Make Pepperoni Sausages at home

Author: Marthinus Strydom
Category: Meat Curing
Serves/Qty: 1.50
Heidi Strydom

Crafting homemade pepperoni sausage is an incredibly fulfilling endeavor, closely resembling the process of creating Summer sausage. Unlike the standard pepperoni found in stores, this homemade version boasts an enhanced texture, significantly superior flavor, and a delightful resemblance to premium-grade sausage. The resulting sausage is truly exceptional.

Marthinus Strydom

The Story

Pepperoni sausage has a rich and fascinating origin that traces back to Italian culinary traditions. The word "pepperoni" itself is derived from the Italian word "peperoni," which means "bell peppers." Interestingly, despite its name, pepperoni sausage does not traditionally contain bell peppers as an ingredient. 

Pepperoni sausage can be considered an American adaptation of the Italian salami, specifically the spicy salami known as "salsiccia piccante." Italian immigrants brought their culinary expertise to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was during this time that pepperoni sausage began to take shape. These immigrants settled primarily in cities like New York and Chicago, where Italian-American communities flourished. Over time, Italian sausage recipes were modified and transformed to suit local tastes and ingredients, leading to the creation of pepperoni sausage as we know it today.

Since its inception, pepperoni sausage has become an integral part of American cuisine, particularly in relation to pizzas and sandwiches. Its spicy and savory flavor profile, coupled with its distinctive reddish hue, has made it a popular choice for adding a punch of flavor to various dishes. Today, pepperoni sausage is enjoyed not only in the United States but also around the world, serving as a testament to the enduring influence of Italian culinary heritage.

More about Italy

Italy is one of those countries about which you probably have quite a number of preconceptions before you have put one foot into the country. A country of olive oil and mafia, pasta, wine and sunshine, roman ruins and renaissance palaces, Italy has a lot to offer its visitors. Although some of these images are appealing, it would be a shame if that was the only thing you come away with. Italy is certainly much more complex and interesting than that.

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55 %  lean pork
25 %  lean beef
20 %  pork back fat
2.30 %  kosher salt
0.25 %  insta cure #1
0.60 %  dextrose
0.20 %  table sugar
0.30 %  black pepper
0.10 %  white pepper
0.80 %  smoked paprika
0.30 %  fennel seed crushed
0.20 %  anise seed crushed
0.20 %  cayenne pepper powder


  • Clean, rinse, and rehydrate your casings
  • Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small cubes.  Place the meat and fat in the freezer for an hour
  • Grind chilled pork, fat, and beef through 4.5mm plate.
  • Mix all ingredients with cold meat till very tacky
  • Stuff firmly into 40mm-43mm beef rounds
  • Ferment at 26C (80F) for 18 hours, 90-85% humidity till pH reads 4.6 - 4.8 (the lower it goes the tangier your pepperoni will taste).
  • OPTIONAL: After fermentation lightly cold smoke the pepperoni for 2 hours
  • Place pepperoni in a drying chamber set to 12C - 13C (55F) and 80% humidity. Dry for 4-10 days. (You are looking for a 20% weight loss)
  • Once dried slowly cook your pepperoni till the internal temp reaches 57C - 63C (135-145F).  you can either do this by smoking or sous vide. For sous vide Cook at 60C (140F) for 2 hours