Lunch Meat of the Week – Pepperoni

October 25, 2018 at 5:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Packaged pepperoni

Pepperoni is an American variety of salami, made from cured pork and beef mixed together and seasoned with paprika or other chili pepper.

Pepperoni is characteristically soft, slightly smoky, and bright red in color. Thinly sliced pepperoni is a popular pizza topping in American-style pizzerias and is used as filling in the West Virginia pepperoni roll.

The term “pepperoni” is a borrowing of peperoni, the plural of peperone, the Italian word for bell pepper. The first use of “pepperoni” to refer to a sausage dates to 1919. In Italian, the word peperoncino (diminutive of peperone) refers to hot and spicy peppers.

Pepperoni is a cured dry sausage similar to the spicy salamis of southern Italy, such as salsiccia Napoletana piccante, a spicy dry sausage from Naples, or the soppressata from Calabria. The main differences are that pepperoni has a finer grain (akin to salami of Milan, a spiceless regional variant of salami), is usually softer, and is produced with the use of an artificial casing (instead Italian salami are produced using natural gut for casing and are made of pure pork). Pepperoni is mass-produced to meet the demand for the sausage. In most of Italy pepperoni would be considered a type of salamino piccante.

Pepperoni is usually made from a mixture of pork and beef. Turkey meat is also commonly used as a substitute, but the use of poultry in pepperoni must be appropriately labeled in the United States.

Curing, with nitrates or nitrites (usually used in modern curing agents, to protect against botulism and other forms of microbiological decay) also contributes to pepperoni’s reddish color, by

Pepperoni atop a pizza, above the diagonal cuts.

reacting with heme in the myoglobin of the proteinaceous components of the meat.

According to Convenience Store Decisions, Americans annually consume 251.7 million pounds of pepperoni on 36% of all pizzas produced nationally. Pepperoni has a tendency to curl up from the edges in the heat of a pizza oven. Some pepperoni is produced in thicker slices, so that the edges curl intentionally.

Pepperoni can also be found accompanying different types of cheeses as a cheap snack food in convenience stores or gas stations.

In Nova Scotia, deep fried pepperoni served on its own (usually with a honey mustard dipping sauce) is common pub food.

 

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