What Is Capicola and What Does It Taste Like?

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Also known as coppa, capocollo, or gabagool, this fatty, lightly spiced and smoked cold cut is really tasty.
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Capicola is spiced and smoked pork shoulder cured in natural casing.

If you’ve watched your share of Sopranos episodes, you’ve probably heard about a magical type of salumi known as gabagool. It’s actually called capicola (also spelled capocollo or a handful of other variations), and it’s delicious.

Capicola, also known as coppa, is what you might consider to be a cross between prosciutto and sausage. To prepare it, large pieces of pork shoulder (or sometimes neck meat) is seasoned with red or white wine, garlic, and a variety of herbs and spices (usually including paprika) before being stuffed into natural casing and hung for up to six months to cure. It is also oftentimes smoked, and in one variety, called coppa cotta, it’s also slow-roasted.

So what does capicola taste like? The resulting product is fatty without being overwhelmingly so, delicately spiced, slightly smoky, and sliced as thinly as possible. It’s found in most Italian delis and gourmet food shops, and is one of the most delicious meats you can put on a sandwich (it’s also one of the key ingredients in a New Orleans-style muffuletta sandwich).

While big-time companies like Boar’s Head produce it, look for smaller-scale producers like Seattle’s Salumi, Portland’s Olympic Provisions, or New York’s Salumeria Biellese if you’re looking to stock up. Go ahead and buy some — you won’t regret it at all. Capicola is definitely not one of these 19 food terms you should never use again.

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