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Discussion in 'Sausage' started by SmokinAl, Jul 28, 2018.

  1. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Ok guys I have been wanting to get into dry curing for quite some time now, but TheSausageMaker had a sale on UMAi casings & so that put me over the edge. I bought 4 packs, Bactoferm, cure #2, and their dry cure pepperoni seasoning. I read that I should use a combo of lean beef & lean pork or just one or the other then add fatback. Well I looked everywhere & couldn't find any fat back. Every meat man I talked to said he had a guy that came in everyday & bought all their trimmings. So I thought I would just grind up a butt & see what I got. I bought a little over an 8 lb butt & when I cut the bone out I ended up with 3 packages of 2 1/2 lbs. each. Which would be a good amount for an experiment.
    This is the recipe I used:
    2 1/2 lb. coarse ground pork butt
    1/2 tsp cure #2
    3 oz. SM pepperoni seasoning (not enough, next time I'll use 4 1/2 oz.)
    .15 gram Bactoferm ( I used bactoferm frm 52 us, because it said it would ferment in warmer climates)
    3/8 cup NFDM
    1/2 cup distilled water

    I practically froze the meat before grinding it & used the large plate.
    Then back into the freezer for a half hour & then mix in all the dry ingredients using wooden paddles so as not to get the meat warmed up.
    Next dissolve the bactoferm in the water & mix it with the meat thoroughly with my hands until it became stiff.
    Next I stuffed it into the UMAi casings, I used the 32mm casings, I think next time I will use the larger 50 mm casings. Which by the way I'm going to use tomorrow to make some dry cured Chorizo. I hung the sausage in Judy's craft room which is about 79-80 degrees. The bactoferm says it will ferment anywhere from 70-90 degrees, so this seemed just right.

    Here is a photo of when they were first stuffed & hung to ferment.

    After one day they are already starting to turn red.

    At the end of the second day they are really getting red.


    I weighed them all & put tags on each sausage, the recipe said to look for a 35-40% drop in weight, so I put the weights on the tags. And onto a drying rack in the fridge.


    After about 9 days they had lost about 38-39 % of their weight & I thought that they were ready.


    So here is the first UMAi pepperoni that a I have ever made. I was very surprised at the taste. I was expecting the traditional factory pepperoni you see everywhere here in the US. But what I got was a really deep beefy flavor that had ample spice, (next batch will be much spicier).


    I also found that if you let it sit at room temp for a half hour or so the flavor intensified even more. I had some smoked jalapeno jack cheese hat I thought would go with it. So I sliced some up & put the both on saltine crackers.


    Snack time!

    Well I had to just double up on the sausage & cheese!!

    And I took the casings off & vac packed them & put them in the freezer for some fantastic appetizers at a later date!


    This has opened a whole new world for me. I have a lot of time on my hands & really like to try new things especially food related. I'm very happy with the way the pepperoni turned out, and honestly when you do something for the first time you have to wonder did I do something wrong & am I going to be in the bathroom for the next 24 hours. But luckily this one turned out good & i'm really looking forward to making the Chorizo tomorrow. I know one thing for sure, it will get more spices than it calls for & it will go into the 50 mm UMAi casings.
    I can only hope that the rest of my retirement will be spent doing fun things like this. Judy & I live a very simple life & we really like doing things together, especially cooking!
    We have been together for about 60 years, so we kind of know what the other person is thinking!
    Thanks for letting me tell my story about my first experience with the UMAi bags. If you haven't tried them yet I would suggest you give it a try!!
  2. WaterinHoleBrew

    WaterinHoleBrew Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Awesome Al, glad you tried the Umai & enjoyed it! Dry curing is definitely a hobby I enjoy. BTW, that pepperoni looks phenomenal! Looking forward to seeing the chorizo!
  3. johnnyb54

    johnnyb54 Meat Mopper

    Excellent looking pepperoni!! Good luck on your new adventure and looking forward to seeing your Chorizo.
  4. JckDanls 07

    JckDanls 07 Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Al.... I'm jealous... you beat me to it... Rick gave me some bags and some other stuff.. I need to go through it and figure out what I got... good looking stuff right there...
  5. Adding this to my list of things to try! Looks phenomenal!
  6. myownidaho

    myownidaho Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    Great job, Al! Now your hooked. Get yerself up on that carousel.
  7. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Oh Boy---Look out Pepperoni Pizza Time, in the new Pizza Oven!!:)
    No more of that store bought stuff!!!

    Nice Job Buddy,

    KrisUpInSmoke likes this.
  8. casmurf

    casmurf Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

  9. casmurf

    casmurf Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    Al was this the Sausage Maker Smoked pepperoni season blend or another one ?
  10. chilerelleno

    chilerelleno Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Al, that looks great, nice job on the first.
    I'd wipe that board clean and be begging for more.
  11. oberst

    oberst Meat Mopper

    I’ve used the 50mm casings and your post will have me trying the 32mm. Your fast dry time with the smaller casings surprised me. For some applications that should be a nice option.
  12. SFLsmkr1

    SFLsmkr1 Legendary Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Nice going Al
    Looks good, ya did it.
  13. TomKnollRFV

    TomKnollRFV Master of the Pit Group Lead

    Damn...! That's my response...that looks amazing! Those UMAi bags are amazing it seems!
  14. forktender

    forktender Smoking Fanatic

    That looks amazing Al.
    Did you buy a stuffer or did you use the grinder to stuff? If you don't have a stuffer I highly recommend that you look into buying one, it makes the job 10x easier. I use a cheap Harbor Freight stuffer for snack sticks and summer sausage. I haven't tried doing any dry cured meats yet. I would love to learn to make some dry cured red wine soppressata calabrese like my Nona and Papa used to make when I was a kid. It was a family event that took pretty much the whole day, I was just a little guy but I can still smell and taste it.
    The pepperoni that you and your wife made looks amazing. 10 points.

    Great job.
  15. Gary Uk

    Gary Uk Fire Starter

    Wow, looks absolutely fabulous Al
    I love a meat and cheese platter
    Wish I had the time to try out this sort of think, something for the future no doubt.
  16. Steve H

    Steve H Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    That looks amazing! I'm really thinking about trying this.
  17. gmc2003

    gmc2003 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member

    Geeze Al your on a roll lately. That pepperoni looks absolutely superb. Now lets see that pepperoni resting on top of one of your pizzas.

    Point for sure.

  18. tropics

    tropics Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Al Nicely done I to was a little disappointed with the small casing.I do have the 70s and that is perfect size for Sopresatta,Salami even pepperoni.Try the recipes that come with the bags you will like them.Points
  19. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Justin!
    I appreciate it!

    Thanks Johnny!
    I hope the Chorizo turns out as good as this did.
    I may have just lucked out on my first try!

    Yea Keith, you definitely need to give this a try, I have really been intimidated by this whole process & have had numerous conversations with Rick & he told me it was easy, but I just never pulled the trigger. Now I wish I had been making this stuff all a along.

    Thank you Sir!!

    Thank you, I think Adam put me up there, and I have to thank him for that!

    Thanks John!
    I think we are gonna make a Calzone with some of it tonight, cause I still have some Ricotta left from the last Calzone & need to use it up!

    Yes it was TheSausageMaker dry cured pepperoni blend, they make 2 kinds one for smoking & one for dry curing. If you use it I would add about 1/3 more of the spice blend than they recommend.

    Thank you John!
    We ate the whole stick in about 15 minutes. This has really been a fun experience!

    I was very surprised too, I thought at least 2 weeks, but kept checking the weight every couple of days & it really went fast. I'm sure the 50 mm casings will take longer. And I'm excited to give it a go today with the Chorizo.

    Thanks Rick, I know we have talked many times about this & I drilled you with question after question, and you were kind enough to keep answering me & assuring me that I could do this. I really can't believe how easy this was. Honestly I was a little afraid to eat the first piece, but went ahead & ate the whole stick, with Judy's help. Then we both just sat there wondering who would get sick first! But it's all good & thank you again for all you encouragement!

    Thank you Tom, and yes your right those bags make having a dedicated curing chamber a thing of the past. I don't see how you could get a much better result with the real thing!

    Thank you Dan!
    And yes I have a 5# LEM stuffer, I've had it for several years & it has never given me a bit of trouble. I like it because it has metal gears & it's easy to clean.

    Thank you Steve!
    Well all I can say is go for it, you won't regret it!

    Thanks Chris!
    Pizza next weekend!
    Calzone tonight!!

    Thanks Richie,
    I ended up using a mix of 2 different recipes, cause I have always liked TheSausageMakers seasoning blends. But in this case they needed to be a little stronger, we like heat! I bought the 50 mm size, but will try the 70 mm. When I bought the 2 sizes the smaller one seemed perfect for pepperoni, and even when I stuffed them they looked like a good size. But I didn't realize how much they would shrink up. It will be interesting to see how the Chorizo comes out with the 50 mm casings.
    forktender likes this.
  20. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Thanks Gary!
    It's really not that time consuming, although it does take up a shelf in the fridge!