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.
@weatherbow21 I agree with Jonathon of several points. I have been making snack sticks and summer sausage for years and I have scrapped my fair share of batches. There is certainly a difference between wild game and beef or pork from the store. My advice on this, buy a 10lb “log” of 80/20 from Sam’s. This takes out the grinding and having to mix in the right amount of fat. I have made several successful batches this way. BE PATIENT! The more meat you have in the smoker, the longer it is going to take, however, you will find that your temps will fluctuate less. If you get impatient and crank up the heat, you increase your chances of “fatting out”. Been there, done that.
You don’t have to put the entire batch in the smoker at one time as long as you are not using citric acid. Put in a few pounds, follow the temp settings in the recipe, and you will likely have good results in 4-5 hours max. I never set my smokers above 170, but I may try since I am seeing 175 a lot in the Walton’s recipes.
For a binder, I always use soy protein, but the type of binder that you use is based on your preference. I never make a batch without it.
I also document everything from start to finish. I find this helps me to remember not to leave ingredients out of my recipe. It sucks when you get done stuffing and then find your bag of cheese still sitting on the counter. I document my temp settings, time of day, internal temp, smoke on, smoke off, etc. and I do this with every batch I make. You can then record your results, flavor, texture, presentation. I often go back through my notes just skimming results to see what worked and what didn’t, especially if I am trying a new recipe. If you are fairly new to sausage making and you are not busting casings during the stuffing process, you might not be packing them tight enough. You definitely do not want to under stuff. You will get unsightly fat deposits between the meat and the casing. Don’t give up!
I used the carrot fiber at rate suggested and my homemade 60/40 pork/venison sausage came out dry…was really disappointing…any idea what happened?
I want to smoke some turkey necks this weekend to use as seasoning meat. I want to smoke them at around 165-170° (smoker temp) so I can get maximum smoke before they are cooked internally. I know with sausage you have to cure at these temps. What about turkey necks? Are they safe to smoke without any sort of cure with the pit temp being around 160-170°?