Wow, tuff way to learn,
I made a 5# batch of pepperoni over the weekend.
It is not as stiff as it should be, I can press my finger against it and it will dimple.
Other than that it tastes great, looks great, smells great and everyone is eating it up, its is just that it has more the consistency and feel of a regular sausage than a stick of pepperoni.
Here is what I did:
Meat…half pork butt, half beef chuck
Tenderquick, 1 teaspoon per pound plus one extra (six teaspoons)
Wine, about a cup
Water, about half a cup
No extra salt, just what was in the Tenderquick.
I made the cubed the meat on Saturday, cubed it, put in the cure, spices, wine and water, then mixed it and ground it up.
Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator over night.
Next day, I stuffed it into natural hog casings.
To cook it, I put it in the smoker (without smoke at this point) at 130 degrees for two hours
Next, I kicked up the temperature to 150 degrees for another two hours, still no smoke.
Last I raised it to an internal temp of 170 degrees. This took about half an hour from the 150 degree mark and thats when I added the wood chips for smoke. When it hit 170 degrees I took it out of the smoker.
Next, it went into an ice water bath for about 20 minutes.
Last, I hung it up again to air out indoors for about an hour, then put it away in the refrigerator.
It is a Master built electric smoker, I made a rack so the sticks hang vertically.
Sadly, the 5lb batch will be gone by tomorrow evening, and everyone loves how it tastes. It just needs some help with its presentation.
So what did I miss and how do I get it to be stiffer like pepperoni should be?
Ed_Orum I do not have anything to offer regarding the texture but I have read that meat will not absorb any smoke once the IT reaches 160 degrees. That may not ably to the casing. Typically if I am smoking some that will get wrapped I wait until the IT reaches that 160 degree mark.
Does the meat have less firmness than any other type of “normal” sausage? I wonder if you are comparing stiffness and texture to a dry cured pepperoni…? What some people think of as pepperoni is not processed in the same way as other sausages like brats, summer sausage, snack sticks, etc. It can be a true dried sausage that is fermented and dry cured, but not ever truly cooked or thermally processed. That is a lot of what gives pepperoni it’s hard firmness and specific texture when eating. That is just not something that can be completely replicated in a cooked sausage. I think the dryness is a big key there, but the texture cannot be fully emulated if we are comparing something thermally processed to not.
Other than that, what I think is one of the best ways to make pepperoni, without doing the old-world dry cured and fermented sausage, is what we go through in our standard pepperoni recipe shown here: https://meatgistics.waltonsinc.com/topic/545/how-to-make-homemade-pepperoni-recipe
I would check out your process compared to that one, and see if there are things you can change to match it.
The last time we made pepperoni here, it was amazing!!