Charcuterie 101……….

Ok class, I thought I would do a bit of educating this week regarding the different parts of a pig used to make cured meats. The diagram below is a simple illustration of how a pig is divided up. – Please raise your hand if you have a question.

Pig Parts

Pig Parts

The cured meat that has the most unusual name is coppa. In Italian this means “nape” as in nape of the neck and is part 4 in the diagram. This is one of my favourite meats as the meat is sweeter and more succulent than the leg. The curing process involves a couple of weeks curing in a mixture of salt, spices and red wine followed by 3 – 4 months of drying. The meat is sliced very thinly and has a multitude of uses ranging from anti pasta platters to  panino filings. I have even used it to wrap springbok loins before roasting to keep the venison moist and add flavour. – No Charlie, the metal is spelt “copper”.

Most of you can guess what happens to part 12 – Prosciutto (the most mispronounced word ever – pro-shew-tow) which is “ham” in Italian. This product takes the longest to cure as it is the biggest muscle. We don’t add any spices to our prosciutto preferring to let the natural flavours come out and as they are pasture reared we get outstanding results. – Yes Charlie, we know that’s what you used to think the word meant.

6 and 7 go into salami. The shoulder meat is the only meat we use for salami to ensure that the final product is not too fatty and does not become “oily” as a result of using belly meat and fat. The salamis are cured in natural casings and we use a natural starter culture rather than any GDLs or other products used to speed up the drying process. This means that the product takes 4-8 weeks to cure but the flavour is less acidic. – Pay attention, no talking at the back please.

9 is the belly which is used to make pancetta. Pancetta is Italy’s answer to streaky bacon but is not injected with brine and can be eaten raw as the product is air dried for 6-8 weeks. The outside is rubbed with paprika, fennel and other spices and the flavour is far more intense than that of bacon. – No Charlie, Italy did not invent cooking.

5 is the loin and is used to make our famous bacon. Our bacon is not injected with brine and as a result the product has more flavour and does not give off a lot of water when it is cooking. We rub the outside with herbs and spices before allowing it to hang for 4 weeks. – Yes Charlie, this is an excellent gift for Mother’s Day especially if you cook your mom breakfast in bed.

Right class dismissed, don’t forget your homework assignments, no running in the corridors and no more fighting in the playground please.



About richardbosman

I am a passionate foodie and have turned my hobby into my business. We make beautiful, delicious cured meats from the finest raw materials.
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5 Responses to Charcuterie 101……….

  1. Fritz says:

    Thanks for this post dude, really informative being able to visualize the different sections like that. Love the writing style too!

  2. Nicely written – and I actually learned something. Thanks for that!


  4. Pingback: Pigs, acorns and glorious cured meats | Spatula Magazine

  5. Pingback: Pigs, acorns and glorious cured meats | | Spatula MagazineSpatula Magazine

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