Well, now that the holidays are over and the house starts to empty, it’s time to post one of the recipes that I have been working on! It was great having the family together – visiting and cooking, I hate to see everyone go home!
My wife (Daphne) and I have been making sausages for years, but it never occurred to us that we could also make pepperoni! It seems like we are forever buying expensive little baggies of pepperoni slices whenever we make homemade pizza (once a week…) It sounded like something that I needed to make.
Authentic pepperoni is supposed to be stuffed into casings and then hung to age for a minimum of 2 weeks at 60 degrees and 65% humidity. We live in the Mojave Desert, so unless it has just rained, you will never see 65% humidity – so I opted to stuff the pepperoni into casings, cure for two days in the refrigerator and then smoke slowly until the internal temperature hit 160f. The results were great! (And much lower in fat than the store bought stuff…)
A word about sanitation. Whether I am brewing beer or using grinders and such in the kitchen I like to mix up a sanitizing solution and give everything a quick rinse or wipe down. I prefer StarSan. 1/4 ounce will make up a gallon of solution, soak for a minute and no need to rinse. Great for countertops and cutting boards too. Important stuff…
You can make this recipe using all pork, all beef or a combination of the two which is what I used. I used 2 lbs of pork Sirloin roast (which was very lean) and 1.5 lbs of Beef Chuck roast (which had just a bit of fat) Run meat through a grinder. Total weight was 3.5 lbs.
For every lb of meat, add:
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed*
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed*
- 1/4 teaspoon anise seed*
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1.5 level teaspoons Morton’s Tender Quick
*Grind seeds somewhat with a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle
Add to ground meat and mix well.
Stuff meat into casings (I use the Kitchen Aid food grinder with the sausage stuffer attachments) and store in refrigerator for two days to cure. If you can’t (or don’t want to) stuff into casings, I have read that you can roll meat into a log shaped roll and wrap in plastic to cure, but I have not tried this method.
After two days, place in smoker and cook slowly until internal temp hits 160f. I used charcoal and kept the temp of the smoker at 180f – 200f and used Hickory chips. Alternately, you could place in oven @ 180f until meat hits 160f.
By the way, today was a beautiful day for a BBQ. 70+ degrees and lots of hummingbirds to keep me company!! (Not bad for January)