This Capuccio’s Chevalata Could Make You A BBQ Legend
Capuccio’s Meats, a little butcher shop nestled in at 9th & Kimball Streets, is the kind of place that has made the Italian Market one of the iconic places of Philadelphia, known the world over. It has been there for nearly 100 years. But like the best shops of the Italian Market — which, it should be noted, has been a lot more than Italian for decades now — it’s the farthest thing imaginable from being some tourist trap: The shop is in use, serving regular customers daily, and what they offer is not exclusively sausage, but the sausages they make are so deeply good, so redolent of a world that’s slipping by as we speak, that it’s hard to think of anything else when you think of them.
And while their standard menu of variations on the familiar Italian sausage are each pretty great in their own ways, the chevalata is something special. So special, in fact, that they seem to own the very word. Finding its exact origins is tough — you will find chevalet, chivalade, and any number of luganegas out in this world, but Capuccio’s seems to own the very word and thing that is “chevalata.” Some folks might also associate it with Easter, even though, as of this writing, Capuccio’s offers it year round. Here’s how they describe it:
Coiled sausage thin with fresh pork, sharp provolone cheese, and fresh Italian flat leaf parsley. Simply the best sausage you will ever eat.
All true. The Capuccio’s chevalata is essential and perfect the way an Isgro’s cannoli or a Stock’s poundcake is essential and perfect — except it’s meat. It’s held together by two wooden spikes, and calls to mind, to this writer, the crucifix joint from Pineapple Express. And now that it’s summer, it’s hard to think of a better thing to drop onto a grill. Sear it well on both sides then cover for 15 minutes, and here is God’s own mic-dropping retort to a Bloomin’ Onion: Pulling this apart over a plate with friends will make you not even want anything else off the grill. Come to think of it, might be best to save it for dessert after all.