Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Coppa - Whole

A little while ago I was roaming the isles at my local Asian grocery store, and in the pork section i noticed some thinly cut, very round steaks labeled "pork steak". It was really heavily marbled, and I thought to myself, "wow, that looks like a coppa steak....i wonder if I can get the whole piece that these steaks were cut from". I went up to the meat counter and asked if this part was the neck or collar of the pig. He told me it was (although I'm not certain he understood my question), and he said he had a whole one.

You might remember my issue with procuring coppa muscles, having to buy whole shoulders and carving out the coppa from them, in the hope that the butcher hadn't mangled it. Amazingly, what i was able to buy as "pork steak" seemed to be a whole coppa, and on top of that, it was nicely trimmed into the correct shape for me! I couldn't wait to cure it.


Coppa
IngredientQuantity(g)% of Meat
Pork Coppa1632100%
Salt ( Kosher)573.50%
White Pepper161.00%
Cinnamon1.220.075%
Cure #24.10.25%
Juniper3.50.20%


As you can see I kept the flavorings rather simple, actually, essentially identical to my best coppa to date. In that one the close was still quite strong, so i decided to remove it entirely.

This is the whole pork steak as I got it from my market. I hope i can keep finding these










This is the other side of the piece of meat, note the beautiful fat on there. It's going to be TASTY!










Spice mixture ready to apply and massage into the coppa










The coppa was massaged with the spice mixture, making sure to get into all crevices and nooks and crannies.

This was put into the fridge for 3 weeks, and turned once 1/2 way though. I left it longer than i have in the past because it's so thick. I prefer to make sure it's cured through than to under-cure.




After its time in the cure, I washed it off well, and dried nicely. I trimmed off the small flap of meat that was just hanging out there. Small piece, and i was concerned that if I just folded it against the main piece i might have air pockets in there.







I tried stuffing it into a 90mm collagen casing, and there was no way it was fitting.
Here it is stuffed into a 100mm casing. It was really a pain to stuff it in there, but i'm glad i did. Look how nice and round it is, no air pockets and nice and compacted.

Notice i don't tie the end of the casing with string. I used my nice new hog ring pliers. It was pretty convenient and certainly easier than using string.

Rather than using string to tie it up, I had some elastic netting I figured I would try.










Let's go to the chamber. I didn't put it in the "fermentation" box like I have previously, because I'm not sure I fully understand the reasoning behind doing that on solid muscles. I've read that it helps with the initial drying, but I not sure it's strictly necessary.

It's in there now at 55 deg. F and 75-80% RH. I'll leave it like that for about a week, then lower the RH to about 70-75%.

Keep an eye out for a tasting report.

63 comments:

Marc said...

No 600 Bactoferm?

Jasonmolinari said...

Not this time...i didn't feel like getting it out of the freezer, and i reasoned that the addition of mold to whole muscles isn't necessary.
I see the necessity of spraying salame as the mold penetrates the casing and the meat and consumes some of the lactic acid, reducing the acidity...but given that this is not a fermented product, i think the main purpose of the mold would be to slow the drying and to protect against "bad" molds...so i did without.

I've made many many without, and haven't had problems.

Marc said...

Agree that technically there isn't any reason to do so and without a doubt your results will be outstanding!
I'm in the camp of taking all the insurance I can get! Of course, still without a "proper" curing chamber. Do have to say that although it's a whole muscle and in a casing, I still think that there is a bit of an impact in taste with the mold. As a simple experiment: I did four saucisson of pork tenderloins. Two cased, two not. One each sprayed with the inoculate. IMO the best one was cased and had a healthy covering of the mold. Even though it was served sans casing there was a certain mild "funkiness" that came through and was preferred. The one without a casing (but still covered in mold) was wiped down (red wine) before service. It had too strong of "that flavor" but it was still probably the second best overall. The two without the mold were fine but I somewhat boring.
Please realize I'm speaking with a minimum of experience! Hopefully I'll have a more stable curing area in the near future and be able to play a bit more. BTW: Nice score on the coppa! There are a couple of Asian markets around that I've yet to check out and you just gave perfect example as why to do so!

Jasonmolinari said...

Interesting Marc...i might have to go back and spray. Just last night i was eating a piece of Camembert cheese, and i realized i could use the mold off the skin there to wipe on the coppa....i might do that now...I only put it up a few days ago, so it should be fine to do now.

Asian markets are awesome for cured meats!

phil said...

Jason

Camembert uses a different strain of penicillium, which over time can become quite 'cheesy'. I now favour using mould off a commercial salami.

Jasonmolinari said...

Phil, of course, penecillium Camemberti...rather than the nalgiovense we spray on salame...

so you think i shouldn't use it on the outer casing?

EZ said...

"I didn't put it in the "fermentation" box like I have previously, because I'm not sure I fully understand the reasoning behind doing that on solid muscles."

Jason, from my reading (and I've been reading *everything* from the scientific papers to the academic books), you don't need to ferment the whole muscles because there is no LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria) in the whole muscles. You can go straight from the cure to the drying; much like the classic stages of producing a prosciutto. The only reason for the fermenting is to get the LAB to grow and lower the pH below 5.3. Anyone who recommends fermenting whole muscles is either (a) wrong or (b) has innoculated the muscle with a needle syringe or artery/vein pump.

I would even put forth that fermenting a whole muscle will possibly degrade the final product because the fat is more likely to go rancid at elevated temperatures.

But that's just my two cents. :-)

~EZ

Jasonmolinari said...

Ez, agree on the LAB need in salame and nit in whole muscles. I think part of the reason to "ferment" whole
Muscles is to give them some time at mold growing temp to allow for good initial development before they are put into the cooler curing chamber where the mold
Might not bloom.

Portland Charcuterie Project said...

Looks good.. I'll be interested in seeing your tasting report.

I never use the fermenter on whole muscles.. or any type of mold, and I've had outstanding success with them, and some natural mold development.

kudos!!

Jasonmolinari said...

PCP, i wore the shirt you sent me last week at our halloween party...my wife cringed :)

Tucker said...

The cut of meat for Coppa that you are looking for is a "Cottage Roast', sometimes called the "Cellar" carved from the Boston Butt, the shoulder primal cut that includes the neck. Your butchery pics show it accurately, but if you'd like your butcher to do the work for you, ask by the above name. If they still don't know what you are talking about, look for a real butcher, instead of a grocery store stock boy. The state of the art in American grocery stores is not what it used to be.

Jasonmolinari said...

Good to know the name Tucker, i would have just called it the "collar".
thanks

Marc said...

All I know is that by growing that white mold on the exterior I (so far) have ended up with a product that has a flavor that is better, slows the drying process, and prevents (so far) any bad mold from forming. For me the warm temp/high humidity (Ferment) on whole muscle is just to get that surface mold going.
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs398.snc3/24209_1409412044033_1494430294_1041092_4342138_n.jpg

Jasonmolinari said...

I agree on the fermentation part marc

scott said...

Exactly the reason I ferment. Here is a link to the one time I didn't spray. Coincidence or not, it is the only time I ever got green mold.

http://sausagedebauchery.blogspot.com/2009/08/one-bigand-greenreason-to-case-whole.html

Marc said...

It was Jason or Scott (or both :)) that convinced me to even try the surface inoculate in the first place. The majority of the info out there doesn't support or acknowledge the potential benefit. The additional flavor contribution has become a bonus!

Jasonmolinari said...

Yah, i've been a proponent of pre-spraying for the protective value of ht emold...
I should do a side by side to see if there is a taste difference on a whole muscle. Maybe next time i make a bresaola, i'll make 2 and spray one and not spray the other....

Marc said...

"Maybe next time i make a bresaola, i'll make 2 and spray one and not spray the other...."
Would love that! Speaking from my "newbee" status it would be great to hear. Like I said: One little test that I have drawn my conclusions on... and not a lot of reference to draw on... but I like to be outside the "box"!

scott said...

OK, I'll participate in this experiment. I've just cased 2 lonzini. One I've sprayed already. The other will not be sprayed. However, there is a factor which will mitigate the result to a degree. I am cold smoking(loin speck) the non sprayed lonzino. The results will be posted over on my blog in the near future.

Jasonmolinari said...

Scott, thanks. But if hte unsprayed is smoked and the sprayed isn't, there is no way you'll know what difference the mold made!

scott said...

Hence the mitigating factors. I'll do it for the he'll of it regardless.

Jasonmolinari said...

i won't stop you:)

Marc said...

Scott... Your cold smoking after the cure, but prior to hanging/drying... is that correct?

scott said...

Cured for 12 days. Cased in beef bung, cold smoked for about 30 hours, then hung to dry.

Jasonmolinari said...

It appears there is some white mold growing on its own on the coppa. I've been holding about 78% RH and 55-57 deg. F. Guess my fridge is innoculated with the stuff now...It's weird b/c it's been off and unused and open to the air for about 2 months!

Nick said...

Hi Jason. Great site. I know that usually the coppa will come from a pig that has already been split in half down the spine, but I'm getting a whole pig soon, unsplit, and do you know if the coppa continues, intact, over the top of the animal? In other words, when I'm butchering, should I try to get one long coppa cut from the right side of the animal continuing over to the left side? While butchering, I'm not necessarily going to adhere to the standard cuts--butt, picnic shoulder, etc. I'll be butchering a little differently for the sake of curing.

Jasonmolinari said...

Nick, i'm not 100% sure, but i think the coppa runs parallel to the spine, not across it.

That said, i don't know if there are 2 from each animal (i think so) of one that gets cut in 1/2 when the animal is split.

Hector said...

Please excuse the off topic comment... I've recently come into a really nice ham, but the skin has been removed. While no skin isn't ideal, does this pose any problems for a curing? I'm comfortable with the whole process, but I've never tried to dry cure a ham with a skinless product. Any thoughts from anyone? I'm just trying to avoid disappointment in 14 months from now.

Jasonmolinari said...

Hector, i haven't cured a ham, so i have no idea..but i think it should be ok, as long as you can slow down the drying, as the skin would do.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jason, wow your blog is truly inspirational!

How long would you leave the coppa in the chamber for? obviously it depends on the size? but what is the minimum/maximum time?

Secondly a friend of mine is a winemaker (here in South Africa) and he was saying that the may be curing some stuff and hanging it in their cellar. Have you heard of people using wine cellars, i guess similarily to the caves in Parma. It'll be alot cheaper than buying an ultrasonic humidifier/fridge etc etc. Sorry lastly can one use a bottle fridge (double sliding door kind) they are supe spacious, a lot more so than a coventional househol fridge Sorry for bombarding you with questions.

Regards,

Mart

Jasonmolinari said...

Thanks MArt.
How long this will take is completely depedant on temperature, humidity, air flow, size, etc.etc.
I'm guessing this will take about 45-60 days.

You can use any location as long as the temperature and humidity are acceptable (and as long as there are no strange smells or other odd things). Same with the fridge. If the temperature and humidity are correct or can be corrected in some way, then you can use it.

Kevin Kossowan said...

I'm so trying something along these lines asap. Thanks for the inspiration.

Jasonmolinari said...

glad to help Kevin.

Wayne said...

Hi,

Can you assist me?

I am looking at buying a complete organic hog. Is there a booklet on how to cut the animal up into the various cuts for curing?

Thanks

Wayne

Jasonmolinari said...

Wayne, I'm sure there are, I just don't know them.

Anonymous said...

How do you stuff a whole piece of meat into a casing?

surely you dont use a regular stuffer do you?

sorry for the silly question, just trying to grasp the best way I could possibly do this

Jasonmolinari said...

to stuff the whole muscles just stuff it in there, like putting something in a small bag!

A friend said "it's like putting 10lbs of crap in a 5lb bag!"

Anonymous said...

Jason,

Thanks for the new posts. I always enjoy reading your blog. I did my first successful coppa earlier this fall. No time in a fermentation box, and no casing.

Like your curing box, my wine cellar now seems to have mold spores in residence, because lovely white mold forms on its own now on most of my fermented salumi, and on a breasola that's almost done.

About the coppa, I still am not entirely sure what the advantages of casing it are. The only time I ever lost a piece of muscle I was curing was a coppa I had cased that grew green mold along an internal crevice. Because of the casing, I didn't see it until I removed the casing, and by then it was too late.

Recently, I have used cheese cloth when I want to cover something I'm curing. It slows evaporation, retains moisture if I spray it, and also turns out to be a very good way to get beneficial white molds to grow on the surface of the meat.

I wish I understood better why casing is seen as a necessary step for curing muscles like coppa. Mine turned out beautifully without it. Same with a lonzino. And I've been making breasola for a few years and have not cased one yet. Be interesting to do some comparisons and see how they differ.

TCollins said...

Jason,
What do you use to weigh your projects to ensure they've lost their 30%-40%, etc? Thanks

Tim

Jasonmolinari said...

Tim, i use a normal kitchen scale.

Jasonmolinari said...

I think when the item is properly cased it will protect it from direct contact with teh mold.
I agree that if there are crevices and it isn't well packed in the casing there could be problems.

Martin E. Andresen said...

I just realised I got myself a new hobby. Thanks for blogging!

Jasonmolinari said...

Funny Martin. It's fun...and tasty!

Bart said...

Hi Jason,

I hope I could ask you a question. I follow your blog a bit and you are more knowledgable than I regarding cured meats in particular Coppa. I have been focused on the sausage, bacon and Pancetta trying to perfect each. I have done brined products ie canadian bacon, corn beef, pastrami, wild game ect so my experience is growing. I have also made several salamis successfully. Here is my question, I have started my curing process days (1-15 apprx)for the coppa. The cut of meat may be bigger than an actual "cottage cut" and looks more like a cappicola cut on you tube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=404h9Q-bpys&feature=related. The cut I used is the top half of the shoulder butt basically the cut you framed on your blog under coppa. But bigger apparently. Question, this cut is best described as a small roast that's now curing. Approx 10 in diameter. (large softball). What would you suggest as my best course of action? I dont think I can case as is, can I? So, should I 1)net and dry or 2) maybe cut the things in half and case. Any thoughts would be great.

Thanks,

Jasonmolinari said...

Bart, why can't you case it as it is? You'll have to get some large collagen casings and it will lose some size during the salting, but i would definitely case it.
I wouldn't cut it in 1/2

You could try wrapping it in multiple layers of cheesecloth and drying it like that .

Bart said...

Dealing with the size of the cut I wasn't sure that a 100mm would fit. What do you think? I have not done a cut this thick before. If you think the 100mm would work, I'll get it on the way. I know sausage maker has synthetic/collogen 100mm but havent seen natural. Are there natural casings that large you have used and from where?

Also, read the erlier post and I like the cheese cloth idea.

Thanks again for the input!

Jasonmolinari said...

Bart, i don't necessarily think it'll fit in a 100mm casing, but Butcher-packer has bigger ones too, up to 140mm i think..

You can also take some beef bungs, and slice them down the middle making sheets of them instead of tubes, then wrap the meat in sheets of casing. As the casing dries it'll adhere to itself making 1 giant one.

Bart said...

Jason, Thanks for the input, I will let you know how it turns out!

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason why the curing is done in a ziplock bag, with lots of air around the coppa, instead of using a vacuum sealer to pull out the air and cure it? I used vacuum for my coppa, which is in vacuum for about 18 days and is about to go in my curing fridge which I've just build.

Jasonmolinari said...

Definitely vacuum bagging the meats to be cured works well. I believe it also speeds curing, but i don't have any evidence by how much.

I now vacuum bag my meats while curing as well...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jason. Glad to hear a vacuum while curing is ok. I have the impression that there is less moisture being pulled out while under vacuum, which would seem strange to me, but it does cure very well, as far as I can tell.

You have a wonderful blog!

Best,

Thijs
Netherlands

Anonymous said...

Jason I have another question, is it possible to dry the coppa by rubbing it with a thin layer of lard, spices and a pince of salt, instead of casing it?

Thijs

Jasonmolinari said...

I'm not sure if the lard will keep too much moisture in the meat, and not allow it to dry out properly...i guess there is only 1 way to find out....try it!

Anonymous said...

Jason-

I'm looking at hog ring pliers... any suggestions now that you have used yours a bit or are all $10 pliers going to do the job? Also, what size rings are best for salamis...3/8"? And finally can you use the hog rings on all kinds of casings or are some best suited to twine?

Thanks,
Brian

Thanks,
Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

Brian, i only used them a handful of times...they only work on collagen casings, and i've switched to using mostly natural casings.

The $10 plier worked ok...

Anonymous said...

Jason, nice blog. I'm working on my first coppa and I have a couple questions. Books I have say to salt cure for 1 day per kilogram but I've cured bacon a lot and this coppa looks like it needs more time. Your recipe calls for a longer cure, which seems correct to me but as a rookie I'm reluctant to stray too far from a recipe I can trust. Also, once I've stuffed it in the beef bung should I prick holes in it like I would do with salami?

Jasonmolinari said...

i work by equilibrium curing, adding the amount of salt i want absorbed, which requires more time. Most books use excess salt and take it out after a duration.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I recently bought a large piece of corsican Coppa in a market in France and have brought it back to England with me. The man in the market suggested keeping it in muslin in a cool place (not refrigerated) and said that it would last up to a year?

Since getting it back, it seems to have grown some greenish mould on one side... should I be worried about it? And if so, can I clean it with vinegar and water without getting it too wet/damaging the other 'good' moulds on it? Obviously, I would prefer not to poison myself with it... or others!

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, thanks,
Hayley

Jasonmolinari said...

i think you should wipe it with vinegar/water, but there is no reason not to keep it in the fridge

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, I will try that! Great to have some good advice.

Chris Smalley said...

Just curious - when you put your coppa in the casing did you prick holes in the casing at all?

Jasonmolinari said...

Chris, yes, to release both air pockets and excess liquids.
prodigiously perforate with a sausage pricker.

donQuoique said...

Great blog!
I've just started meat curing as a hobby and am learing quite a lot here.
I have a question regarding the casing. In my country it is nearly impossible to get casing. So I wonder if I can use fine cotton muslin instead.
Please help me out!
Thank you in advance
- don