Venison Pepperoni is a surprisingly simple process that has many uses and stores for months. You can stuff the sausage into fibrous or natural casings, both edible and inedible, of any size. I used 1.5 inch Fibrous casings on this particular batch.
4 Pounds of trimmed Venison
*1 to 1.5 pounds of Pork Fatback or pork trimmings
1 Teaspoon of Cure #1
**3 Tablespoons of Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons of Paprika
2 tablespoons of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of freshly ground Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper
1 to 3 Tablespoons of Red Pepper Flakes (depending on heat preference)
1 Teaspoon of crushed star anise
1 Teaspoon of ground cumin seed
1 Teaspoon of Oregano
1 teaspoon of Thyme
1 Cup of non-fat dry milk powder
1/4th cup of dry Red Wine (very cold)
* For pure fatback, use 1 pound. If using pork trimmings that contain muscle, use more, up to 1.5 pounds. Muscle is heavier than fat. You will want at least 50% of the pork to be Fatback.
** Make sure you use Kosher salt if measuring by volume.
1. Chop the venison and dice the pork and grind each separately. Immediately place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
2. While the meat is in the freezer, make a paste with your (cold) red wine, dry milk, curing salt and spices.
3. Place the Venison and Pork in a mixer (or mix by hand) and mix in the Paste/spice mixture.
4. Immediately stuff the casings (if there is a delay, return the meat to the freezer).
5. Hang the links in the refrigerator to cure for 24 hours.
6. Cold smoke at 135 F for 2 hours, then hot smoke at 200 F until an internal temperature of 150 degrees F has been reached. Immediately place the casings in a ice bath to stop the smoking process . Hang until room temperature.
Pepperoni may be stored in the fridge for a couple of months or can be frozen for longer storage. After opening the casings the sausages are best stored in parchman or butcher’s paper.
The reason you dice the fat before grinding and cool both the venison and pork before mixing is because the two will bind better this way. This is an important part of the process.
Red Wine: You may use water instead, but, either way, make sure that the liquid is very cold, otherwise it can impede the binding process of the venison and fat.
Fat: Get the highest quality, freshest Fatback you can get your hands on. We prefer to use pasture raised, heritage breed hogs and pay about $1.80 USD per pound.