If you want to know exactly what is in YOUR pepperoni, try this super easy recipe. It's just high quality pork and seasonings baked in the oven at a super low temperature for 6 hours ....and it is delicious, (even picky-picky husband loves it!!)
1 pound of ground pork (not sausage)
1 pound of ground beef (lean)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons mustard seed
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (see notes)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 slightly heaping teaspoons salt (see notes)
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup ice water
Grind the dry spices together (I used my mortar and pestle) until they are roughly ground (it doesn't have to be super fine).
Mix the meat, flavorings, ice water and liquid smoke together just until combined. (I use my stand mixer). Cover it well, and chill it for 48 hours.
After 48 hours, mix again gently and roll the mixture into 2 logs and place them on a foil lined baking sheet (make sure the baking sheet has a lip).
Bake in a pre-heated 200° oven for 8 hours. If you seriously want round pepperoni, turn the logs every 2 hours, but I never do that. Your house is going to smell wonderful!!
After 8 hours, they will look like this:
The "pepperoni" logs will be quite firm to the touch when they come out of the oven. If there is a lot of fat on your baked pepperoni "logs", just wipe it off before you chill them, but I seldom have that problem.
CHILL PEPPERONI BEFORE
YOU SLICE !!
YOU SLICE !!
Let the baked logs cool a little, then wrap them in plastic wrap and chill them until they are very cold before you slice them. Use a sharp knife and slice the sausages very thin.
This treat is VERY easy to make and has a wonderful flavor.
NOTES: I buy pork butt roast when it's on super sale and just grind it with my stand mixer, but you can also just buy commercially ground pork (UNSEASONED....not sausage!!)
NOTES: Picky-picky husband is very shy when it comes to "heat", so I make this recipe with 1 + 1/4 teaspoons of red pepper flakes and it's just right. If you like a spicier pepperoni, just add more flakes.
NOTES: A note about the color of this pepperoni. To get a bright red/orange color in pepperoni, people use Morton's Tender Quick which has salt, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite and propylene glycol in it. Personally, it is not important to us to have that bright red color, so I just use table salt instead of the Tender Quick and it works just fine. I freeze my baked pepperoni.