Sunday, October 3, 2010

Making homemade pepperoni

As promised in my Sweet Potato Pizza Crust entry, here is the information about how I make my own pepperoni. If you wonder why I make my own, I have a couple excellent reasons.


When I make my own pepperoni, I know exactly what is in it, including grass-fed, humanely-raised beef.
I was able to choose to leave out curing salts that can contain sodium nitrates, sodium nitrites, propylene glycol, and artificial color (often used to make this type of salt easily recognizable).


NOTE: Without curing salt, the meat will brown over the time in the refrigerator, and turn a deep brown when cooked. Friends and family that tried the finished product liked the taste and said the appearance did not deter them from eating the pepperoni. Since this is not cured meat, I freeze anything that wont be used in approximately 1 week. Pepperoni can be sliced when frozen and used on a pizza without thawing before it is placed in the oven.


Ingredients:
2 lbs lean grass-fed beef
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp mustard seed
1½ tsp fennel seed (lightly crushed- I use a mortar & pestle)
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika (preferably smoked)
½ tsp sugar
2 rounded tsp salt


The spices make a beautiful blend, and smell amazing.
These can be mixed ahead of time  and stored in a jar.






Step One
Sprinkle seasoning mix over meat and mix thoroughly with hands. (I found that adding the spice gradually as I ‘knead' the ground meat allows for a more even mix, as opposed to adding all of the spice in one amount.)
Cover meat well, and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Step Two
Remove from refrigerator, knead/mix thoroughly.
Cover well and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Step Three (optional, or skip to Step Four)
Remove from refrigerator, knead/mix thoroughly.
Cover well and refrigerate for 24 hours.


Step Four
Preheat oven 200°F (app. 95°C*)
Remove meat from refrigeration.
Mix and shape into logs (I prefer 4 app. equal lengths)
Place logs on a metal cooling rack, place rack on a cookie sheet, and place in preheated oven for 8 hours.
Rotate pepperoni every two hours during the cooking process.
After eight hours, remove from oven, allow to cool, wrap and refrigerate. Any amount that you will not use in a few days, wrap individually and freeze. (This never stays around our house more than a month, and we haven't had any spoil, but always watch for signs of spoilage.)


Obviously this is good for pizza, but we have also eaten sliced for cheese and fruit plates, and one person ate this sliced on a sandwich.


*I use an online conversion chart and round up or down, as seems appropriate. Please adjust according to your judgement, and send me a message if you find an error. Thank you.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG, thank you, thank you for the recipe!!!!! Pepperoni in one thing that we've had to give up and I can't wait to try this recipe! This MSG intolerance has turned our lives upside down and I have had to "relearn" how to cook so that my daughter doesn't get sick. One more thing I can add back, YES!

M2Four

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

You are so very welcome, and I hope you enjoy this as much as we do. I've gotten a few puzzled looks when I offer to let someone try it (because it is brown), but once they taste it, everyone has loved it. By the way, this slices pretty easily, even frozen, so you don't have to plan ahead and thaw it out. :)

desitroyed13 said...

I just found your blog and fell in love. I have just discovered just how dangerous nitrite cured meats are and was looking for a great pepperoni recipe. Could you please tell me about how long this pepperoni will last after it is prepared. I was told that nitrite free deli meats don't last as long so I was a little timid to make this and have it going bad. Thank you so much for your great blog.

desitroyed13 said...

I just found your blong and am completely taken by the great recipes you offer. I have been on the lookout for a great pepperoni recipe. Could you tell me how long this will keep after it is completely prepared. Thank you so much for your information. This blog is the best.

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

Thanks so much for you comments. I would suggest wrapping them and freezing anything over a week or two. I have even sliced frozen pepperoni, and it thaws out right on the pizza as it bakes.

Marlene Taylor said...

This is awesome! I can't wait to try it! Do you have any suggestions for bacon? Maybe doing it a similar way flipping in the fridge every 12 - 24 hours. Do you think it would cure with low salt? We use pink Himalayan salt on everything, but sparingly. And understandably we don't want to give up nummy cured meats.

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

With bacon, I would definitely recommend that you do not go light on salt, because it helps preserve and inhibits growth of dangerous bacteria (see http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nchfp/lit_rev/cure_smoke_cure.html). We actually found a commercial source for bacon, specifically a local farm (Thompson Farms) that we can buy online or from Whole Foods. They have only three ingredients: pork salt and sugar, and it is excellent bacon, IMHO.

Marlene Taylor said...

Awesome! Thank you so much! I'll look into the brand at Whole Foods. We live between 3 Whole Foods, but also next to another large healthy store that may carry it as well. Yeah, I didn't think we should skimp on the salt either when curing. Thanks!

Heidi a/k/a Thistle said...

I hope they carry it in your area, or have a good substitute. Did you know that with Whole Foods, if you purchase a case of an item, you can get a discount? Ask if they do that in your area, and have them show you the number in a case on their shelf labels.