Pepperoni has been named the number one pizza topping time and time again. And if you love pepperoni, you’re probably enjoying it on more than just pizza. From pepperoni rolls to sandwiches to a cracker topping, there are many ways to enjoy this spicy sausage.
A Brief History of Pepperoni
Pepperoni is borrowed from the word peperoni, the plural of peperone, which is Italian for bell pepper.
Similar to the cured, dry salamis of Milan, pepperoni was not actually invented in Italy. According to John Mariana, a food writer and historian, there is no Italian salami called Peperoni. Pepperoni is actually believed to be an American variety of salami. Though some of the spicy salamis in Italy have a similar flavor and color, the first use of pepperoni in print does not show up until 1919. Interestingly, it was also around this time that pizzerias and Italian butcher shops began to pop up in the U.S.
How is Pepperoni Made?
Pepperoni is made from a mixture of ground pork and beef mixed with spices and flavorings. Salt and sodium nitrate are then added as curing agents, which prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms. Nitrate is also added, which gives pepperoni its color.
The ground meat is then injected with lactic acid bacteria, commonly used during the yogurt or cheese making process. The lactic acid bacteria produce lactic acid, which lowers the meat’s pH balance, allowing it to become better preserved.
The ground meat mixture is then stuffed into casings and ferments inside the casings for several days. Pepperoni sausages are then moved to a drying room where they will stay for up to 20 days. After they have fully dried, the pepperoni is packaged and shipped. Some of it may be sliced, but others may stay whole – it all depends on the manufacturer.
At Hungry Howie’s, our sliced pepperoni ingredients include pork, salt, water, spices, lactic acid starter culture, sodium nitrate, and other flavorings and acids that aid in the preservation process.
If you love pepperoni, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this cured meat at Hungry Howie’s. The popular topping is featured on the Works, Meat Eaters, and Howie Special Pizzas. You can also get pepperoni in Howie Rolls™ and calzones.