Coppa. What is coppa? Coppa is a muscle of the pork right behind the back of the head, at the top of the shoulder. In the cute little picture of pig parts on the left, it is #4. I guess in English it could be called "pork collar". In Italy this specific piece of meat is available at grocery stores to braise and to roast as "coppa fresca", but here in the US, it takes some effort to get a hold of. When cured it is a wonderful combination of meat and fat, heady from the aromatic spices and herbs in which is it cured. Sliced thin it is a classic on a plate of salumi (cured meats) and makes wonderful sandwiches. You may also know it by its southern Italian name of "capocollo", which translates to "top of the neck", which makes sense. Or you may have heard the word mangled and pronounced "capicola", which is a derivative of capocollo. How about we just stick to the real word: coppa.
So lets start with getting ourselves a piece of coppa. Your best bet, and what I normally do is harvest it from a whole pork shoulder/boston butt which i get at Costco. Sometimes unfortunately the Costco butchers mangle the shoulder so badly when they remove the bone that getting a nice hunk of coppa is near impossible. I've also found if you can find a nice LARGE piece of bone in shoulder/boston butt at the supermarket you can usually get a nice coppa out of it. With the rest make salame!
On the left here in the picture you see a whole shoulder from Costco. I put a blue rectangle around the coppa. I also labeled the direction where the pig's legs and head would be and where the shoulder bone used to be. Hopefully you can orient yourself.
Here the shoulder is lifted on its side. Again I labeled the coppa, and the direction where you'd find the feet, and the side where the skin would have been.
This is the same coppa but flipped over. You can see the nice fat striations in the muscle which will keep the coppa soft and make it tasty once cured. Hmmmmm faaaat.
Cut away the generally circular coppa, and shape it generally into a cylinder of meat and fat.
This is the other side of the coppa. It will end up being about 90mm/3.5" in diameter
You now have a coppa ready to be cured. Stay tuned for that post, which will be coming shortly. I'll be posting about 2 different methods for curing it.