Smoked Venison Pepperoni
Published: February 5th, 2020
By: Eric Davis

Smoked Venison Pepperoni Submitted Photo

A few years ago, my aunts and uncles all pitched in together and gave me a check to buy a wood pellet grill and smoker as a wedding present. I had been looking at the models at the store where I worked and when they offered to buy one I told them that I’d get my employee discount if I bought it. Conveniently, a customer returned a pellet grill and smoker, saying it was defective because it kept throwing the breaker at his house. As the warehouse supervisor, I was responsible for checking on returned items that were claimed to be defective.

After I tested it in two different outlets, I determined the smoker was not defective and talked to my manager about it. Since the customer returned it with about 10 pounds of pellets in the hopper, my manager didn’t want to put it out on display so he cut me deal to take it home as my wedding present from my aunts and uncles.

Over the next few years, I slowly grew my experience using the pellet smoker with different meats. From ribs, to pork shoulder, to whole chickens I mastered the process of preparing each of them. Then in the hunting seasons of 2018, I had my best year ever and harvested 5 deer. With the surplus of venison in my freezer, I decided I wanted to try using my pellet smoker to prepare some venison.

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After some research online and taste-testing venison snacks made by some others, I decided to try making a smoked venison pepperoni. The recipe is listed below. The first batch I made, I overlooked a detail in my curing salt which had regular iodized salt mixed in with it but the curing salt in the recipe I looked up did not so it called for some extra salt to be added. So, when I took the first bite of pepperoni, I nearly choked from how salty it was! After combing through the details, I realized my mistake and decided to try making it again with some tweaks.

This time when I took a taste of the finished product, it was amazing. Since then, I have made 3 more batches of pepperoni and break it out for large gatherings and around the holidays as a finger food to be paired with cheese and crackers.

Smoked Venison Pepperoni

5 lb. Ground venison mixed with pork at 4:1 ratio

5 Tablespoons Morton Tender Quick curing salt

2 Tablespoons Paprika

2 Tablespoons Sugar

1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper

1 Cup Non-Fat Dry Milk

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1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1 Teaspoon Crushed Anise Seed

1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin Seed

¼ Cup Cold Water

2 2.5”x20” Fibrous Casings

Soak casing in warm water for 20 minutes.

Mix the dry milk with cold water in a small container, add the curing salt and all the spices.

Add the spice/cure liquid to the meat in a large container. Hand mix the meat to make sure spices and cure are spread throughout.

Stuff the meat into casings. Place stuffed casing into fridge for 12-24 hours.

Prepare smoker by setting temperature to 225 degrees Fahrenheit and put a foil pocket with apple wood chips above the fire chamber. Place stuffed casings on smoker.

Use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of the pepperoni. Remove pepperoni from smoker when internal temperature is 155 degrees F.

Place pepperoni into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Let sit in ice bath for at least 5 minutes. Remove and dry with paper towels.

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Enjoy your venison pepperoni now or place in refrigerator to enjoy within a couple weeks. If you want to store for slightly longer, place into vacuum seal bag and seal, then place into freezer. This should stay good for at least 6 months.