Making pepperoni, Did I use the wrong cure?

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paulthenurse

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So I am really getting into this whole sausage making thing. Yesteday I bought 2 pork butts (14 Lbs) and a six pound chuck roast. I ground it up yesterday, mixed in my seasonings and left it on the porch (28*F) overnight. I followed a recipe that I found on line. I used 9 tablespoons salt, 3 tablespoons cayanne, 3 tablespoons black pepper, 5 tablespoons hot hungarina paparika, 5 tablespoons sweet paparika, 2 tablespoons dried garlic, and a couple of cups of wine. I also used 2/3 ounce of the cure. Today I stuffed the sausages and hung them back out on the porch. (Still cold.)

But now I'm afraid that I used the wrong cure. It has 6.25% sodium nitrite and NO sodium nitrate. Does this mean that I can't dry the sausages for pepperoni safely? Or do I need to smoke them? I could smoke them if I need to but it's a big pain in the neck cause my big smoker is a bear to muscle around and it's put away for the winter. What will happen if I leave things as is? Will I kill myself?

Assuming that it's ok as is, do I just leave them in the cold for a few days and then bring them inside and put them in the cellar to age? I'm really flying by the seat of my pants here and now that I have a boatload of pepperoni (and I have a huge amount of pepperoni, like a years supply, for several families) I want to be sure that it is safe. It tastes great, BTW.

Here is the results...
 

NewBlood

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Did your recipe not have some instructions on temp and humidity ranges needed to dry cure? If you didnt use cure #2 I think you are going to have to smoke and store refriderated or frozen.

By the way those look super I cant wait to try my hand at dry curing.
 

Mothrog

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NewBlood said:
Did your recipe not have some instructions on temp and humidity ranges needed to dry cure? If you didnt use cure #2 I think you are going to have to smoke and store refriderated or frozen.

By the way those look super I cant wait to try my hand at dry curing.
What he said. Do be aware that making dry cured sausages is serious business. If you don't do it right, you can end up with botulism (from botulus, or sausage in Latin) , the most deadly form of food poisoning known to man. If you haven't already, buy a good book on the subject and read it through so you know your sausages are safe to eat. Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing by Rytek Kutas is a great book along with Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman.
 

Melana

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Hey Paul... NICE SAUSAGE! Are you sharing?

Oh, FYI - I've got a few sausage making books that I could let you borrow if you're interested?
We could meet you at Witches Brew Thursday around 6... LOL :)
 

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Those sausages do look great.

And, yep, you should have used InstaCure #2/DQ#2 which includes sodium nitrate as well as sodium nitrite. The nitrate converts to nitrite over time, kind of a time-release version of nitrite. That's what makes long drying times above refrigeration temperatures possible.

InstaCure#1 (pink salt) is 6.25% nitrite and is used for sausages that are going to be smoked. According to my reference books it doesn't have enough staying power for long-dried sausages like traditional perpperoni.

Looks like you may need to hot smoke your pepperoni, which I suspect will be delicious.

Chad
 

zoebisch01

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The problem is there will be no nitrate conversion by the bacteria as has been mentioned. What to do, that's the question. I suppose you can simply let them incubate, allow them to surface dry, then HOT smoke them. They'll be fine, but more along the lines of a Kielbasa in terms of texture.

The rule is #1 cure for anything that will be smoked/cooked. #2 must never be heated for cooking (creates nitrosamines iirc) and must always be used for dry cures.

Be careful of naming conventions and colors on packages. I have seen pink #2 cures. Always, always check the concentration on the package as well. The European standard (not sure if we get it here, but just to be on the safe side) is much lower in Nitrite Nitrite/Nitrate concentration. I think an ounce of Cure #1 is enough to kill you so levels MUST be correct. The standard (using the US concentration) is 2.5 grams to 1 kilogram of meat when you are adding it in directly. (different for brine).

Good luck on this and future endeavors!
 
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paulthenurse

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On a related theme... If you are not supposed to cook sausages dried with CUre 2 what happens when you cut up your pepperoni and put it on a pizza?

And as far as smoking the sausages/pepperoni's, how long and at what temp should I smoke them for. Do I allow them to hang for a while before I smoke them or smoke them ASAP?
 
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paulthenurse

paulthenurse

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Melana said:
Hey Paul... NICE SAUSAGE! Are you sharing?

Oh, FYI - I've got a few sausage making books that I could let you borrow if you're interested?
We could meet you at Witches Brew Thursday around 6... LOL :)
I can't make it there this week, I have an appointment. LOL

Sorry I missed you guys, we'll catch up. I won't make it by TWB for a few weeks, this week I'm all booked up and next week we're headed down to the Keys for some drinking and diving. A great weekend, narced all day and night.
 

Melana

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paulthenurse said:
I can't make it there this week, I have an appointment. LOL

Sorry I missed you guys, we'll catch up. I won't make it by TWB for a few weeks, this week I'm all booked up and next week we're headed down to the Keys for some drinking and diving. A great weekend, narced all day and night.
WOW do you have room in your suitcase for some stow-aways?
No worries... We'll catch up at some point (preferably with beer)!
 

zoebisch01

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My advice with these formulas would be to stick with the metric system. It is much easier to scale the amounts than with the English system.
 

zoebisch01

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paulthenurse said:
On a related theme... If you are not supposed to cook sausages dried with CUre 2 what happens when you cut up your pepperoni and put it on a pizza?

And as far as smoking the sausages/pepperoni's, how long and at what temp should I smoke them for. Do I allow them to hang for a while before I smoke them or smoke them ASAP?
I believe at that point you shouldn't have any Nitrates left.

The Pepperoni need to hang until dry to the touch, you'll know it when you feel it. Otherwise it interferes with the smoke 'taking'. Set them to hang in the fridge, that should do it. You can hang them up with a fan is fine as well at room temp. Keep in mind you have salt and Nitrite to prevent spoilage and the inhibit Botulism growth. You can proceed by hot smoking around 160 °F to 180 °F for a few hours until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 160 °F. Alternatively you could do a cooler smoke for some time and then finish them in the oven.

Doh, actually if you don't want the smokiness, just hold them in a 180 °F (or 170 if your oven will get that low) until they are at 160 ° F internally. No need to smoke. They won't keep (although they'll probably go over a week under refridgeration, but use your senses), so you'll have to freeze the extra. You must keep them cold once cooked.
 
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paulthenurse

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zoebisch01 said:
I believe at that point you shouldn't have any Nitrates left.

The Pepperoni need to hang until dry to the touch, you'll know it when you feel it. Otherwise it interferes with the smoke 'taking'. Set them to hang in the fridge, that should do it. You can hang them up with a fan is fine as well at room temp. Keep in mind you have salt and Nitrite to prevent spoilage and the inhibit Botulism growth. You can proceed by hot smoking around 160 °F to 180 °F for a few hours until the internal temperature of the sausage reaches 160 °F. Alternatively you could do a cooler smoke for some time and then finish them in the oven.

Doh, actually if you don't want the smokiness, just hold them in a 180 °F (or 170 if your oven will get that low) until they are at 160 ° F internally. No need to smoke. They won't keep (although they'll probably go over a week under refridgeration, but use your senses), so you'll have to freeze the extra. You must keep them cold once cooked.
If I smoke them does that preserve them so they don't need to be frozen? I'm really hoping to avoid having to bust out my smoker, it's an old home heating oil tank and it's a beer to wrestle around. Plus, it's buried under a bunch of snow on the other side of the shed. I really don't want to buy a small Brinkman, saving for Curacao in April.
 

zoebisch01

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paulthenurse said:
If I smoke them does that preserve them so they don't need to be frozen? I'm really hoping to avoid having to bust out my smoker, it's an old home heating oil tank and it's a beer to wrestle around. Plus, it's buried under a bunch of snow on the other side of the shed. I really don't want to buy a small Brinkman, saving for Curacao in April.
It does aid in the preservation, but will alter the flavor as well (so if you want to flavor to be more true to a traditional Pepperoni, don't apply smoke). The cure phase itself (salt + nitrate) is really the biggest part of the preservation. You can get away with a longer refridgerated keeping time if you smoke them, but you'll have to use your judgement as to the 'when' that they turn. (My experience is that you can go quite a long time as long as your process was good). Like I have some Liverwurst I made from scratch, lightly smoked, that is over 3 weeks old and perfectly fine. Usually cooked sausage products tend to freeze very well, so if you have an aversion to it based on reduction of quality, I'd say don't. :D
 

zoebisch01

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Oh, one other thing. What I was getting at before with the hot smoke (I usually cold smoke stuff, and then heat it to the right temperature slowly in an oven) is that at some point you have to heat the product to the right temp. Hot smoking should in fact be kept down around 140 °F if you can, but people do just fine above that. It all depends in what you are shooting for.
 
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