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Dry-Cured Pepperoni

Dry cured pepperoni is a highly pungent pork and beef sausage seasoned with anise seed, cayenne pepper and paprika. It’s widely known for its spicy-sweet aftertaste and no doubt a major reason why so many refer to it as the ultimate pizza topping. It needs to dry age at least three weeks, so plan ahead when you make this sausage.

2 1/2 lbs pork butt (1.13 kg)
2 lbs beef chuck, marbled (907 g)
1 lb fresh beef fat (454 g)
3 tbsp Bactoferm LHP (10.3 g)*
3 1/4 tbsp pickling salt (63.4 g)
1 1/4 tsp Prague Powder #2 (7.0 g)
1 tsp garlic powder (3.1 g)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (6.6 g)
1 tbsp powdered dextrose (8.7 g)
1 1/2 tbsp anise seed, ground (8.1 g)
3 1/4 tbsp paprika (23.4 g)
2 tbsp corn syrup solids (27.6 g)
65mm beef middles or 2 1/2” diameter protein-lined fibrous casings*

1. Chill pork, beef and fat to 31°F (-0.55°C), grind one time through a 1/4” (6mm) plate.
2. Prepare slurry by mixing F-LC culture with enough chlorine-free water to equal to 0.5% of the batch weight, stir well, set aside.
3. Combine ground meat with remaining ingredients; mix well until it’s batter like, add culture slurry, mix additional 2-3 minutes.
4. Stuff meat batter into beef middles or protein-lined fibrous casings, tie off in lengths to fit your drying chamber.
5. Ferment product at 85°F (29°C) at 90% relative humidity (RH) for 24 hours.
6. Dry age at 55-60°F (13-16°C) @ 70-75% relative humidity for 4-5 weeks or until product has lost 30% of its green weight.
7. Pepperoni has a shelf life of 75 days at 50-59°F (10-15°C) at 68-70% RH if the original casing is left intact.

Notes:
*The manufacturer of Bactoferm LHP meat starter culture suggests that you use at least at least one quarter of the 42-gram packet for small batches under 50 pounds. This breaks down to 10.3 grams or 3 tbsp per batch (see the manufacturer's complete instructions included with each culture packet).

A smoker can be used to incubate (ferment) dry and semi-dry sausages. Simply hang product in smoker, close damper and regulate the heat and relative humidity, according to the formulation instructions––no smoke.

Cure #2 is crucial in the production of dry sausage. It inhibits the growth of unwanted bacteria while improving the color and flavor of the final product.

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