Discover The Tasty Italian Cured Coppa Meat [with Recipe]

The most popular cured meat in Italy is pork. Italy’s historic rustic cuisine, “Cucina Povera” is influenced by the Italian deep-rooted tradition of the rural families that are known for rearing and home-butchering pigs. They do that every winter to ensure that they have meat for the whole year.

The popularity of pigs in the country could be due to the easiness involved in keeping pigs since they are not expensive to rear. For centuries, there has been a relationship between grazing pigs on chestnuts and acorns from towering trees that line sow fields. In turn, these pigs fertilize the farmers’ farms, which helps them maintain the Italian picturesque countryside.


What is Coppa Meat

Coppa meat is also referred to as capicola. It is a traditional salami that is produced in various places in Italy.

Coppa is a collection of muscles extending from the loins and running through the pig’s shoulder. Once butchered, this meat has a barrel shape, which makes it perfect for slow roasting and charcuterie. Since the meat comes from the shoulder, it is rich in fat and full of flavor since the muscle is also used a lot.

This famous Italian meat is a cut of ham that is salted and seasoned before it is dry-curated. Ideally, coppa is made of thinly sliced pork neck or shoulders. It is normally an addition to an antipasto plate and is usually served together with other cured Italian meats. People enjoy coppa with a drizzle of extra virgin oil.



Coppa Meat Origin and Curiosities

From the historical records, people have produced coppa since the early 1800s. However, its origin might date back to between the 8th and 5th century BC. Coppa is believed to have originated in the southern Calabria region and the northern Piacenza area.

The European Union gave both coppa Calabrese and coppa Piacentina the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. Other regions, including Tuscany, Lazio, Basilicata, Umbria, and Apulia also boast of their versions of coppa.

The thing all these regions do the same as they serve coppa in thin slices. It can be served either on its own or eaten as an appetizer. Some people prefer to serve it on a panini or grinders.


Coppa Meat Vs Prosciutto

Another popular Italian dry-cured meat is prosciutto. It ranks among the most popular cured meats worldwide. Prosciutto is also served raw and thinly sliced. Since it is rich in fat, the meat melts in your mouth, giving a rich buttery texture that is enjoyed worldwide.

Prosciutto is first cleaned before it is covered with salt. It is then left in a cool place for two months. Afterward, the meat is taken out, cleaned, and then aged again for one and a half years. To properly cure prosciutto, a lot of salt is used. It might also be smoked.

While both coppa meat and prosciutto are Italian cured meats, they are different in various aspects. Both prosciutto and coppa are prepared from whole-muscle pork, seasoned, and air-dried for a long time. However, the similarities end there.

While coppa is prepared from the pork shoulder, prosciutto comes from the pig’s hind leg. You can find coppa in either mild or hot varieties spiced with nutmeg, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. However, prosciutto is only made from fresh pork and sea salt.

You can also find cooked prosciutto, although it is always labeled prosciutto Cotto, which translates to cooked ham. However, you can also consume prosciutto raw.

Due to its aging process and the high salt content, it is unlikely that any mold or bacteria will thrive on the meat. Therefore, it is safe to eat it raw. Due to the long process involved in curing prosciutto, it is more flavorful than coppa meat.

Another difference is that coppa meat is only made from pork while you can make prosciutto from other aminals, including goat, lamb, or cow. However, the most commonly used meat in preparing prosciutto is pork.

You can also differentiate between coppa and prosciutto by the size of the meat. While coppa is made from a slice of sizeable meat, prosciutto is always made with a big cut of meat. Prosciutto is the whole leg of the pig that is hung on hooks to age and dry. The difference in size and aging period also influence the price. Coppa is always cheaper than prosciutto.

When it comes to texture and taste, prosciutto has more fat content. Sometimes, you may strip the fat off prosciutto ending up with a chewy piece of meat. However, coppa’s fat is evenly distributed, which translates to a neater slice that is also appealing.

Regarding their flavors, both slices of meat taste amazing and come with a buttery texture. However, the flavor depends on your preference when it comes to cured meats. Some people will prefer coppa while others would rather have prosciutto.


Coppa Meat Vs Capicola

Some people confuse coppa meat with capicola. That is because the capicola is made from the coppa muscle. Capicola is prepared with specific spices, including cayenne, and spicy paprika, and it may also have red pepper flakes. It is then dry-cured.

On the other hand, coppa can be cured with no spicy seasonings. Normally, coppa is cured with only salt and a few milder spices the main difference between coppa and capicola is that all capicola is coppa but not all coppa is capicola.


Coppa Meat Recipe

Here is a comprehensive recipe on how to prepare coppa meat at home to use in your other recipes.



  • 1 kg fresh pork neck
  • Spices for the Meat
  • 2.5 g curing salt
  • 31.5 sea salt
  • 3 g sugar mixture containing 50% alternate sugar and 50% dextrose
  • 3g black pepper
  • 1.5 g bay leaves
  • 1.5 thyme
  • 1 g mace
  • 1 g allspice
  • 1g fennel seeds


Equipment Required for Preparing Coppa Meat

Mortar/Spice Grinder

To properly grind your spices, use a spice mill or, you can use a mortar if you don’t have a spice mill. You can also choose to go with ground spices from the grocery store. However, it is better to grind the spices yourself to ensure they are in great condition.

Sausage Pick or Sewing Needle

You will need to use a sausage pick or sewing needle when air comes between the meat and the casing.

Sausage Casing

You need to cure your coppa in a beef butt. The recommended one is a beef casing caliber 120/140.



Here is a step-by-step procedure for making coppa meat at home. It is easy to follow and doesn’t need many things.

  1. Remove any fibers, tendons, and any silverskins present on the meat. Ensure that you don’t have any pockets or large cuts in your meat. Weigh your meat and note the exact weight to help you calculate the amount of seasoning and salt you need. Remember to weigh all your ingredients afterward.
  2. Place all your spices in your spice mill or a mortar and grind them to a coarse texture.
  3. Combine the spices and the salt and rub them all around your meat. Ensure that the mixture is evenly rubbed through the meat.
  4. Place the coppa meat in a bag with any remaining spices and salt.
  5. Proceed to vacuum seal the meat in the bag.
  6. Put the bag of meat in your refrigerator and leave it to cure for at least 1.5 days for each centimeter of meat thickness. Keep turning the bag occasionally. You can leave the bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  7. Once the meat is cured, you can remove the meat from the bag and proceed to rinse it under running water.
  8. Once you have properly rinsed the meat, dry it with a clean kitchen towel.
  9. Put your cured meat in the beef casing and proceed to remove the air trapped.
  10. Knot the end of the beef casing.
  11. Put and tie a net around your piece of meat.
  12. Use a needle to pierce the air pocket in the casing.
  13. Hang your meat in a dark place so that it can dry properly. The room should bbe at least 12 degrees Celcius or 53.6 °F. The humidity should not be less than 75%.
  14. Let the meat mature and dry for between two to three months but keep checking it regularly. Ideally, the meat should lose around 30% of its weight during the curing process. If you notice that the meat is losing weight too fast, consider vacuuming the coppa again. Proceed to let it ripen in the refrigerator.
  15. Your coppa is finally ready for consumption. Enjoy it on its own or find more recipes to incorporate coppa in.



How Long Can Coppa Last?

If you are worried about the shelf life of your homemade coppa, don’t worry. You can keep it for various months. To ensure that the ham doesn’t dry further or lose its flavor, consider packing it in an airtight container and placing it in the refrigerator.

Once sliced, it is recommended that you consume your coppa within seven days. You will enjoy its delicious taste within this period. However, if you choose to pack it in one piece, you can store it in a cool place for months without having to worry about it going bad.

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