Pepperoni First try: Some Questions

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by chad martinell, Jan 12, 2015.

  1. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    So I may have jumped the gun making my first pepperoni snack sticks, and I want to know if I made any mistakes. Here is the recipe I used:

    2.5lbs. Chuck roast
    2.5lbs. Pork loin
    1/4C Kosher salt
    1tsp. Pink curing salt #1
    1tsp. Cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. allspice
    1tsp. Anise seed
    2tsp. Fennel seed
    2Tbsp. Paprika
    2Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar

    I ground the beef and pork through the large grinder plate (Kitchenaid food grinder attachment) then added all the ingredients, mixed, and then re-ground through the small plate. Then I stuffed the mixture into 17mm calogen casings. Next I hot-smoked them over applewood until an internal temp of 150F.

    I let them cool and vacuum sealed all but a few of them. I froze the vac-packed ones. That was all last night, and I just tried my first one tonight. I think they taste very good, but I was surprised by the texture. I'm used to the denser texture of the packaged Hormel brand pepperoni sticks. These are soft.

    I don't have anywhere to dry-cure so I had to hot-smoke, and I didn't use a recipe that called for bactoferm.

    Here is a picture of the finished product:


    Some Questions:
    1. Should I let them cure before smoking them? How long?
    2. After smoking should I give them some time before freezing? How long?
    3. Ruhlman's Charcuterie recipe for Peperone calls for Bactoferm and says that you can hot smoke them instead of dry curing. Is the bactoferm always needed (in which case did I ruin 5lbs of meat)?
    4. Ruhlman's recipe also calls for only beef. Any changes that I should make since I wanted to use a mixture of beef and pork?
    5. How Do you figure out your meat/fat ratio? Do you trim all the fat from your beef/pork and then add the correct percentage of the fat back in? I just ground the fat that was in the cut of beef/pork.
    6. Any other thought/suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  2. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am assuming the recipe called for Cure #2 and bactoferm.... is that correct.... since you did not clarify which cure you used....




    2.5lbs. Chuck roast
    2.5lbs. Pork loin
    1/4C Kosher salt
    1tsp. Pink curing salt
    1tsp. Cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp. allspice
    1tsp. Anise seed
    2tsp. Fennel seed
    2Tbsp. Paprika
    2Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
     
  3. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Yes, and yes.
     
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cure #2 is a long term cure.... fermenting is required.... bactoferm is required..... a fermenting chamber or fermenting in the correct temperature and humidity is required... You can NOT arbitrarily change a curing recipe....
    Using cure #2 takes a process that can take months if not longer to cure the meat.....

    Cure #2 needs bacteria to convert nitrate to nitrite so the food is safe to eat.... fermenting from around 50 degrees F to higher temps is required for the bacteria to do it's job on the nitrate.....

    When using a recipe for curing, always follow the process exactly to achieve a safe to eat product....


    Below is a short description of cure #2
    http://www.susanminor.org/forums/showthread.php?736-Curing-Salts


    http://curedmeats.blogspot.com/2009/04/critical-ingredient-cure-1-and-2.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  5. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Thank you for the information. I appreciate it.

    Maybe I stumbled into a win on this one, as I used cure #1, not #2. 1 tsp. appears to be the right amount for 5 lbs. of meat based on my findings through this site, and I smoked to an IT of 150°. Basically I made a snack stick, not a traditional pepperoni.
     
  6. chewmeister

    chewmeister Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    That sounds about right and explains the texture you were referring to. You made snack sticks.
     
  7. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You would be hard pressed to get the texture you were looking for without dry-curing of some type, Your casings look bigger than 17 mm or your picture doesn't do them justice. Keep experimenting and take notes! Stix look good !
     
  8. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Oops. I just checked and they were 19mm, not 17mm. I definitely want to get the metal stuffing tube, as the plastic Kitchenaid one is tapered, so I can't fit very much of the calogen casing onto the tube. I think I'm going to smoke them a 2nd time to dry and dry them out just a bit more.
     
  9. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    The order I'm seeing in most threads on snack sticks, sausages, etc... is this:
    1. Grind the meat
    2. Mix the meat with spices/cure
    3. Rest overnight in the fridge
    4. Stuff into casings
    5. Hang to dry/form a pellicle (I assume this has more effect with hog's casings than it does with callogen casings?)
    6. Smoke
    7. Eat.
    Is there any reason for having steps 3 and 4 in that order?
     
  10. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    When I make snack sticks I like to stuff before the binder sets up all the way. I find it is easier to stuff and you have less blowouts that way. You want to make sure you don't super cool them all the way for the overnight curing stage as the cure stops working if it gets too cold. You end up with the center of your sausage looking gray which means not properly cured. I also use a little extra liquid than I would for regular hog casings. It just makes the stuffing easier. I too have the kitchen aid small tube which fits on my 5 pound stuffer and it is a pain. I pretty much go casingless most of the time these days. But that takes a helping hand if you are not using a jerky cannon or something like that. Someone will probably be along to let you know the exact temp. to keep your fridge at for this. I go 38 degrees.
     
  11. chad martinell

    chad martinell Fire Starter

    Well, I put a second smoke on my pepperoni snack sticks. The taste is great, but i got them too dry. Even after the first smoke they were a little too dry. I need to add a) more fat I think, and b) more liquid into the mix. It will be a little while though, as I have 5lb. of snack sticks to work through before the next batch!
     

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