Texture problem with American style pepperoni

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Fishhead
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Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Fishhead » Sun May 26, 2019 23:49

I have tried making American style or fast fermented semi-dried pepperoni a couple of times. The result has been the same and it is disappointing.
The end result is sausage that is crumbly. It tastes fine but the texture is awful.

I use around 2/3 pork 1/3 beef and some added pork fat to bring the fat content to around 20%. I am using LHP culture. I ferment for around 36 hours and then go to either the oven or smoker at 150'F until internal temperature is 145'F. I cool down and let hang for a couple of days at around 55-60'F with humidity of around 60-70%.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to improve the texture?
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Mon May 27, 2019 02:08

Hey Fishhead,

Are you finding a significant amount of fat/oils sweating from your pepperoni during the “cooking” phase?
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Fishhead » Mon May 27, 2019 02:46

Melted fat is pooling at the low points. But there still seems to be fat through out the sausage.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Mon May 27, 2019 04:51

Sounds like being/becoming too lean isn’t the (usual) culprit...

Are you also using curing salt (#1), mixing thoroughly before stuffing, and are your sausages significantly firmed up after fermenting? If so, the only thing I would suspect is your fermentation culture/method.

Basically, I use Bactoferm F-LC, with a 24 hour fermentation @ 86 degrees (80-90% rh) to make most of my semi-dry, fast fermented sausages...and the texture is consistently just fine. (Even when I’m feeling lazy, and grind the meat/fat without partially freezing it first)

I wouldn’t think the specific culture would make all the difference, but I’ve never used LHP. Is there a chance your culture is inactive/dead?
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Fishhead » Mon May 27, 2019 05:26

I am using insta cure #1. I fermented at 90' and 90% humidity for 36 hours.
I had just bought the cure. It had not even been opened yet.
Meat and fat were ground with a 3 mm plate. I stuffed into a 1 1/2" fiberous casing.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Mon May 27, 2019 05:46

Honestly, I have no idea what’s going wrong then. Sorry. I wish I could be more helpful.
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Bob K
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Bob K » Mon May 27, 2019 10:52

Fishhead wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 23:49
The end result is sausage that is crumbly. It tastes fine but the texture is awful.
There is a 99% chance they are being overcooked at too high of a temperature. Most smokers and (especially) ovens overshoot their target temp by 20 - 30 degrees by design, what you set them at is an average. Try poaching them at a water bath temp of 165-170f until an internal of 140-145f. Also when mixing make sure the mince gets "sticky" before stuffing.
Are you using the Marianski recipe? https://www.meatsandsausages.com/sausag ... i-semi-dry
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Fishhead » Mon May 27, 2019 16:21

Thanks for the suggestion. I am basically using the Marianski recipe, although I have tweaked some of the spicing. More anise, black pepper, and hot pepper.

I made venison summer sausage for my son last year using the water bath and that turned out fine. If that does not work for pepperoni, it will be back to the slow drying process.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Thu Jun 06, 2019 23:09

I agree with Bob. The texture should only be an issue if something significant has gone wrong. This usually occurs when sausages are over cooked, but I’m not as certain that’s your culprit.

Not enough fat, or inadequate mixing/measuring ingredients can also cause your dissatisfaction.

In my experience, texture problems usually result from bad math, or missing a key step in processing. (Not cooking)

Have you sampled your pepperoni prior to heat smoking/cooking? If it has a good flavor/texture prior to heating, then cooking is definitely the issue. If it’s not good (prior to cooking), then there’s something wrong with your methods/ingredients, and your cooking method won’t solve the problem.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Thu Jun 06, 2019 23:24

To put a finer point on it, if you follow the precise method/recipe for “American Style” (fast fermented pepperoni) on this site, I can’t see how you could go wrong, without going totally rogue.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by MatterOne » Fri Jun 07, 2019 01:47

Fishhead wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 02:46
Melted fat is pooling at the low points.
To me, this post says it all.

I agree with Bob as well... If you have melted fat, your temperature is too high

And that's not to say that you don't have other issues, like an inadequate mix or a misestimation of actual fat content. But I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that it's primarily a temperature issue.

What diameter are your pepperoni? Is your thermometer (that you use to check internal temperature) accurate/calibrated? Roughly how long does it take for your pepperoni to get up to 145° with your oven/smoker set at 150°?
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by Agoracritus » Sat Jun 08, 2019 03:50

[/quote]
What diameter are your pepperoni? Is your thermometer (that you use to check internal temperature) accurate/calibrated? Roughly how long does it take for your pepperoni to get up to 145° with your oven/smoker set at 150°?
[/quote]

I know you’re not asking “me”, but maybe by answering this question, I could contribute my 2 cents.

I use 32mm hog casings (stuffed to the max), with a roughly 65-25-10% mix (pork shoulder-trimmed beef-pork fat). I would guesstimate that the total fat content is around 30% (which might explain why I can get away with a bit of a faster cook time, than is usually recommended)

I use a dual probe ThermPro (TP20), with one probe in the smoker (well clear of anything but the inside air), and one probe in a test sausage.

I smoke the sausages at about 110-120 degrees for about 2-3 hours, or until the internal temp of the sausage reaches 110. Then I bump up the smoker temp (somewhat gradually) to 150-160 (without active smoke).

From start to finish, it usually takes about 6-7 hours for the sausages to reach internal temp of 145 degrees.

I often do get a little bit of fat sweating (easily detectable in the water pan below the sausages), but no more than a couple teaspoons per 10-12 lb batch.

The results vary slightly from batch to batch, but for the most part, turn out pretty darn edible. I should probably add that I only make about 10-20, 10 lb batches a year, and only during outdoor temps of 50-65 degrees, and because they (semi-dry sausages) only make up a relatively small percentage of my charcuterie hobby, I don’t use anything fancier than my good-old Big Chief smoker (with a foam board insulation box to increase the temperature above the normal 110-130 degree operating range, as needed).

I hope this is helpful. I know that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another, but that’s why the sharing of ideas is where it’s at. I really appreciate this forum. Wish I’d discovered it years ago.
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Re: Texture problem with American style pepperoni

Post by redzed » Sun Jun 09, 2019 19:13

Any pooling of fat points to a high smoker temp and/or uneven heating. Move the sausage around a couple of times during the process. The texture might be better to your liking if you grind using a medium plate like a 5 or 6. A 3mm is very fine. Also try adding some water to the batter and mix well until absorbed. Sometimes sausages with paprika have a dry texture and the water helps. Or try smoking at 135-140 for about 3 hours until you have nice colour. Poach at 170 until 145-150 IT. You can smoke again the next day for another 3 hours at around 135 for a stronger smoke flavour and to dry the sausage.
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