Nepa's Pepperoni Texture

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by nogoer, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    Finally after a short hiatus from sausage i made my foray back into the hobby with Nepa's pepperoni recipe. Everything was going great right up until i tasted it and found a not so great texture. This has nothing to do with the recipe i'm sure as i have been having a hard time with texture for my last few batches which is what sent me into my hiatus. This batch seems to have a dryish, crumbly type texture and im not sure what im doing that caused it. Just for FYI i have been doing sausage for a couple years now and have many, many successful batches under my belt. That being said i am still a major noob!

    Three things i did different then Nepa 1) used natural casings, 2) i used 1/2 tsp encapsulated citric acid, 3) upped garlic powder to 1 tsp from 1/2. Everything else was the same. Any advice is thankfully welcome.

    Here is the batch hanging to bloom after coming out of the smoker


    Sliced open to reveal inside, hole is from the temp probe


    A slice pulled apart to show the texture

  2. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    What percentage of fat/lean would you say you had?  After grinding, did you mix the meat well to achive a good bind?  What temps did run your smoker?
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  3. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    I took the lazy way and bought pre ground beef at 85/15 like nepa suggested in his recipe. I am pretty sure i had a good bind. I mix by hand and it had that smooth nasty sticky texture i always mix too. Squeezing it out of my fist resulted in the nice uniform spew of meat. I cooked it like i cook kielbasa, start at 130F and up it 10 degrees per hour until it hits 148-152F. It took about 7 hours to get to 148 and the smoker temp ended up at 175 for the final setting. I did not use a water pan, but that was because this was very lean and pepperoni is supposed to be dryer because of it, right?
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  4. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I think it looks good.

    How many lbs was it
  5. coffee_junkie

    coffee_junkie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks good to me, I would eat it. 

    I find my texture gets messed up if I screw something up while stuffing, what did you use to stuff your casings?
  6. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Well your pepperoni looks awesome to me too. The meat does have what looks like a good texture to me too. So if Nepa's thinks it find I'd run with it. 
  7. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks good!

    Only time I had sausage a little crumbly was when I used 85/15 Beef.

    Was hard to slice in less than 3/8" thick slices, by hand, without it falling apart.

    I usually use 80/20, and never had that problem with that.

    Not saying that is what caused yours, but I think that caused mine.

    Still looks Great!

  8. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    @nepas - I used 2 lbs just like the sausage master suggested ;)

    @bearcarver - This was in fact 85/15 so maybe im discouraged for nothing.

    @mballi3011 & coffee_junkie - I have it bagged up in the fridge, can't drag myself to toss something that tastes great except for the texture. I did have some stuffing issues though. Since this was very lean i stuffed good and tight and when i started twisting into links i burst one pretty good. I then had to basically hand stuff the burst one. It wasn't the one i tasted though. Otherwise stuffing went ok.

    I'm always afraid of getting a soft sausage(keep your comments to yourself ) so i tend to over stuff alot and subsequently end up manually pushing the stuffed meat down trying to keep from bursting. In hindsight this might be why my textures are getting messed up?
  9. pantherfan83

    pantherfan83 Smoking Fanatic

    The only time I've had crumbly/dry/grainy textured sausage was when I made sausage out of pre-ground venison that I mixed with pork butt that I ground myself. I wasn't able to put my finger on what the problem was. I'm not sure if it was too lean to begin with, or if it wasn't mixed well enough which aided in the fat rendering out, or if I had temp spikes during smoking that caused the fat to render out.

    The next time I made sausage out of pre-ground venison, I used some extra back fat to add more fat than what the pork butt contributed and I mixed the meat for longer to make sure I had a good bind. When smoking, I was watched my temperature more carefully making sure not to rush it to the desired temp. Doing this resolved the issue, but I'm not sure which of these if any was the primary thing that led to the texture improvement
  10. scarbelly

    scarbelly Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sausage looks good to me but I am not there tasting it - maybe you should send out some samples for us to check it out for you[​IMG]
  11. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ditto what Scarbelly said


  12. Looks Good to Me.I wouldn't mind a sample
  13. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It sure looks good from here!
  14. nogoer

    nogoer Meat Mopper

    If postage was still a quarter you'd all be getting some samples! Maybe i'll try some from a different link, this was the one closest to the heater so maybe more fat rendered out. I really do need to build a nice large smoking shed like some of you. This MES is sometimes really hard to hang stuff in and laying sausage on racks gives the grill lines i don't like.

    Thanks everyone for your input, it is much appreciated!

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