OP Product Spotlight: The Definitive Guide to Capicola


We do meats. Lots and lots of meats. We’d like to take some time to highlight a few of our favorite cuts, and give them the attention they deserve. Let’s start with Capicola, a classic Italian cut. No idea what that is? You’ve come to the right place…

Capicola, Coppa, Gabagool...it’s all meat to me!

Capicola goes by many names. Capicola in native Italy, Capocolla stateside, and “Bondiola” or “Bondiola Curada” in Argentina, its most curious mutation came from the Italian-American pronunciation of the word Capicola. In the classic practice of cutting syllables and altering the sound of specific letters, the Cs became Gs, Ps became Bs, and the short ‘o’ was elongated into an ‘ooh’, creating the classic and mysterious, ‘Gabagool’.

What is Capicola?

Capicola to Italians, Capocollo to Americans, capicolla to Canadians and Gabagool to Tony Soprano - whatever you call it, Capicola is a whole-muscle cured meat. While whole muscle meats can be taken from any muscle in any animal, Capicola is made from the muscle that runs from the neck to the fourth or fifth rib of the pork shoulder (Quick Italian lesson: Capo=head, colla=shoulder… hence the name). The pork counterpart to beef Bresaola, Capicola is prized for it’s perfect ratio of 30 percent fat to 70 percent lean, which creates its delicate flavor and tender texture.

What sets OP Capicola apart?

Imagine a charming old Italian, apron on, picking fresh herbs and spices from their garden and lovingly hand-butchering meat. Yeah, that’s basically what we do (even if we aren’t all old, Italian, or even charming). Our Capicola recipe is based on tradition. We use meat from the classic neck and shoulder cut, cure it in seasoning for ten days to enhance the flavor, and then coat in black pepper, fennel, coriander, and anise before slow roasting in order to produce a tender, smooth texture.

And the most important thing - how to eat Capicola!

Yes, but what to do with it? Salty, sweet, and seasoned to perfection, Capicola is as versatile as its name. We like to serve it as part of a killer appetizer board with burrata, dijon, cornichon, and focaccia. You can’t make a classic Italian sub without it. Making pizza at home? Follow the lead of our favorite Portland joint, Apizza Scholls, and pair with fresh mozzarella and basil atop a thin crust. And if you find yourself with some extra capicola at lunchtime, a simple plate with baguette, a bit of cheese, grainy mustard and a glass of something cold is our idea of heaven.

Hungry? Get our Capicola here.