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What Is Prosciuttini and Cappacuolo? Key Differences Explained

What Is Prosciuttini and Cappacuolo? Key Differences Explained

Americans consume more than 300 million sandwiches daily, a significant amount compared to other food items people choose to eat. However, it is possible to elevate your sandwich experience by adding some thinly sliced cured meat, such as prosciuttini or cappacuolo. 

Though many people do not realize there is a difference between these two types of meat, they are delicious, and you cannot go wrong adding them to a sandwich. Continue reading to learn more about prosciuttini, cappacuolo, and the differences. 

What is Prosciuttini? 

Prosciuttini is also known as black pepper ham, Prozzutini, or spiced prosciutto. It is available in the deli or an Italian specialty shop and is similar to prosciutto.  

What kind of meat is Prosiuttini?  

Prosiuttini is an Italian ham made from pork, using spices such as black pepper. Prosciutto essentially is thin, cured, and salted ham slices. 

What is Cappacuolo?

Cappacuolo is similar to prosciuttini, but the meat is taken from the neck or shoulder region of the pig. This area of the pig, also known as the “coppa,” offers the perfect blend of fat and meat, making cappacuolo very savory.

Cappacuolo is cured, seasoned, and salted for several months before being edible because the curing process makes the meat unsuitable for harmful bacteria to grow. 

What kind of meat is Cappacuolo?

Cappacuolo is made from pork, typically from the neck and shoulder region of the body. This muscle weighs about 2.5 grams and contains the ideal mix of meat and fat. 

What is the difference between prosciutto and capicola? 

Both capicola and prosciutto are whole-muscle salumi, which is a cured meat in the same category as culatello, speck, and pancetta. Both these types of meat, along with many others in the same category, are often found on charcuterie boards or deli subs. 

The main differences between prosciutto and capicola are the seasonings used, texture, and price.   

SeasoningOnly saltRange of spices and flavors including wine, fennel, and red pepper
TextureButtery textureTender texture
PriceMore expensiveLess Expensive
Dry-Curing Process24 monthsSix months

FAQs about Prosciutto and Capicola

How is prosciutto made? 

Prosciutto is made using a salting method to dry out the pig’s leg and can take up to 24 to 36 months to complete. Below are the steps used to make prosciutto: 

  1. Salt the pig’s hind leg
  2. Hang in a cool, humid place for 60 to 90 days
  3. Let meat dry for 12 to 36 months in an area with good circulation
  4. Remember: The longer the meat dries, the firmer it becomes

How is cappacuolo made?

A dedicated curing chamber is used when dry-curing cappacuolo, which involves a complex process to make the meat safe for consumption. It is possible to replace the chamber with a plastic bag when making cappacuolo at home. This meat is cured using a mixture of salt and nitrate to help rid the meat of harmful bacteria, including Clostridium botulinum.

The nitrates also give the meat its signature dark pink color. During the curing process, the meat is sprayed with edible white bacteria to act as a starter culture to help prevent harmful bacteria from penetrating the pork meat. 

The meat is then covered in herbs and spices during the curing process, which helps add flavor. Common cappacuolo seasonings include black pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. 

Once cured, the meat is rinsed off and air-dried under controlled humidity and temperature for about six months. 

Is there a difference between capicola and coppa? 

The most significant difference between capicola and coppa is the state of the meat – cured or uncured. Coppa is the term used for cutting raw meat before it is cured, while capicola is the dry-cured version of coppa, also known as salami. 

What does cappacuolo taste like? 

Cappacuolo tastes like salted pork with a touch of smoke and spice. The spiciness depends on the herbs used during the curing process and can vary based on the person curing the meat.

The meat is chewy and melts in your mouth due to the unique balance of meat and fat found in the cut of pork. 

What are the best ways to serve capicola? 

Capicola is best served as part of a charcuterie board or antipasto platter. It is common to serve capicola with other food and on a platter with other cured meats, hard cheeses, pickles, olives, sliced apples, red peppers, and chutneys. Some people enjoy eating capicola on a sandwich with other vegetables. 

Why is cappacuolo so good? 

Cappacuolo is mouth-watering because it is made with pork meat with higher fat content. This meat, like capicola, has a 30 percent fat to 70 percent lean meat ratio, making the meat tender and moist. 

Is capicola healthy? 

Capicola is a high-protein meat option with many vitamins and is very low in carbs. Capicola is packed with niacin, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, choline, zinc, and vitamins B6, B1, D, B2, B3, and B12. Unfortunately, this type of meat is high in cholesterol and saturated fat. 

Can I eat prosciutto raw? 

It is safe to eat prosciutto raw because the meat is made from high-quality pork legs and is created using a process with salt that draws out the blood and moisture from the meat. Because this process prevents bacteria from penetrating the meat, making it possible to eat it raw. 

Is prosciutto healthier than bacon? 

Bacon is a popular meat item used in several breakfast meals, and though it is not the healthiest option available, it remains very popular.

On the other hand, prosciutto is lower in calories and fat, which makes it a healthier option, and it can be a more flavorful ingredient when cooking. 

How should I eat prosciutto? 

The best way to enjoy fresh prosciutto is to eat it out of the paper it is sliced into. This meat is also best when paired with mozzarella and slices of melon. Some people enjoy making a panini sandwich using prosciutto meat, mozzarella cheese, and freshly sliced tomatoes. 

What condiments go well with prosciutto? 

Since prosciutto is salty, it is best to try to find a less salty condiment to balance the flavor. Some of the best condiments to use with prosciutto include lemon juice or olive oil.