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Nepa's Pepperoni Texture

nogoer

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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

 

pantherfan83

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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?
 
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nogoer

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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?
 
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SWFLsmkr1

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I think it looks good.

How many lbs was it
 

coffee_junkie

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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?
 

mballi3011

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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. 
 

Bearcarver

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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!

Bear
 

nogoer

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@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?
 

pantherfan83

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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
 

scarbelly

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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
 

SWFLsmkr1

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Ditto what Scarbelly said

SAMPLES 

 

SmokinAl

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It sure looks good from here!
 

nogoer

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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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