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When Chad Nelan and Alex Windes founded Elevation Charcuterie and Artisan Meats in 2016, they had a grand vision of producing not only the salami they’ve become known for, but to also craft whole-muscle products such as guanciale (cured pork jowl, known for its pivotal role in pasta carbonara), pancetta (essentially unsmoked bacon), coppa (cured pork collar, also called capicola), bresaola (air-dried salted beef), and more.
Finally, this past May, after months of paperwork and much waiting, Elevation received USDA approval to create a whole-muscle product line; the results, which have to cure for a few weeks and then hang-dry for two to three months, are just now hitting area restaurants and markets. If you’re a meat-lover, be sure to keep an eye out so you can taste the care that’s gone into each item.
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The new line includes sweet and spicy coppa, sweet and spicy lonza (cured pork loin), Wagyu bresaola, pancetta, and guanciale. The coppa is silky, smooth, and rich; the bresaola, made from the lean eye of round, is aromatic from the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and juniper used in its cure.
Chef-owner Josh Niernberg of Bin 707 Foodbar in Grand Junction has had Elevation’s coppa on his menu for two weeks. “As soon as their whole-muscle products came out, we got samples in; we were completely blown away by the quality,” says Niernberg. “Whole muscle is really hard to do well, and [Elevation’s] tastes just like it should.” You’ll find the coppa on Bin 707’s ham and mixed charcuterie boards; Niernberg also plans to start using the guanciale, which he describes as “outrageously fantastic.”
Denver restaurateur Troy Guard also has Elevation’s coppa on the menu at Guard & Grace, where it appears as a rotating special on the happy hour charcuterie-and-cheese plate. “We always love working with local purveyors to showcase the unique products made right here in Colorado,” says Guard. “Elevation has a great variety of products and it’s awesome how unique the flavor is for each one.”