Okay, eating clean is expensive. I know; I know: it’s not as expensive as getting sick. But, it’s still expensive. So, I try to make as much as I can homemade to save money where I can. I live in a small town, so I also do a lot of surfing on line to find the best deals on things like salt, coconut flour, coconut oil….I try to find the best ways to save money that I can.
So the other day, I decided to look on-line for uncured pepperoni (always looking for a way to make our Friday night pizza night a little more like a treat). Holy, moley! You wouldn’t believe how expensive it is. It’s crazy! The cheapest I found was about $17 a pound. Wow. I don’t know if I’ve ever paid that much for anything. Well, I probably have, but nothing comes to mind. Anyway, so my first reaction was to figure out how I could make it myself. I’m like that: that’s why I sew, bake, cook, do carpentry when needed, craft, build, etc…It’s all in a reaction of ‘how can I make it cheaper and better’. So, I looked into how to make cured meats. Well, it involves using nitrates, which I’m trying to avoid. So, let’s go back a little farther to, like, colonial times. Nitrate free, how did they ‘cure’ things? Yes, the answer is: salt. I think I used enough salt here to make it seem like cured meat, but didn’t use so much that it was like a salt lick. This is easy to make, really tasty, and much better for you than pre-made stuff. I like having control over what’s in my food. It really is tasty, and it tastes very much like pepperoni. We ate one entire log as soon as it came out of the oven. I had to fight the kids off from eating it all. Okay, without much further ado, here’s the recipe:
2 pounds 85% lean grass fed beef (could use bison or even lamb, if you wanted to experiment)
2 Tsp. Liquid Smoke
2 Tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tsp. Whole Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Mustard Seed
1 1/2 Tsp. Whole Fennel Seed
1 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
1 Tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/2 Tsp. Granulated Garlic
1/2 Tsp. Coconut Sugar
Grind together the salt, black pepper, mustard seed, fennel seed, crushed red pepper, paprika, garlic, and sugar. I used my suribachi (my Japanese style mortar and pestle) and smashed them together. I didn’t use my coffee maker to grind them because I wanted it slightly chunky. I crushed them until the pepper was uniformly chunky. (This is what is looked like before I crushed them – I just liked the picture)
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the crushed spices, meat, and liquid smoke. Incorporate everything very well and place in a freezer zip top bag. Squeeze the air out of the bag and refrigerate for at least 48 hours. I . When done ‘curing,’ take out of refrigerator and form into 4 equal size logs. (this is very easy to make, but since it takes so long to make, you may want to double the recipe and freeze extra) Place on a greased rack over a cookie sheet (I used my broiler pan for it). Bake in a 200⁰ oven for about 7 hours, until dry and well browned. Allow to cool before eating.
Hope this is a blessing to you. Enjoy!