How to Make Homemade Pepperoni - Recipe
How to Make Pepperoni
Learn how to make Pepperoni with Walton's and Meatgistics. Read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
What Is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is a cured style of Salami that is traditionally made from Pork and Beef, but it can be made from 100% of either one or other meats like Turkey or Wild Game. If you are going to slow cure it then using 100% pork is recommended. In America you can basically break down Pepperoni into Pizza Pepperoni and Sandwich Pepperoni, the Pizza Pepperoni is usually smaller in diameter and Sandwich Pepperoni is larger in diameter. Both can either be smoked in a similar fashion as a Summer Sausage or cold cured. We will be going over how to make smoked pepperoni with a smaller diameter today but you can follow this same process for making larger diameter, just use a large casing like the Fibrous Summer Sausage Casings.
4 lb of Beef Trim
6 lb of Pork Butt
Since we are making 10 lb of pepperoni we will need to divide out the seasoning, cures water and additives we are going to us. Since this bag of seasoning is enough for 25 lb of meat and we are making 10 lb we need to divide the weight of the seasoning by 2.5, make sure you do the same for the additives as well. That gives us .562 of a lb of seasoning, 1.6 oz of carrot fiber, 1.6 oz of Encapsulated Citric Acid and 0.8 of a quart of water.
With Pepperoni we need to keep our pork and our beef separate until later in the process as we are going to want some particle definition in our product where we can see nice chunks of fat. A major factor in particle definition that is often overlooked is keeping your meat cold, we say it all the time for food safety reasons but keeping your meat cold is even more important here as we need it for particle definition.
Grind your beef twice, first through a 3/16 and then through a 1/8 plate and set aside. Next grind your pork twice through a 3/8th plate. Keep the two meat blocks separate still.
Mix your beef, water, seasoning, cure and any other additives (other Encapsulated Citric Acid) for 3 minutes, until the seasoning is totally mixed in. Then add your pork and mix for 4 more minutes. If you are using Encapsulated Citric Acid add it during the last minute of mixing to prevent the encapsulation from breaking and releasing the acid into the meat too early.
We are using the 1.5" X 12" Fibrous Summer Sausage Casings for our pepperoni today. To make these pliable we need to soak them in hot water for about an hour before they are ready to use. To do this simply remove them from the package and soak as many of them as you will need, the rest can be stored in a cool dry area for future use. If you end up soaking more casings than you needed you can dry them back out and store them for future use.
Load your casings onto your stuffing tube, since these are Fibrous Casings we are not worried about blowouts so simply stuff until the casing is full and smooth. Once you have stuffed all of your sausage you will need to close the open end with a Hog Ring or you can tie them closed as well.
With Pepperoni we will want a longer link than we would with Bratwurst, something around 12-18" each.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Stage 1 - 125F for 1 hour
Stage 2 - 140F for 1 hour
Stage 3 - 155F for 2 hours
Stage 4 - 175F until internal meat temp of 160F
To help set the casing to the meat and also prevent wrinkling we need to shower the Pepperoni or put them in an ice water bath. It should only take around 10 to 15 minutes to get the temperature to drop down. Then, we’ll let them set out for about 1 hour at room temperature before moving to the refrigerator/freezer. After we are totally done with the cooling process, then we will package in vacuum pouches for longer term storage.
Making Pepperoni is only slightly more difficult than some other cured sausages as particle definition is important and achieving that requires an extra step or two.
- The particle definition only affects the appearance though so if you do not care about that, feel free to mix and grind all meat together.
- Collagen Casings work just as well and are easier to handle and less prone to blow outs.
Watch WaltonsTV: How to Make Pepperoni
PapaSop last edited by
That looks great!! Will definitely go on the to do list.
dtabor last edited by
I tried some pepperoni a friend made using your spices and directions, it tasted great but didnt have the “hard” consistency of pepperoni that you purchase in a store. Was something done wrong or is this normal?
@dtabor This is normal, there are two types of pepperoni dry cured and cooked. The dry fermented pepperoni will be a hard pepperoni where as the cooked will have a consistency closer to summer sausage. We just recently made a batch of Fermented and Dry Cured here and will eventually be releasing a video on the process and the products needed to do it.
I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.
Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.
Thanks Jonathon! One question tho! You eluded to 178 being high for a temp! Don’t you guys recommend setting the temp at 175 during the final stage to completion to internal temp? Three degrees shouldn’t make that much difference should it??
Sounds reasonable. Thanks for your input. Pulling the meat at 152 will make a big difference I bet! Thanks again.
@Kinger Thanks for the information. Your process, other than going to 178, is on in my mind. The only thing I do differently is an ice bath for 20 minutes. Showering for 10 minutes, if you are running a cycle and a fan in your smoker can work, but I still think an ice bath would bring it down faster and more. Last time I did thick summer sausage it was down to 110 in 20 minutes, I also tried showering it at 2 minutes on 2 minutes off for 20 minutes and it was only down to 136 (ish) but i did not have a fan running on them.
One more thing you might want to try, if you are stalled towards the end you can finish them up by putting them in a vacuum bag (I have done then hot, right from the smoker, some condensation in the bag but it still gets a good vac) and get some water going at around 165, it should get up to temp in under an hour depending on the thickness.