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.

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.”

You can also currently find Elevation’s coppa at Beast & Bottle and the Nickel in Hotel Teatro.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.