Make pepperoni sticks at home

Picture of Make pepperoni sticks at home
This is a step-by-step guide through my oddessy of home sausage making. This is the first time I have ever attempted anything like this, so I'll point out all of my bad examples along with what to do.

I wanted to make good use of all the less desirable cuts of meat left over from butchering deer and elk, which are taking up space in my freezer. At the same time, I wanted to make something delicious. As a survival nut, I am enamored with the idea of food preservation and living like a neanderthal, so this was a great project to take on.

Also, I wanted to use my favorite cooking implement, the Luhr-Jensen Big Chief Smoker.

Before using venison or other game meat, I decided to test the process with two pounds of ground beef. The end result was pepperoni that had a very hamburgery taste. Good, but if you are going for the traditional taste, I recommend adding some pork. When I attempt this with venison, I'll update this page.
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Step 1: Gather ingredients and materials

Picture of Gather ingredients and materials
Here's what you will need to have co-located. There are some things I used that are optional, I'll mention what they are at each step.

2lb ground beef
Sausage casings (I used 19mm collagen)
Olive oil (optional)
Seasonings (Shown in picture):
- 1 Tbsp Morton Tender Quick cure (plain salt will NOT work)
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red pepper
- 1 tsp Fennel Seed
- 1/2 tsp Anise Seed
- 1 tsp Mustard Seed
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Meat grinder
Smoker (preferably electric, preferably Luhr-Jensen Little Chief or Big Chief)
Mixing Bowl
Appropriate measuring spoons

Step 2: Crush seeds

Picture of Crush seeds
Using a mortar and pestle like I did, or a coffee grinder, or other crushing tool, crush the anise and fennel seeds. I only crushed the mustard a little bit.

Mix all the dry seasonings together in a dish.

I have a sausage cure that is High Mountain Cure... for making brats, could this be used in place of the above mentioned cure?

El Supremo10 months ago

Very interesting, Thanks

So FYI you cannot get botulism from poor sanitation in your procedure. Having said that I agree with importance of proper sanitation, especially when handling any raw meat products.
u know slim jims i hat how some are really hard and nasty ans salty to chew but some are really mushy andwont even come out this is how u fix that
anybody know where i can get some salt peter?

also called prague powder.  they have sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate, Prague Powder #1 and Prague Powder #2 (not sure which is which), but the difference is listed on the site.  One goes into bacon and the other goes into sausage because of the cooking/curing method involved as I recall.
Prague #1 is salt with Nitrite; Prague #2 is salt with a smaller amount of Nitrite and a dose of Nitrate.

#1 is for short term curing like bacon

#2 is for long term curing/drying such as salami. The nitrates break down into nitrite providing further protection as the nitrites are depleted.

In general, if you're not hanging the meat for months, use Prague #1.
Thanks Eucherplayer.
Do you have anything for jamon serrano?
Nothing right off hand, of course as you know this is "raw cured ham" that is a specialty from Spain and made from a specific breed of pig.  Because this is meant to be eaten raw as well, all necessary disclaimers are in place "don't try this at home", "enter at your own risk", "do not use near fire or flame" yada yada yada...  Mostly, use common sense. (if it is yellow, green, pink, and gooey, don't even feed it to your dog).

I found some information here.  I'm sure that there are other dry cure recipes out there, but according to what I read, this requires a special ham and rather specific conditions (temperature, humidity, airflow) and most likely more than just  salt in the dry cure rub that is mentioned in the article I have sited here.

Good luck!!  Let me know how it comes out if you think of it.

sort of off topic (maybe an attempt at redirection), I have "corned venison" though and it came out very well.

Thank you again Eucherplayer
ClayOgre2 years ago
What is that interesting looking wide bladed knife/cleaver in the fourth picture?
steelchef3 years ago
It's great to see that you are in the picture regarding the vital use of nitrite cure. The tiny amount (less than .005%) is protection against many potentially nasty conclusions. For many years I shunned "nitrate/nitrite" addatives. A good friend died from complications after ingesting home made jerky and I quickly became a convert. USDA rules now require that all jerky be pre-cooked to 180F prior to smoking. This changes the taste considerably but takes care of all remaining "bugs" that could make you sick or kill you.
I refer you to:
tpdavis3 years ago
You say to eat within a week or freeze...then why did you add the "tender quick" (meat cure)? If it were fresh sausage (that is, no cure added), then I agree eat or freeze promptly, but cured sausage should last longer than a week--especially refrigerated. I'm confused, please help as I want to understand what's going on since I want to make some cured sausage, but am 'daunted' by the danger and benefits of curing.
fzxdf55 years ago
wife would kill me if I did this with out a drip pan...and oh yah, you will fill the house with smokie goodness too
fzxdf55 years ago

if you thermo insulate around the smoker, it will give you a better product

fzxdf55 years ago
one way of getting rid of air bubble is to use a needle and prick the casing.

Don't use too much filler, like oat meal or bread crumbs or when you cook the sausage it will split on you because it will swell when cooked
fzxdf55 years ago
no paprika(sp?)?
ikke_12066 years ago
How could you make the dried sausages, or are these dried already?
If you want to dry them you should just pop them in a food dehydrator.
pearsonry (author)  awang86 years ago
I don't think these would be very good if you dried them any further. For preservation purposes, they are already as dehydrated as they should be.
pearsonry (author)  ikke_12066 years ago
Pepperoni sticks, beer sticks, and summer sausage are categorized as "semi-dry" sausage. (As opposed to breakfast sausage or polish sausage, etc.) Semi-dry sausages require no further cooking. And to answer the question, these sausages are already as dry as you'd want them to get.
jennpearson6 years ago
Sounds yummy ~ will have to try it out! Thanks!
paganwonder6 years ago
Please, please,please try cutting venison or elk heart into 1 inch strips and briefly broil on a skewer (sharp stick) over charcoal or wood coals. You can make pepperoni out of less desirable cuts + a little cheap pork (= more fat left on).
any pictures of them when they are done? smoked vs. baked?
pearsonry (author)  explosivemaker6 years ago
Alas, this batch was baked only. The intro picture is the finished prodect. The smoker should impart a slightly darker color, but the casings I used were already a mahogany color.
ahhh....yeah, I would think the smoked ones would taste better too....
Kaiven6 years ago
mg0930mg6 years ago