Papa’s Pepperoni

Papa’s pepperoni (or maybe “Paparoni”) is loosely based on a variety of other recipes and adjusted for my taste preference, but it is not too spicy so that Teal and the kids / grandkids will enjoy it as well. I LOVE pepperoni pizza (including cold for breakfast). However, I detest the little pools of grease seen on many pizzas (especially when cold). Additionally, the window for “optimum spiciness” that satisfies both myself and Teal is rather narrow. The first batch was a hit and we have the second batch in the drying chamber. So it is time to publish the recipe. I will add updates with the results of this and later batches.

Take a couple of pork shoulders. Debone and remove the majority of the intermuscular fat as well as any glands or lymph nodes. Once the meat has been cleaned up slice into 1″ strips and return the meat to the freezer to firm up. You want the meat to be partially frozen when grinding. Grind the meat twice – once on the 3/8″ / 10mm die and a second time on the 3/16″ / 5mm die. The grinder below is new (Lem Big Bite #12) and a HUGE improvement on the Kitchenaid or the hand crank grinder

Passing the meat through for the second grind

Weigh the meat (in grams) so that you can calculate the rest of the ingredients.

Weigh out the ingredients, dissolve the culture in 1/2c tepid water and allow it to hydrate for 15 min.

Sprinkle the ingredients over the meat and add the culture. Mix roughly by hand. Mix thoroughly in batches to get the meat nice and sticky. I do this in the Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle on speed 4 for 3 min per batch. Each batch is 3-4 lbs (1.5-2 Kg).

Stuff into the casings. I use a Hakka 11lb vertical sausage stuffer. Tie off the casings and prick all over.

Dip the sausages in a Bactoferm Mold 600 solution (or spray).

Check the initial pH , it should be under 5.9 Incubate / ferment at 70-80F for 15-24 hours. The final pH should be between 5.2 and 4.9. This is a safe range and not too acidic (it can drop quite a bit further if you are not careful). If you are using a different culture, the time and temp may be different. I like the B-LC-007 as it is bioprotective and aids in restraining the growth of harmful bacteria.

Fermenting overnight in the oven.

Move to the drying chamber at 55F and 80% humidity for the first week, 75% thereafter. Target weight loss is 45-50%. At that point it is ready to slice and serve. This should take 4-8 weeks

Finished pepperoni prior to equalization

Note that in the first batch (above) there was some case hardening. These were vacuum bagged and placed in the fridge for a month to equalize and they then were ready and the color was uniform.

The pepperoni is delicious. It is MUCH leaner than store bought (no grease puddles) and is able to be eaten plain / raw or cooked. It is a new family favorite and a lot seems to disappear while we are “decorating” the pizzas.

Fermented sausages are an advanced topic and if not done properly, you can suffer food poisoning. Please do not take this post as the complete story. If you are embarking on making these, I strongly suggest reading:

The Art of Making Fermented Sausages by Marianski