The smoked coppa roast might just be the best piece of meat you’ve never tried. Let me rephrase that. If you’ve ever smoked a pork shoulder and then pulled it into a pile of deliciousness you’ve had the coppa. You might even have heard of the coppa roast by what it’s more commonly referred to: the money muscle. The coppa is the most tender—and because of its intramuscular fat—the juiciest part of the butt. Pork butt and Boston butt are other names that refer to the pork shoulder, by the way.
So why did I say you’ve never had it? Well, when the coppa roast is shredded into pulled pork and combined with the rest of the butt, it gets sort of lost. Also, in order for an entire pork shoulder to be tender it generally needs to be cooked to over 200° F. The coppa roast on the other hand is best served sliced and only cooked to a temperature of around 190° F. On its own, and dollar for dollar, the coppa roast packs an uppercut punch of flavor and best of all, it’s an inexpensive cut of meat.
Where To Get a Coppa Roast
You can certainly buy an entire pork shoulder and carve out the coppa portion yourself. With a good boning knife and some skill you’ll be in business. You’ll of course have to do something with the rest of the pork; grinding it for sausage is a good idea. Slow smoking it for about 12 hours is another option. That said, if you want just the coppa roast, you can get that hand cut from a few places online and save yourself a lot of work.
What Is This Roast?
Also called the “money muscle,” the “pork collar,” or in Italian the “capocollo,” the coppa roast is the muscle located on the opposite side of the bone in a pork shoulder. Because of the amount of intramuscular fat, this cut literally melts as it cooks and is fork tender. Many Italian delis cure the coppa roast and slice it thin for sandwiches and charcuterie boards.
How To Cook It
I personally like to smoke this meat low and slow. That said, it’s also ideal for roasting or reverse searing on the grill. I just find the smoke elevates this cut to next level status. If you don’t have a grill or smoker, you can absolutely roast it in the oven, or reverse sear it in cast iron like this tomahawk steak.
Tips for Cooking a Coppa Roast
The rub: I really like my barbecue rub used in this recipe, but if you like another rub, by all means use what you like. The amount here will make more than you need for this roast but it saves well and goes great on anything from ribs to pork loin.
The smoke: Again, personal preference here, but pork really does well with fruit wood. I use a combination of cherry and pecan for this coppa roast.
The temp: This cut will cook much faster than the whole pork shoulder, so keep your temps low and stable throughout the cook, and monitor the temps with a reliable leave-in thermometer. I recommend an internal temperature of between 190-195° F for the perfect sliced pork.
The spritz: Depending on the grill you’re using, you may need to spritz the pork every hour or so with water or apple juice in order to keep it moist. Take a quick peek at the one-hour mark and if it looks dry, give it a quick spritz.
The sauce: If you’re a fan of a nice sweet sauce, I recommend warming the sauce and adding it to the pork when it comes off the grill. The finishing temperature of the grill for this cook is high, and it will burn the sugars in most sauces.
Smoked Coppa Roast Recipe
Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook time: About 3-4 hours
1 2-lb coppa roast
1 tbsp neutral oil (like avocado or grapeseed)
For the rub:
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup smoked paprika
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp ground savory
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
How To Smoke a Coppa Roast
Step 2: While your grill is preheating, add all the ingredients for the rub into a shaker bottle and shake to mix. Then evenly coat the coppa roast with a very thin coat of neutral oil before seasoning the entire roast liberally with the rub.
Step 3: Place the meat on the grill over indirect heat, close the lid, and allow it to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 175° F. Then increase grill temperature to 300° F and allow the pork to continue cooking until it reaches 190° F before removing it from the grill.
TIP: Carryover cooking will bring the pork to a slightly higher internal temperature as it rests.
Step 4: Allow the pork to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Slice in 1/4-inch thick slices for service, and lightly dust with a sprinkle of rub.
- 1 2-lb coppa roast
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (like avocado or grapeseed)
For the rub:
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp ground savory
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- While your grill is preheating, add all the ingredients for the rub into a shaker bottle and shake to mix. Then evenly coat the coppa roast with a very thin coat of neutral oil before seasoning the entire roast liberally with the rub.
- Place the meat on the grill over indirect heat, close the lid, and allow it to smoke until the internal temperature reaches 175° F. Then increase grill temperature to 300° F and allow the pork to continue cooking until it reaches 190° F before removing it from the grill.
- Allow the pork to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Slice in 1/4-inch thick slices for service, and lightly dust with a sprinkle of rub.