Italian Jerky - Coppiette

Coppiette is an intensely 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 for just a few days. Originally Coppiette was made of horse meat, then over time replaced for sheep, and in recent times it's made of pork meat. Regardless of meat, the coppiette is always made with lean cuts that show a clear muscle fiber structure.

Coppiette is excellent when made with venison and elk, and you can also follow the Italian tradition and use pork. While I am not usually a fan of pork jerky, I make an exception for Coppiette. Even the pork Coppiettes are more than slightly addicting and work really well when relaxing with a glass of wine or beer on your deck or outside a 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 highly recommend it as it's detailed enough to get started safely without being overbearing. Coppiette has been a jerk staple in our household since 2019, made with elk, deer venison, or pork. Coppiette is one of those rare dried meats where I find the ratios of ingredients work well, regardless of the animal origin of 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 dehydrator again. The cool-to-warm temperature environment will create a consistency in your jerky that will have a chewiness that can't be easily replicated with a hot-air dehydrator.


  • Trimmed lean elk, deer, or pork loin. Pick a muscle with a 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.


  • Butcher's twine

  • A plastic bag, a 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.


  1. Mix dry ingredients

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

  3. Sprinkle the dry ingredients on the meat, turn the meat halfway through and sprinkle on the other side of the meat. Gently work 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 zip lock 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 the fridge cool to the outside should work. If bugs are trouble, cover the meat with cheesecloth or similar to protect it while drying.

  8. I've dried Coppiettes successfully in several different environments. Outside, hanging from my kitchen ceiling and 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 gets ready, it should not feel soft but dry to the touch while not cracking when bending it.

The spice and wine-infused elk meat are 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 decide when the dryness and texture are 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 abandoned 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 perfect for most salume and jerky, regardless of whether I make coppiette or something else.