How To Make Pepperoni Sausage

Making your pepperoni sausage at home is fun, and it’s pretty similar to summer sausage creation. It was once made by me many years ago, and it has become a regular at our house. This is not your average store-bought pepperoni; it has better texture, better flavor, and tastes like high-quality sausage. This sausage is fantastic. It’s also possible to make sandwiches with it. The smoked pepperoni is to die for. Your pizzas will taste much better than ever before since smoke enhances flavor and boosts the shelf life of sausage. Smoke contains antibacterial qualities that improve the flavor and extend the shelf life of sausage.

What is Pepperoni Sausage?

Pepperoni sausage is a type of semi-dry fermented sausage that is often made of pork and beef. Beef or pork alone pepperoni sausage is also prevalent. Pepperoni is smoky, has a smooth texture, and is bright red in color. It’s a popular pizza topping in American pizzerias and contains paprika and fragrant herbs.

The word “pepperoni” is commonly associated with Italian cuisine, although this is not the case. It does share some characteristics with fiery salamis from southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante or Calabrese salami. Pepperoni, on the other hand, has a finer grain, is generally softer, and is created with artificial casings.

The Meat


Pepperoni sausage is usually made of pork and beef, or pork or beef alone. The proportions of pork to beef vary from 75% pork and 25% beef to 25% pork and 75% beef. It all depends on personal taste. Sometimes all you have is a pig’s butt or chuck roast, so you might mix in some all-pork or all-beef pepperoni to meet your needs. My favorite pepperoni contains between 75 and 100 percent pork.

The flavor of pepperoni sausage is largely determined by the quality and freshness of the meat. Purchase your meat fresh and grind it yourself for the greatest results. Alternatively, have your butcher do it for you. You’ll want to grind the meat finely enough to pass through a 3/16″ (4.5mm) plate.

Pepperoni Sausage Spices


The prominent spice in this sausage is paprika, which lends it an orange hue. There are also aromatic spices such as anise, allspice, fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, mustard, and black pepper that may be found in pepperoni sausage. Cayenne pepper is sometimes added to dishes to enhance the heat.

The finest pepperoni sausage is the one that matches your preferences. Feel free to experiment around with different spice combinations to come up with your own favorite taste. If at all possible, grind your spices just before adding them to the ground meat. This will aid in the extraction of the most flavor from them.

Curing Salt and Cultures

The sausage is formed using a meat culture such as Bactoferm FL-C, which is used in the manufacture of fermented semi-dry sausages. Fermented sausages with short or conventional production times are produced using Bactoferm F-LC meat culture, which has bioprotective properties. The pH of the meat dropped to 5.3 during fermentation, allowing pathogenic bacteria to grow less easily and giving the sausage its tangy taste.

Grinding Meat and Mixing with Spices


You should stir the salt and spices thoroughly into the meat and spread them evenly throughout. One method to ensure uniform seasoning distribution is to combine the ingredients with the pieces of meat before they are ground. This is my preferred method, and it works effectively.

When you’re done grinding the meat, simply add one-third cup of water to the rehydrated starter culture and mix thoroughly.

Sausage Casings


The most prevalent casing diameter for pepperoni sausage is 1 1/2″ (38mm) in diameter. This is the standard size of pepperoni manufactured in the United States.

However, if you want pepperoni to be thicker, such as 2″ – 2 1/2″ (50-60mm), there is nothing wrong with it. Beef middles or collagen casings may be used. I prefer collagen casings for pepperoni sausages because they are easier to work with and produce straight links. These casings are available in various sizes; for instance, they may be found at your local sausage-making shop or on Amazon (Non-Edible Fibrous Casings).

Stuffing Meat Into Casings

The vertical sausage stuffer, such as the LEM 5 Pound Sausage Stuffer or the LEM Motorized 20 Pound Stuffer, is the most efficient and cost-effective method of inserting the meat into casings. I have these stuffing machines; they both do an excellent job, but one is ideal for solo operation.

You can also use a sausage stuffer attachment with your meat grinder, but the results may not be ideal. Meat grinders are not designed to stuff sausages, and they don’t do an excellent job at it.

A manual sausage stuffer, such as the LEM Manual Sausage Stuffer, is a less expensive option than a vertical sausage stuffer that would give better results. These stuffers are ideal for doing things occasionally. They’re challenging to use and require strong physical power, but with some practice, they can be effective and produce better results.

Stuff the meat firmly, making sure there are no air pockets inside. It’s practically impossible to get all of the air out, and you’ll notice some small cavities when your sausage is done. Semi-dry sausages do not have this problem. Try your best but don’t worry if a few small air pockets persist.

The Cooking Equipment


To smoke pepperoni sausage, a smoker or a grill with the ability to maintain low temperatures is required.

Electric Smokers

A professional electric sausage smoker, such as the Masterbuilt 30-Inch Smoker, is a good choice. This smoker is widely regarded as the greatest value for home sausage-making requirements.

If you want a looking window to watch your sausage being smoked, the Masterbuilt 30-Inch Electric Smoker with Window and RF Controller is an excellent option.

Using a Propane Smoker

If you enjoy propane-fueled smokers, the Masterbuilt XL propane smoker is an excellent option. For years, I utilized one to smoke my favorite Polish kielbasa and other smoked sausages.

While it’s not easy to maintain low temperatures, you may modify this with a needle valve, such as the Bayou Classic Brass Control Valve, to remedy that. If you don’t want to install a needle valve in your gas line yourself, you may buy a ready-made gas assembly such as the Bayou Classic M5HPR-1 10 PSI Hose, Regulator, and Valve Assembly. Make sure the regulator on the component you’re buying is compatible with your burner’s requirements.

Using Smoke House

This is the best choice. If you want to taste what smoked sausage tastes like in its original form, smoke it in a smokehouse. It’s possible that it’s something to do with the ventilation, humidity, or another factor I’m unaware of, but sausages smoked in a smokehouse have an odd flavor and feel. I just finished building a smokehouse and use it to smoke sausage. Check out Stanley Marianski’s excellent book Meat Smoking And Smokehouse Design if you’re a DIY person who likes talking about smoker designs you can make at your house.

Other Smoking Equipment

It’s also a viable option if you have a Big Green Egg. I’ve used it to smoke summer sausages at low heat before constructing my smokehouse. It’s not difficult to start this grill at around 110°F and keep it there for 1-2 hours. The temperature will rise eventually, but that’s precisely what you want. You just need to regulate the airflow so that the temperature does not increase too rapidly.

The Final Resort Option

If none of the above techniques work for you, don’t give up. You may cook your sausage in your kitchen oven. However, you won’t get the same unique smoky flavor or color, but it’ll still be better than nothing. To avoid losing fat, keep the temperature low when cooking the sausage. This is quite essential.

Cooking Temperature


Once the temperature of the meat reaches approximately 100°F, all fat tissues become liquid, according to Stanley Marianski in his Home Production of Quality Meats and Sausages book. That said, there is a minor fat loss between 150 and 190°F or even up to 212°F. The fat begins to seep out rapidly above temperatures of 248°F and above. Higher-temperature sausages will have a dry, crumbling texture.

Smoke your pepperoni at a temperature of 110-130 degrees Fahrenheit until the desired color is obtained, then gradually raise the temperature to 150-175F, and finally 190F if required to reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

When cooking in the oven, begin at the lowest temperature and gradually raise it to 190F until the sausage’s internal temperature reaches the desired level.

Recipe Variations

If you want to cook sausages differently, for example, Rytek Kutases’ recipe calls for 2 Tbsp powdered dextrose, 3/4 cup fermento, and 3 Tbsp corn syrup solids per 10 pounds of meat. In this scenario, cook sausages until they reach an internal temperature of 152°.

If you don’t have a starter culture or Fermento, but still want to make pepperoni, you may try. Follow the steps in my Polish kielbasa recipe; only use the spices and seasonings from this one instead. The sausage won’t be identical to pepperoni, but it will be comparable and will yet taste fantastic.


What is pepperoni sausage made of?

In the United States, pepperoni is a raw sausage made of beef and pork or only pork. Products containing 100% beef must be labeled as such.

How many calories does 100gm of pepperoni have?

Per 100 grams: 494 calories; protein 20.35g; carbohydrates 4g; fat 40.2g

How long does pepperoni sausage last?

Sausage that is hard or dry (such as pepperoni and Genoa salami), whole and unopened, may be kept indefinitely in the refrigerator or for up to 6 weeks in the pantry. After opening, refrigerate for at least three weeks. “Keep refrigerated” will not be printed on the package of hard or dry sausages.

What is pepperoni sausage used for?

Pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in American pizzerias. Although the name pepperoni suggests Italian origins, this is far from the case. It does bear some resemblance to spicy salamis from southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante or Calabrese salami. was started with the goal of being your go-to kitchen gadget resource. In addition to sharing up-to-date buying guides, product reviews, and how-to articles, we look to share healthy food recipes as well as tips for cleaning and maintenance, gift ideas, and many other useful ideas to decorate your kitchen with minimum effort and price.

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