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Pepperoni

Pepperoni sausage is made with pork and beef. It needs to hang to cure at least six weeks, so plan ahead.

1

Sausage Mix:

2

Grind the pork and beef through the coarse disk separately. Mix the meats together with the salt, sugar, cayenne, pepper, paprika, anise seed, garlic, red wine, ascorbic acid, and saltpeter. Spread the mixture out in a large pan, cover loosely with waxed paper, and cure in the refrigerator for twenty-four hours.

3

Prepare the casings (see instructions below). Stuff the sausage into the casings and twist off into then-inch links. Using cotton twine, tie two separate knots between every other link, and one knot at the beginning and another at the end of the stuffed casing. Cut between the double knots. This results in pairs of ten-inch links. The pepperoni are hung by a string tied to the center of each pair. Hang the pepperoni to dry for six to eight weeks. Once dried, the pepperoni will keep, wrapped, in the refrigerator for several months.

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Preparing the Casing:

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Snip off about four feet of casing. (Better too much than too little because any extra can be repacked in salt and used later.) Rinse the casing under cool running water to remove any salt clinging to it. Place it in a bowl of cool water and let it soak for about half an hour. While you're waiting for the casing to soak, you can begin preparing the meat as detailed above. After soaking, rinse the casing under cool running water. Slip one end of the casing over the faucet nozzle. Hold the casing firmly on the nozzle, and then turn on the cold water, gently at first, and then more forcefully. This procedure will flush out any salt in the casing and pinpoint any breaks. Should you find a break, simply snip out a small section of the casing. Place the casing in a bowl of water and add a splash of white vinegar. A tablespoon of vinegar per cup of water is sufficient. The vinegar softens the casing a bit more and makes it more transparent, which in turn makes your sausage more pleasing to the eye. Leave the casing in the water/vinegar solution until you are ready to use it. Rinse it well and drain before stuffing.

Servings: 1

Yield:

Tips

Pepperoni come in different sizes, the most common being about an inch in diameter. Some commercial packers put up what they call "pizza pepperoni" which is about twice the diameter of regular pepperoni and is not as dry. This type is better able to withstand the high temperature of a baking pizza without becoming a crispy critter. If you intend to use your pepperoni primarily as a topping for pizza you might want to experiment with the drying time for best results. --Charles G. Reavis