What is the Difference Between Capicola and Prosciutto?

Most people wouldn’t object to relaxing with a chilled beverage and some thinly sliced cured meat, and the majority of people will have tried various types of flavorful salami, like prosciutto. However, two types of cured meat that many people often get confused about are capicola and prosciutto.

What is the Difference Between Capicola and Prosciutto1

Although, even though these two types of meat do closely resemble one another, they are two different foods. Of course, they are both absolutely delicious, but for different reasons, and this is something that we are going to discuss here. 

In this article, we are going to be taking a look at the differences between capicola and prosciutto, so you can find out what makes each of these types of cured meats unique. Hopefully, this will help to clear up any confusion that you have, and you will be able to tell the difference between these two meats in no time.

Capicola Vs Prosciutto – What’s the Difference?

Something that not everyone knows is that both capicola and prosciutto are two types of cured meats that are made from pork. However, while prosciutto is generally made from the hindquarters of the pig, capicola is made from the neck or shoulders of the pig. The latter typically comes from the coppa muscle.

Prosciutto is a type of smoked and aged meat that can take up to an entire year to fully mature. On the other hand, capicola can be ready within around 6 months, so it only takes half the time to become ready. It is also packaged in a different way to prosciutto.

Prosciutto tends to be wrapped in pig fat and skin, whereas capicola comes in a casting, similarly to salami. There is also a big difference when it comes to the flavor of both of these types of meat.

Capicola is more likely to be seasoned with various different spices, and things like salt and paprika. Prosciutto will only be seasoned with salt, and nothing else will be added to it for extra flavor.

These are all of the main differences between capicola and prosciutto, but we are going to take a look at each of these types of cured meat in more detail below. If you are interested in trying different cured meats, then it is important to understand the differences between them. To find out more about each of these meats, just keep reading.

What is Capicola?

Capicola

For those that don’t already know, capicola is a traditional dry cured meat that is considered a cold cut. It originally comes from Italy, and it is a whole muscle meat that will have been dry cured for months before it is available in stores. It is served in very thin slices, and it is very flavorful, almost melting in your mouth. 

This type of meat is often also called coppa or capocollo in some parts of Italy and other regions, and the term capocollo actually comes from two words that mean head and neck, which are the two parts of the body that the meat comes from.

Capicola comes from the muscle that begins at the neck or shoulder of a pig, and this is what provides this meat with its tender texture. It is also the main thing that tells these two different types of meat appart. 

What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto

Prosciutto is yet another type of dry cured meat that is very popular, and it also originates from Italy. It is probably one of the most popular cured meats in the world, and most people will have heard of it.

This meat is served raw, and it will be cut into thin slices. Due to the fact that prosciutto is very fatty, it provides a nice buttery texture. 

You can also cook this meat, but it is usually labelled as so. If it is not specified that it is cooked, then it is simply a cured and aged meat.

You can eat as much raw prosciutto as you want to, and this is because the high salt content and overall aging process will ensure that any bacteria or mold will not be present, even though it is raw to begin with. 

Prosciutto comes from the thigh or hind leg of a healthy pig, and it will then proceed to be cleaned, covered in salt, and left in a cool environment for around 2 months.

Once this amount of time has passed, the meat will be taken out, washed again, and then aged for a further 18 months. Although, it may also be slightly longer than this.

Quite a lot of salt will be used when this meat is being cured, and the meat can also be smoked. Curing prosciutto is something that takes a lot of time and effort, and great care must be taken to ensure that sufficient airflow is provided throughout the process.

Prosciutto is much more difficult to make than capicola, and this is something that you will definitely notice when you taste this meat.

How Are Capicola and Prosciutto Different?

There are lots of people that think that capicola and prosciutto are the same thing, but this is not the case. There are lots of different ways in which these dry-cured meats differ from one another.

So, while these are two different types of dried meat, they are very different when it comes to the production process, appearance, taste, texture, and more of the meat.

These are both types of salumi, which is the word that is used to describe salted and dried meats, but that doesn’t mean that they are the same thing. We are going to talk about the differences between capicola and prosciutto in more detail below to help to give you a better understanding of them.

  • Capicola comes from the neck of the pig, whereas prosciutto comes from the hindquarters of the pig
  • Capicola usually comes from the muscle that goes from the neck of the pig down to the 4th or 5th rib of it’s shoulder or neck
  • Prosciutto comes from the hind leg of the pig, which is the same cut that is used for preparing ham
  • Capicola will always be pork, but prosciutto can be made from other animals
  • Generally, capicola is always made from the meat of a pig, usually the muscle area, and it never comes from the meat of another animal
  • Prosciutto can be made from the meat of other animals too, like cow, goat, lamb, or other types of domestic animals. Although, the most commonly used animal is the pig, and unless it states otherwise, it is probably pork. Otherwise, you can get beef, lamb, or other prosciutto, though they are not very commonly found

Capicola Vs Prosciutto Size and Price

Capicola will always be smaller than prosciutto Even though capicola is decently sized, you will probably notice that prosciutto is a much larger cut of meat if you compare them side by side.

This is because prosciutto is the whole leg of the pig, which is then hung up to dry and aged on hooks. Sometimes, you will be able to get the whole leg of prosciutto, but you should know that it is quite expensive.

Capicola, as you may have already gathered, is cheaper than prosciutto because it is much smaller, and it doesn’t take as long to produce. Prosciutto takes around 2 years to produce, which is the main reason why it costs almost double what capicola costs. 

Taste and Texture

These two meats are also very different when it comes to their taste and texture, and this is mostly due to the fact that prosciutto has a much higher fat concentration. The slice has more fat around the edges, and it is often tougher than capicola.

Sometimes, people will strip away the fat, so they can just enjoy the meat on its own. Capicola has fat that is much more evenly distributed within the meat, which is why it can be sliced neatly. 

In terms of the flavor, both of these meats will taste good, and they both feature a buttery texture. Everyone will have their own taste preferences between the two meats, so it is up to you to decide which one is your favorite.

The Difference in How They Are Made

As we have already mentioned, prosciutto is made from the hind leg of the pig, which will then be cleaned, prepared, and covered in salt before being left for around two months in a cool environment.

Salting the meat will work to remove all of the blood, bacteria, and moisture from it. Once this process is complete, the meat will be washed to remove the presence of the salt, before being left to age again for a further 18 months. 

This is a lengthy process, and plenty of airflow will need to be provided throughout. Otherwise, moisture can develop and provide the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. 

Capicola comes from the neck of an animal, and it will then be cleaned and tightly rolled, then tied using some form of twine. It will then be covered with a curing mixture and sealed up. Once it has been sealed, it will need to be refrigerated for at least 7 or 8 days.

Once this amount of time has passed, the meat will be washed under running water and then dried out, before being placed on a rack at between 55 and 65 degrees for around 5 or 6 weeks to cure.

So, out of the two, a lot more work goes into producing prosciutto than capicola, which is why it is often more expensive. Although, they are both great options to choose from.

Jess Smith
Latest posts by Jess Smith (see all)