This requires extensive tracking, including weighing the meat before and after the dry aging.

You should aim to lose about 33-35% of the total weight of the meat using the fridge during the drying process. The amount of time this takes can vary, so you should track it.

To keep things simple, we’ll use the oven to dry our food. This process only takes a few hours from start to finish, so it’s much faster than using the fridge.

It’s totally up to you which process you use.

Follow these steps to dry the meat in the oven:

  1. The cured meat should be rinsed thoroughly after being unwrapped. Water is fine, but you can also rinse it with wine or vinegar. It’s up to you, just make sure it’s thoroughly rinsed to remove the salt and curing mixture.

  2. Paprika, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper can be mixed together to create a rub. This part of the process doesn’t require salt or sugar. These spices are all about flavor.

  3. After rinsing the meat, mix the rub spices together and rub them on the surface. The meat should be just slightly damp after rinsing it. The meat should not be damp anymore. If it is, pour some wine or dampen it slightly with cold water. Ensure that you roll the meat thoroughly in the rub spices and that it is completely coated.

  4. Once you’ve coated it, you can place it in netting. You can use a #24 netting roll for this as it spans about the right size to cover the meat for the process. It’s a good idea to cut the netting a little longer than the meat so that it can stretch as you stuff it in.

  5. While the oven is heating, fill an oven-safe pan up with water and place it on a rack near the middle of the oven.

  6. Place your meat on a wire rack over a roasting pan or similar pan, then place it in the oven.

  7. Typically, it will take around 2 hours for the meat to reach an internal temperature of 145-150°F. Be careful not to overcook the meat.

  8. After the meat reaches 145-150°F, remove it from the oven and place it on a plate or similar dish.

  9. Leave the plate with the meat uncovered in your fridge.

  10. Make sure the meat is refrigerated for at least four hours.

  11. Finally, it’s here!

Although some people recommend using a wine rinse again at this point, since you dried the meat in the oven, you shouldn’t have to.

Once the meat has been dried in the fridge for an extended period of time, you can slice it thin and enjoy it for the next few weeks.

To preserve it for future use, wrap it tightly between uses. When stored properly, it should last up to a few weeks.

Smoking The Meat

To add the smoked flavor to the meat after curing and drying, you can also smoke it.

This is a really great way to finish the meat and finalize that really delicious flavor, if you like smoky flavors.

I highly recommend smoking the meat on a low temperature setting for several hours. It’s absolutely delicious!

Check out this YouTube video from Jaxx Drinkwater Southern Cooking & BBQ for a visual tutorial.

Related Questions

It is our hope that this guide will assist you in understanding the spices in capicola and making your own at home.

The process of curing, drying, and getting the flavors right is a long but fairly simple one if you know how to do it.

For additional details, please review the following question and answer section.

Is capicola like ham? 

The similarity between capicola and ham ends there. Ham is brined as part of the process, whereas capicola is dry-cured.

Is capicola the same as prosciutto?

There are some similarities between these two dry-cured pork meats, but they are also quite different.

Essentially, the difference between the two is simply the type of meat that is used to make the product and the spices.

The main difference between prosciutto and capicola is that prosciutto comes from the hind leg, while capicola comes from the neck or shoulder region of the pig.

Do I have to cook capicola? 

In the case of capicola, you don’t have to cook it, assuming you’re buying it as capicola. If you’re preparing your own, you’ll have to follow some steps.

As a cold cut, capicola is commonly served raw because it has already gone through a drying and curing process.

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