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What Meat is Pepperoni? (Is Pepperoni Pork or Beef?)

We all love pepperoni. Pepperoni can be used for a plethora of dishes yet it is most known for its use on pizza. However, have you ever stopped to think what pepperoni is made from? What meat is pepperoni?

Below, we will be exploring what pepperoni is as well as giving some handy pointers on how you can incorporate the meat into your own food.

What is Pepperoni?

Pepperoni is an Italian-American made food, made using both beef and pork to create a spiced sausage. It was around 1919 when people started to mention pepperoni and eventually people would add this topping onto their pizza in New York.

As decades have passed, pepperoni is still a much loved delicacy. As the popularity of pepperoni has grown, the recipe has adapted to suit all based on dietary and religion.

In your grocery store you are able to purchase vegan friendly and vegetarian friendly pepperoni – these mimic the flavor of the original pepperoni whilst leaving out the meat content. By doing this, it is allowing more diversity and a larger group of indulgers.


How is Pepperoni Made?

Pepperoni is made using a mixture of ground beef and pork. This meat is then seasoned with spices including salt, black pepper, sugar, garlic, paprika and much more.

The way the pepperoni is trimmed is important to sustain the perfect fat to meat ratio – this enables the best and most desired quality. The meat is then combined with lactic acid bacteria (this isn’t as bad as it sounds!). Lactic acid is, in fact, the ingredient which makes pepperoni what it is.

It is not only essential for curing the sausage however it is what allows the pepperoni’s signature flavor. It will take some days for the meat to be fermented, smoked and dried before being sliced and distributed.

What Does Pepperoni Taste Of?

Pepperoni has a very distinct and familiar taste that is hard to forget. As soon as that pepperoni hits your tongue you are filled with a multitude of flavors. Pepperoni can be easily described as tangy for it is cured with salt and lactic acid.

With all of the ingredients used including paprika and cayenne pepper, it comes by no surprise the overwhelming taste of the pepperoni. Despite this, however, that strong taste only leaves people wanting more!

As well as the flavor, pepperoni also has a distinct texture too. It is rough and chewy and because of this it is important to ensure the pepperoni is sliced thinly.

Is Pepperoni Only for Pizza?

No, pepperoni is not only used on pizza. Although it has seemed to become the “default” pizza topping throughout the years, that does not mean that pepperoni cannot be used within other dishes.

Pepperoni is simply meat and, when you put your mind to it, anyone is able to incorporate meat into any dish.

Here are some examples on ways in which we can add pepperoni into our everyday food dishes:

Chicken Pepperoni Bake

One way to use pepperoni in your food is with this Chicken Pepperoni Bake. To make this, mix cooked pasta with chicken and tomato sauce before adding in your chopped pepperoni.

Stir this mixture together and place in an oven dish, scattering the top with cheese and bake until golden brown. In the end you will come out with a beautiful pasta dish with that familiar tangy taste.

Pepperoni Empanadas

Empanadas is a dish where you can really get your hands dirty. It is also a dish that you can turn into your own. Whilst filling up your Empanada, feel free to add some cut up pepperoni pieces to add your own twist on the Mexican dish.

Pepperoni Crostini

This is the perfect thing to serve as an appetizer for when you are hosting. Simply grill your bread, add your toppings (cheese, vegetables), and incorporate a sprinkle of pepperoni pieces to finish. This will certainly leave your guests craving more.

Pizza Omelet

This Pizza Omelet is the best thing for if you are craving a breakfast meal at dinner. Whilst making your egg omelet, add the flavors of a pizza. Combine tomato sauce, mozzarella and pepperoni and come out with this unique “pizza” dish.

Pepperoni Grilled Cheese

Pepperoni can be added into anything you wish, even something as simple as your classic grilled cheese. Layer cheese, tomatoes, pepperoni, maybe some spinach, and grill between two slices of bread.

You will end up coming out with a gorgeous dish which you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What Meat is Pepperoni

Why Is Pepperoni Pizza So Popular?

It is clear that pepperoni is everyone’s favorite when it comes to pizza toppings. It is convenient and most people will happily eat it without any problem. But why is this the case? What makes pepperoni pizza so special?

One of the main reasons as to why this pizza is so popular is because of its universal aspect. No matter where you go, people will know what pepperoni pizza is, and this in turn is great for businesses everywhere.

As well as this, pepperoni simply completes the pizza. The tangy, salty flavor layered on top of stringy mozzarella on top of a light tomato sauce is the perfect combination. With a pizza like this there is no wrong.

Final Thoughts

Pepperoni is a meat which can confuse people. Whilst indulging in the delicious pepperoni, many do not stop to think what they are truly eating; it does not have a familiar meat flavor and is presented as an invention.

Pepperoni, however, is simply an inventive combination of pork and beef, created in America and turned into a worldwide phenomenon.

There is a clear misconception that pepperoni can only be used for pizza when that is not the case. Although that was its main purpose, many years of trial and error and experimentation have allowed for a variety of recipes to take on.

So, if you are craving that delicious pepperoni but don’t feel like ordering a pizza, then don’t be afraid to make something new and wonderful from the comfort of your home.

Jess Smith


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