Italian Jerky - Coppiette

Coppiette is an intense flavored, traditional Roman Italian jerky [translated] that dries in well ventilated, cool or room temperature environment.

Coppiette means "couple". The strips of meat are tied in pairs, and left to dry in just a few days. Originally Coppiette was made of horse meat, then over time replaced for sheep and recent time it's made of pork meat. Regardless of meat it's used by lean cuts with clear muscle fibre structure.

While I am not normally a fan of pork jerky I make an exception to Coppiette who is more than slightly addicting and works really well when relaxing with a glass of wine or beer on your deck or on an outside tavern in Rome.

The first time I heard of Coppiette was in the great salume beginner's book Dry-Curing Pork, by Hector Kent. I can highly recommend it as it's detailed enough to get started in a safe way without being overbearing. Coppiette is a jerk-staple in our household since 2019, made with elk, deer venison or with pork. Coppiette is one of those rare dried meats where I find the ratios of ingredients work well, regardless of animal origin for the meat.

Do you like fennel? If so, the red-pepper flake and fennel flavored jerky is probably something you will like. In our family we are split roughly in half. One half absolutely love the flavor and will devour it when they are available. The other half of the family doesn't like the heat or the fennel and stays clear of the jerky.

This is a cool-to-dry jerky that will open your mind. Seriously, after doing Coppiette, you might want to rethink using your dehydrater again. The cool to warm temperature environment will create a consistency to your jerky that will have a chewiness to it that just can't be easily replicated with a hot-air dehydrator.

Ingredients

  • trimmed lean elk, deer or pork loin. Pick a muscle with clear muscle fiber structure. All percentages below are based on the gram weight of the trimmed meat.

  • 2.25% salt.

  • 1% coriander

  • 1% fennel (or 0.50% fennel pollen)

  • 0.75% crushed, red pepper flakes. Increase to 1% if you want more heat.

  • 2% red wine.


Equipment

  • butcher's twine

  • a plastic bag, or plastic container or a plate with plastic wrap.

  • An indoor-or-outdoor location where the meat can hang and dry with some airflow around it.

Aged elk bottom round prepared for coppiette.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix dry ingredients

  2. Cut meat with the grain - roughly finger thick strips

  3. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the meat, turn the meat half-way through and sprinkle on the other side of the meat. Gently work in the spices into the meat with your hands.

  4. Add the wine and gently massage the meat with the wine until all the wine is absorbed.

  5. Let the meat rest in the fridge for 3 days. A simple plastic wrap over a plate, vacuum pack or a ziplock bag will work fine. Turn the bag every day.

  6. Tie the strips into the classical "coppiette" pairs.

  7. Hang the meat from the butcher's twine in any well ventilated area. Anything from fridge cool to the outside should work. If bugs are a trouble, then cover the meat with cheese cloth or similar to protect the meat while it is drying.

  8. I've dried Coppiettes outside, in my kitchen ceiling and in my drying chamber. Regardless of space it should be in a well ventilated area so that circulating air will give a good drying effect.

  9. The thin coppiettes will dry quickly, usually in 36-72 hours. Once it starts to get ready it should not feel soft, but have a dry feeling to it while not cracking when bending it.

The spice and wine infused elk meat is getting ready to rest in the fridge for 3 days.


Elk Coppiette ceiling drying outside my kitchen

It's OK to pull down some coppiettes and sample them. You are the boss and decides when the dryness, and texture is just right. What better way to test and learn than by sampling?

Upgrading to google spreadsheets with auto calculating formulas for the percentages is a nice upgrade from the recycled paper approach.

Always write down your steps so you can adjust them next time. This recycled paper note was from the first time I made Coppiette. I've since then abandonded tsp measurements and only go by percentages and grams.

Make sure to also write down tasting notes. This first time I wrote down the following:

Try 1:

The 3% felt too salty. Use 2.5% next time.

2 people loved it. One on the fence. 2 People hated it.


Since then I've decided that 2.25% salt content is just perfect for most salume and jerky regardless if I make coppiette or something else.