When you think about pepperoni, there Is probably one particular food that comes to mind: pizza.
Pepperoni is one of the most popular and common toppings on pizza, other than being a delicious topping, it’s quite often a misunderstood food.
We will take a look at pepperoni, all it’s made from, and some of the best ways that you can use it in your cooking today.
What Is Pepperoni?
Pepperoni is a dried and cured meat spiced sausage typically made from beef and pork. The right cut of meat must be used to get the ideal meat-to-fat ratio.
When considering pepperoni, you will need roughly 70% lean meat and 30% fat. This allows you to get the perfect texture that is not too rough and not too fine.
In terms of granulation, you’ll need to granulate about 2 to 3 mm, which is the perfect grounding amount.
Once this process is completed, it is then combined with the seasoning; which would include spices like paprika and garlic powder, and sugar, and finished off with a sprinkle of salt.
It’s then mixed with a culture of lactobacillus bacteria, and the reason that this is included is that it produces lactic acids which is a crucial ingredient to help cure the sausage and give it a tangy flavor.
This is the same ingredient that is made for making cheese and yogurts, and it’s also produced in a sourdough starter by the wild yeasts.
The next step is that this mixture is placed into a sausage casing, and these are hung in a smokehouse on racks.
They will be exposed to humid air at around 77 degrees Fahrenheit which allows for the fermentation process to begin.
The bacteria lactobacillus will start to consume the sugar which produces the lactic acid.
A beneficial part of this process is that the lactic acid will also prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause harm to human health via food poisoning.
After the fermentation process is complete, the sausages will then be needed to be smoked, and you usually add maple and hickory chips.
This smoking process can take as long as 5 days to complete, and once they are done, the sausages will be transferred to a drying room where they will remain for a few more days.
Pepperoni is now prepared, and it is now a matter of choosing how they are going to be packaged.
In the case of a pizza, all they will be sliced into small discs and then packaged up. But they also might be left as sausage for snacks or even meals.
The thickness of the slice will ultimately determine whether they will come off when the pizza is cooked.
This is when a pepperoni slice will Cole at the edges that forms a cup shape, which allows the pepperoni to have a crispy texture and the fat will then pull in the center of the slice, rather than being spread over the top of the pizza.
How To Incorporate Pepperoni Into Your Meals
We are already aware that pepperoni can be cut into slices and served as a pizza topping, but there are many other ways that you can enjoy pepperoni.
One such way is that it is added to a cheese board or antipasto platter, accompanied by an abundance of cheeses and other meats.
They also make a great addition to grilled cheese sandwiches and Mexican-based meals such as quesadillas or fajitas.
If you want to get inventive, you can take an entire sausage (You might want to check out What Is Chorizo here)and mince it down and place it on top of a baked potato.
This same process can also be used in pasta salads as well as a garnish in soups.
What Does Pepperoni Taste Like?
Add pepperoni is cured with a number of ingredients such as salt, spices, as well lactic acid, you will find that pepperoni has a taste that corresponds to these flavors, i.e. salty, spicy and tangy.
You may also see pepperoni season with other spices such as garlic powder and sugar, but there are many different ways to season pepperoni and the taste will differ depending on the blend of spices.
Pepperoni has a chewy texture which is one of the reasons that it is typically sliced thinly.
Where Can You Buy Pepperoni?
You can buy whole pepperoni sticks at your local grocery store, which is usually located in the meat and Deli section.
You can also find pepperoni in specialty meat shops, butchers, and delicatessens.
You can also find pepperoni in its sliced form, no no this is usually found in the plastic package aisles, and not the refrigerated section, as it has been cured and no longer needs refrigerating.
If you are inspired to try out some pepperoni and create your recipes, then it’s worth knowing how to store it when you are not using it.
Pepperoni can be frozen making it easier to grate on a short-term basis, but you can also freeze it for long-term storage.
Pepperoni is a cured meat that doesn’t need to be frozen, and if you keep it in the refrigerator then it will keep for a long time.
However there is nothing wrong with freezing it, and many people will freeze it wrapped in plastic, either as a whole stick or in slices.
You can use freezer bags or a container to seal up your pepperoni.
If you’re planning to hold onto sealed pepperoni sticks then you should keep them in your Pantry for up to 6 weeks, or you can store them in your fridge indefinitely.
One thing to note is that if you do leave them for a long period, pepperoni can start to go rancid if it’s exposed to oxygen or heat
Hopefully, the information above is giving you insight into pepperoni and how it is made, with which ingredients.
Pepperoni is a delicious meat that I deal with pizzas, which also goes well in a number of other dishes, making it a versatile cured meat.