Venison Pepperoni

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Original poster
Apr 6, 2016
I researched a few recipes for venison pepperoni before trying my hand, and after finding a few that sounded good, I did some mixing and matching of ingredients and some tweaking to my own tastes. What I came up with follows, and I do have some pics--although I didn't get any pics in the smoker which I think is punishable by death around here? Sorry about that...

6 pounds venison, cubed

4 pounds pork butt, cubed

5 Tablespoons kosher salt

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Tablespoons cayenne pepper

3 Tablespoons paprika

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

1 Tablespoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper

1 Tablespoon pulverized fennel seed

2 cups of ice cold beer

2 cups of nonfat dry milk

2 tsp Instacure 

Casings, large mahogany (2.5" x 20")

Soak casing for 30 minutes in warm water.

Coarse grind meats together, then regrind through a fine plate while still cold. Sprinkle dry milk over meat, then make a slurry with remaining ingredients and pour over everything. Mix very well by hand until thoroughly incorporated, then stuff into casings (each casing holds about 3#s when full). Hold overnight in the fridge.

Dry logs at 150 degrees for 1 hour, then crank heat to 170 and add smoke (I used hickory and maple chunks). Smoke for 2 hours, then bump to 175-180 until internal reaches 152-155. Ice bath until IT drops below 120, then hang and let bloom for 2 hours, then refrigerate. Slice and serve, or freeze.

My only variance from the recipe was that it got 1.5 hours of smoke before I got rained/snowed out. I moved the sticks inside to finish in the oven at 175. I pulled at exactly 152 internal, into an ice bath, then hung to bloom for 2 hours. I resisted the urge to cut into them and let them rest in the fridge overnight. Texture wise, I am quite pleased. Granted, a true pepperoni is dry cured, but this is a reasonable approximation.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the final product. It's got some smoke, some salt, a fair amount of heat, and just enough "anise" flavor for my tastes (if you are wondering what "pulverized fennel seed" is, it's regular fennel seed that's placed in a freezer bag and smashed with a hammer until it's a powder--I just didn't want full seeds in my slices). Now to throw them against the meat slicer and package for the freezer. Thinking thin slices will do nicely on a "wild game" pizza. Thanks for looking.

Last edited:
Your recipe looks tasty as does the sausage. I'm assuming your anise flavor is the fennel as there was no anise in the recipe.
Yes, the fennel. I actually wanted to use anise seed, but after three tries at local grocers, I still couldn't find it. Fennel was a workable substitute, though, and tastes pretty similar.
I'm planning on having a big weekend next weekend. I am thinking I'm going to make these in snack stick form. I can't wait is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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