Everyone has tried the wonderful dry salamis on an antipasto platter or charcuterie boards. The meat is served extremely thinly sliced and is mostly used to enjoy a cold beer or delicious glass of wine.
But, there are several types of cured meat and a lot of people don't know exactly which one and if they are the same or not.
The same thing goes for Capicola and Prosciutto. These are probably two of the most popular and used type of cured dry salamis. A lot of people don't know if they are the same or not, where they come from or what are their differences.
So, we decided to write a full article on Capicola vs Prosciutto topic, explaining their locations, meat type, their similarities and differences.
We explained firstly what is each cut and the location, then we did a side-by-side comparison of the other factors.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Capicola?
- 2 What is Prosciutto?
- 3 Is Capicola the same as Prosciutto?
- 4 Difference in Location
- 5 Difference in Meat Used
- 6 Difference in Size
- 7 Difference in Cost
- 8 Difference in Serving Size
- 9 Difference in Flavor, Texture and Appearance
- 10 Difference in Production
What is Capicola?
Capicola is a traditional Italian Cold Cut, Dry-Cured meat speciality.
It is a whole muscle salume, dry cured carefully and thinly sliced.
This cut is also known as Capocollo or Coppa in several parts of Italy and Corsica. The name is compound of the words 'Capo' meaning "head" and 'Collo', meaning "neck", which is related to this cut location.
On other countries outside of Italy and Corsica, other known terms for this cut include bondiola or bondiola curada in Argentina, 'Gabagool' in the early 19th-20th century US and Capicolla or Capicola in today's United States.
Where is Capicola Located?
Capicola comes from a muscle running from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder or neck.
What is Prosciutto?
Prosciutto is also another Italian Dry-Cured meat, usually served uncooked and thinly sliced.
This style of serving is called Prosciutto Crudo and is distinguished from the full cooked ham, known as Prosciutto Cotto.
It is an overall fatty cut of meat, when thinly sliced, has a buttery texture and will melt in your mouth.
Prosciutto is probably the most popular dry-cured meat and a lot of regions have their own variations of this Italian speciality. Two of the most used variations are the Prosciutto di Parma from the Emilia-Romagna region and the Prosciutto di San Daniele variation, from the Fruli Venezia Giulia region.
The name comes from the Italian word for 'Ham' and it isn't known to have any special meaning even though some thing that it may describe a variety of dry ham, similar to Italian prosciutto.
Where is Prosciutto Located?
Prosciutto is made from the hind leg or thigh of a pig. Once the leg is cleaned, it is fully salted and left for two months in a cool, controlled environment. After the salting process, it is washed and is aged again for up to 18 months.
Is Capicola the same as Prosciutto?
Even though a lot of people think that all types of dry cured meat are called 'prosciutto', including Capicola or Coppa, the truth is that they are all different in several ways.
So, Capicola is NOT the same as Prosciutto. They are different in the cut from which they are derived, size, style etc.
Difference in Location
Capicola, Capicollo, Capocollo or Coppa is dried cured Pork Meat located in a muscle, which runs from the Neck of the animal, to the fourth or fifth rib of the Pork Shoulder or Neck.
Prosciutto on the other hand, is made from the pig's hind leg quarter, the same cut that is used for Hams.
Difference in Meat Used
What Kind of Meat is Used for Capicola?
Capicola is always made of pork, from the Coppa muscle of the animal. In US, this muscle is contained within the Boston Butt Roast.
What Kind of Meat is Used for Prosciutto?
While Capocollo is always made of pork, Prosciutto on the other hand is sometimes made from other animals.
Usually, when you only state Prosciutto, it is assumed that it is going to be from pork meat. If it is stated over wise, for example: 'Lamb Prosciutto', it means it is made of Lamb meat and so on.
There are some cases that when similar dried meat products are made from meats other than pork, they are called different names, such as 'Bresaola', for the beef version.
Difference in Size
Because prosciutto is usually made from the pig's whole bone in ham, it is bigger in size when compared to the capicola, which is made from a muscle running through the pig's neck.
Difference in Cost
Since prosciutto is bigger in size and is prepared as a whole bone-in ham, it will take more time to prepare and cure, meaning more costs.
The long production process raises the cost, sometimes up to twice as much as capicola.
Difference in Serving Size
While both are thinly sliced and served, Capicola is served in smaller proportions and because of its size, it is ideal for a quick snack.
Prosciutto slices are more than enough for a single bite, meaning that you may need to sometimes tear up the slice in half to make single serving bites.
Also, since Prosciutto has more fat around the edges, sometimes it comes off and you are left up chewing a strip of fat by itself.
- Also Read: 25 Ways to Use Prosciutto
Difference in Flavor, Texture and Appearance
Prosciutto has more fat around the outside edge of the cut, while Capicola has a better distribution of fat across the surface. It has a intramuscular fat woven through the surface, making it to look better when sliced thinly.
The better distribution of fat in Capicola make it look prettier, has a better flavor than Prosciutto and is more tender.
Difference in Production
Prosciutto is made from the hind leg or pig's thigh. Once you clean and prepare the leg, it is heavily salted and left for around two months in a cool controlled environment.
The salting and curing process removes the leftover blood and moisture, making the meat uncomfortable for the bacteria to live in.
After the curing process has finished, the salt is washed from the meat and then left to dry age for up to 18 months.
The full prosciutto making process can take from 9-24 months.
(Video) - How Italian Prosciutto is Made
As for Capicola, after you have cleaned and prepared the pork neck, you place it on a work surface, roll it tightly and use butcher's twine to tie it.
Next, sprinkle the curing mixture evenly over the meat and then seal it using a vacuum packer. Place the vacuumed packed meat in refrigerator for 7 days.
After 7 days, remove it from the refrigerator, rinse the meat thoroughly under running water and finally, dry it using paper towels.
For the final phase of the process, place the meat on a rack and allow it 5-6 weeks to cure, at a temperature of 57-65°F.
- Also Read: How to Make Capicola at Home
As you can see, the making of Prosciutto takes longer than Capicola. You can prepare Capicola in a couple of months while Prosciutto can take from 9 to 24 months to get ready.