Spicy Pepperoni Two Ways: Sticks And Sliced (w/ Pics & Recipe)

Discussion in 'Sausage' started by tx smoker, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. So a few days ago a member posted looking for a recipe to make spicy pepperoni. R Blum responded with a recipe that caught my eye so copied it and pasted into a word document. Made the goodies earlier in the week and have nothing but rave reviews for the recipe. Thank you R Blum!! His recipe was for a 2# batch but I did a double batch, one to stuff into a 1 7/8" collagen casing to slice for pizzas and sandwiches, the other for spicy snack sticks. His recipe called for cayenne pepper (optional) which I used in the sticks but not the one to be sliced. I wanted to keep more of the traditional pepperoni flavor for pizzas and sammies. I also added some NFDM as a binder, some ECA, and high temp cheddar cheese to the sticks.

    Spices all mixed up. The one on the right has the cayenne for the sticks
    IMG_20180410_100050.jpg

    Meat ground up. I used 1 lb 10 oz pork shoulder left over from previous sausage and 2 lb 6 oz beef chuck
    IMG_20180410_101151.jpg

    Sticks and link stuffed. Of course I have no idea what it tastes like at this point but it sure does look like pepperoni!!
    IMG_20180410_120547.jpg
    Next day after hanging in the fridge overnight. Ready to go on the smoker. Once again, notice the color difference after resting for 24 hours
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    Off the smoker and sticks cut into lengths. Look at the color of these!!
    IMG_20180411_133350.jpg

    Cross section of the sticks. You can really see the cheese...oh boy :)
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    Large link with casing removed and cut in half to make slicing easier. Again, look at the color of this stuff. It's gorgeous. I let this rest overnight after smoking and before slicing.
    IMG_20180412_093528.jpg

    Cross section shot of the large link
    IMG_20180412_093321.jpg

    Sliced and ready for consumption
    IMG_20180412_094147.jpg

    Close up of the slices. All of the spices are clearly visible
    IMG_20180412_094152.jpg

    Sorry for the fuzzy pics of the large link. There was a lot of glare in the kitchen and it was hard to get a clear photo. All that aside, this sausage is just fantastic. A super deep, rich, complex flavor that is quintessential pepperoni. I've never tasted any that was close to the depth of flavor this has. Most of it was divided into 4 oz portions and vac sealed. I left one portion aside to make a pizza with. Wife saw the bag in the fridge when she got home, asked what it was and tried a slice. I was watching the news and she came into the family room with a look of absolute awe on her face and proclaimed that this was excellent stuff. That's all I needed to hear :) She had not tried the sticks but I did of course. They have perfect texture and a really nice spice twang that sets in a few seconds later, kind of catching you by surprise. Since that twang comes from the cayenne it's a lingering heat that stays with you for a few minutes. The crushed red pepper in the large link also adds a touch of heat, so both do have a twang, just more so in the sticks. This is a great beer drinking snack, that's for sure!! Here is the recipe. Please remember that the recipe is for a 2# batch but I did double that, divided the meat in half after it was ground, and mixed the spices in separate bowls.

    2 lbs of either -1lb Ground Beef with 1lb Ground Pork
    ½ tsp Cure #1
    2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp white pepper
    2 tsp mustard seed (or mustard powder)
    1 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seed.
    4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1/2 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp sugar
    5 tsp paprika
    1 tsp anise
    3 tsp salt
    2 tsp cayenne (optional but used in sticks only)
    1 ½ T NFDM
    1 ½ t ECA
    3 Tbs water (add all the dry to the water)
    4 oz high temp cheddar (in sticks only)

    Followed the standard for sausage smoking. Started at 130* for an hour or so, bumped temps up every hour until smoker was at 170* and cooked to an IT of 153. Ran the AMNPS with Pit Master's Choice pellets for about 4 hours to get a nice smoky flavor. The sticks picked up the smoke far more than the large link but that's to be expected. All in all this is one fantastic flavor bomb and is on the to-do-again list. If you love pepperoni, this is the recipe for you. If you're on the fence, you may consider something different or possibly reducing the spice content for something less bold.....but we love bold flavors so this one is perfect for the wife and I.

    Bringing Italy to Lago,
    Robert
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018
  2. azbohunter

    azbohunter Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Looks like something I'd like to try with venison and pork! Did you use red pepper flakes and Cayenne both in the sticks?
     
  3. "Looks like something I'd like to try with venison and pork! Did you use red pepper flakes and Cayenne both in the sticks?"

    Red pepper was used in both. Only put the cayenne in the sticks (in addition to the red pepper) for some added kick. If you're using venison I'd recommend using a higher pork ratio for the added fat. The venison is going to be a lot leaner than the beef I used.
     
    azbohunter likes this.
  4. SmokinAl

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

    Those look fantastic!
    I bookmarked this & will definitely give that recipe a try!
    Congrats on getting a spin on the carousel!
    Al
     
  5. dwdunlap

    dwdunlap Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Congratulations and now eager to try! Thanks for report and pictures.

    Two questions: You state you only added cayenne to the sticks and I'm wondering what you liked better, with or without? Also, since I am only familiar with sliced pepperoni bought in the bag from the store, I wonder what makes Hormel's so much redder and darker?

    DWD
     
  6. "Those look fantastic!
    I bookmarked this & will definitely give that recipe a try!
    Congrats on getting a spin on the carousel!"

    Thank you Al! Once again I am honored to be among such esteemed company. I feel it to be an honor getting a ride on the carousel. Wait till you see the next sausage I'm going to post as well as the pizza I make tonight with this pepperoni. Oh baby.....

    Robert
     
  7. "Congratulations and now eager to try! Thanks for report and pictures."

    Thank you and you're more than welcome. This whole forum is about sharing info and I'm just trying to do my trivial part and contribute what I can.

    "Two questions: You state you only added cayenne to the sticks and I'm wondering what you liked better, with or without?"

    That's a difficult question to answer as they were spiced differently for different purposes and both served their intended purpose. Sitting at a pub enjoying a cold adult libation with friends, the sticks are the way to go. To make a pizza, I wanted something a bit more traditional so that's where the sliced chub comes into play. They both have superb flavor just one is a bit spicier than the other.

    "Also, since I am only familiar with sliced pepperoni bought in the bag from the store, I wonder what makes Hormel's so much redder and darker?"

    I can only guess here but I'd say it's one of two things, or possibly a combination of both. The paprika is what really makes the coloring. I'd guess that Hormel is using a bit more paprika than other companies or they are using artificial coloring to create the illusion of a deeper flavor. Hormel is what we used to buy but alas, no more. I just tossed the last of what we had on hand into the trash and will never buy from a store again. This stuff is just too good and unequaled by anything mass produced and commercially available.

    Time to make a pizza,
    Robert
     
  8. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    TXS, Nice looking sticks and roni ! like
     
  9. motocrash

    motocrash Master of the Pit

    Beautiful looking stuff! Makes me want to see the pizza:cool:
    Congrats on the Carousel.
     
  10. Smaterchew

    Smaterchew Newbie

    Ok, I'm hooked...I was just telling a buddy I'd like to try making pepporoni....giving this a try next weekend. One question, what did you use for casings on the snack sticks? Also, how did you tie them off on the ends? I've not made snack sticks yet so this will be a first. Also, I know what ECA is, but am drawing a blank for the NFDM?
     
  11. Definitely going to add this to my list, nicely done.
     
  12. R Blum

    R Blum Fire Starter

    Glad you like them. I love my pepperoni with a little kick and I found this recipe just to my liking. You got me hungry for pizza now. I've been sick with the flu (even with a flu shot) for 5 days and without power for almost 2 days, so another day of soup.
     
  13. Thanks to all who have replied with kind words, likes, and questions. The wife and I have been working in the yard all day as we were not able to yesterday due to the weather. Now we have to go meet some friends for libations and dinner. I will get to everybody's questions tomorrow....so please stay tuned for a bit longer.

    Now back to our regularly scheduled program,
    Robert
     
  14. Rings Я Us

    Rings Я Us Smoking Guru Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Nice job! One day I need to try that.
     
  15. redheelerdog

    redheelerdog Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Looking great, I like them spicy too.
     
  16. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Looks great! Bookmarking this one and will try it for sure. Thanks....
     
  17. Nice looking pepperoni there tx.....Like!
     
  18. "One question, what did you use for casings on the snack sticks? Also, how did you tie them off on the ends?"

    That's actually two questions :) I used 18-20 mm sheep casings from Syracuse Casing Co.

    To tie the casings, I pull off a few inches of casing from the end of the stuffing horn, tie a single knot into it, and slide it back onto the horn. Run out the desired length of sausage, pinch it at the horn, slide a couple inches of casing off with no meat in it, and cut with a pair of scissors. Cut pieces of string 6 to 8 inches long and tie them off into loops.

    IMG_20180416_130237.jpg

    Loop this back into itself basically creating a slip knot. Simple but extremely easy to do and very effective!!
    IMG_20180416_130305.jpg

    Slip the end of the casing you just cut through the loop and cinch down tight. That's it. I don't tie the second end of the casing and this works very well. I'll hold even large sausages so they can be hung to bloom overnight. I'd played with several different ways to finish off the links and this is by far the easiest and most effective.

    Robert
     

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