In most of Europe, "pepperoni" means a pretty hot, pickled vegetable similar (or equal?) to a chile while the sausage is called salami.

A cured Italian sausage made with both pork and beef. It is heavily seasoned with a variety of seasonings, including cayenne and black pepper, garlic, and allspice. It is ready to eat after being air-dried, and does not require being cooked. It is most commonly used on pizza, as the most popular topping, but is often used in other Italian dishes

It is popular enough that some versions using healthier ingredients have been created to try to match the taste without the fat. Turkey pepperoni is common, and there is also vegetarian pepperoni that can be found.

Simple Homemade Pepperoni:

7 lbs pork butt, cubed
3 lbs beef, cubed
8 Tbsp coarse salt
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp crushed anise seed
1 Tsp garlic, minced
1 C dry red wine
2 Tsp ascorbic acid
1 Tsp saltpeter
6 feet (2 inch) small sausage casings

First, grind the two meats through a meat grinder, using a coarse disk. Mix the ground meats together, then add all of the remaining ingredients, and mix well.

Spread the mixture out in a pan, cover loosely with wax paper, and put in the refrigerator or other cool place for about 24 hours to cure.

After the mixture has cured, take the prepared sausage casings, and stuff the meat mixture into the casings. Twist the casing to make links at regular lengths, every 10 inches or so. You may want to add knots between every few links to allow you to cut the casing to make smaller sets of links.

Hang the pepperoni up to dry, for about six to eight weeks. Afterwards, it will keep for several months if refrigerated and wrapped well.

If you're feeling really ambitious, here's a more authentic recipe, using fermentation. Note that doing it this way requires practice and care, as mistakes in the preparation can make the finished product not only less than delicious, but dangerous. You should learn about the methods involved before attempting this recipe.

Recipe from Michigan State University Extension, information on reprinting at bottom.


22 lb. lean meat
3 lb. pork fat
1 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons salt
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dextrose (glucose)
2 tablespoons cure dissolved in 1 cup water
3/4 cup ground red pepper
3/4 cup ground allspice
1 tablespoon garlic powder
5 tablespoons fennel seed

Grind meat and fat through a 1/2-inch plate. Mix meat, fat and all seasonings. Grind through a 1/8-inch plate and mix 6 minutes. Stuff in hog casings and place in 90 degrees Fahrenheit smokehouse until pH 5 is reached. Store at 50 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 days to produce a dry product, or heat to 142 degrees Fahrenheit after pH 5 is reached to produce a semi-dry product.


It is best to use a starter culture with all fermented sausage. If starter cultures are not available let product stand in a 6-inch deep tray at 38 degrees Fahrenheit for 72 hours before it is stuffed or add 8 oz. of GDL per 100 lb. of product and heat to 142 degrees Fahrenheit internally without incubation.

This information is for educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension. Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product or company. This file was generated from data base 01 on 06/14/00. Data base 01 was last revised on 08/25/99. For more information about this data base or its contents please contact . Please read our disclaimer for important information about using our site.

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