Gamebird Gourmet // Pheasant Pepperoni Sticks

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A favorite for the Walton’s Meatgistics team, there’s nothing like the awesome flavor of pepperoni. Combine that with your favorite gamebird and BAM, a flavor you’ll love. You have to give this recipe a try, it’s the perfect truck snack or appetizer for the big game.


Recipe: Pheasant Pepperoni Sticks

Meat Block
Pheasant Breast
Pork Fat

Equipment Needed
Meat Grinder
Meat Mixer (optional)
Sausage Stuffer
 
Supplies
Pepperoni Unit
Sure Cure (included with pepperoni)
Sure Gel Meat Binder
Encapsulated Citric Acid (optional)
26mm Cellulose Casing (other snack stick casings can be used)
 
Directions
Any time you use a low fat protein like pheasant you will need to add some fat to the sausage, without it you run the risk of the sausage being dry and flavorless. We think pork fat is the best fat to use as it is does not have a strong flavor, very white, and most importantly it has a creaminess to it that is far superior to other fats. 
  • Cut your pheasant breast and pork fat into small enough pieces that will easily fit down the throat of your grinder, then freeze meat for at least 20 minutes or until it is somewhat solid.
  • Grind all meat trying to alternate between pieces of pheasant and pieces of pork fat, this will help the two mix more thoroughly. Use a 3/8” plate for the 1st grind and a 1/8” plate for the 2nd grind. 
  • During the 2nd grind you want to feed just enough meat down the throat of the grinder to allow the auger to grab the meat and push it forward. Putting too much meat down the throat and pushing it with the meat stomper will actually cause your grinding to take longer and overly stress the proteins in the meat.
  • Mix in the correct amount of seasoning, sure cure, sure gel meat binder and water into your meat and mix until you achieve protein extraction.  This is when the meat is sticky and tacky and prevents the fat from rendering out of the product during the cooking portion.
  • Mix in the encapsulated citric acid during the last 60 seconds of mixing, adding it too early will cause the encapsulation to rupture and will denature the proteins too early, causing a crumbly texture. Encapsulated citric acid acts as a cure accelerator and imparts a tang to the pepperoni. If you do not want that tang then you can either skip adding the encapsulated citric acid and hold your product overnight to give the cure time to work or you can use a different cure accelerator like Smoked Meat Stabilizer. We like the tang it adds so we are using it in this sausage.
  • Stuff into casing of your choice, we used cellulose casings, which give us a nice skinless finished product but you can also use either fibrous or smoked collagen casings. Stuff until casings are full, refilling sausage stuffer as needed and then transfer to your smoker.
  • Start your smoker at 120° F if it will start that low, if not start at lowest possible setting and run with no smoke and no humidity for 30 minutes.
  • Then heat your smoker up to 135° for 1 hour with smoke and humidity, then go to 160° for 1 hour and finally at 180° until the internal temperature is 165° since this is poultry. 
  • Take directly from the smoker and place in an ice bath or shower your product with a fan running for 5-10 minutes. If you don’t adequately cool down the product you will have trouble getting the cellulose or fibrous casing to peel from the meat. If you use a smoked collagen casing, and you don’t cool it down enough the casing will peel away from the meat. So, no matter what casing you choose, the ice bath or shower is a critical period.
  • Let your pepperoni sit out at room temperature for at least an hour and the transfer to a cooler for holding overnight.
  • Take them back out of the cooler and again, let them sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before vacuum packaging or you might have condensation in your vacuum bag.