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Pepperoni Snack Sticks

I love a good smoky, spicy, and flavorful snack stick. Today’s recipe has got you covered. These Pepperoni snack sticks are taking care of business!!

Follow basic smoked sausage preparation practices when making this sausage.

  1. Clean and sanitize all of your equipment.
  2. Keep your meat and grinder parts super cold (under 34f or 1c) during the grinding process.
  3. Mix your very chilled mincemeat (under 34f or 1c), seasonings and liquid till the mince becomes very tacky.
  4. At the very end add the Encapsulated Citric Acid and mix till everything is well incorporated
  5. Tightly stuff the mince into casings and prick out any air pockets.
  6. .Smoke low and slow till you get to an internal temp of 150f (65.5c)

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5 from 6 votes

Pepperoni Snack Sticks

A beautiful way to enjoy pepperoni on the go
Prep Time1 day
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time1 day 6 hours
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams




  • Let me start off by saying there are several ways you can make this sausage. You can season the meat before you grind or after you grind. I have found that if you season the meat before you grind you will get protein extraction much quicker, but the choice is yours. Let's get started.

Prepare the meat

  • Clean your meat of any silver skin, sinew, arteries and cut into small cubes. Add all of the spices, binder, and liquid to your meat and mix well (DO NOT ADD THE ENCAPSULATED CITRIC ACID AT THIS POINT). Once you have it mixed well, cover with cling film and place into the refrigerator.
  • This would be a good time to prepare your sheep casings by rinsing, flushing and soaking them in water. Place in the refrigerator overnight. (I usually add 1/2 tsp of baking soda for every 2 cups of water that my casings are soaking in)

The Next Day

  • Chill your preseasoned meat. You want it to be below 34f (1.1c)
  • Grind your very chilled meat and fat on a medium plate (6mm). Then regrind on a fine plate (4.5mm). Rechill between each grind, keeping the temperature below 34f (1.1c) at all times. I would recommend partially freezing your meat before the regrind.
  • I find that having your meat partially frozen and formed into small balls that fit into your grinder throat works best for me. Toss in a little at a time and try not to clog up the head of the grinder. When your meat is properly chilled everything should grind nice and easy.
  • Once you are finished grinding, rechill your meat. Once the meat's temperature falls below 34f (1.1c) you can start mixing.
  • Mix the meat till it becomes very sticky. Once it gets sticky you can add the encapsulated citric acid and mix a little more till everything has been well incorporated
  • Stuff your mince meat into the sheep casings and form your links.
  • After you form your links you are ready to start smoking these pepperoni sticks

If you have a digital smoker here is a great cooking schedule

  • 100f (37.7c) for 1 hour (this dries out the sausage) Leave the dampers wide open
    125f (51.6c) for 1.5 hours (apply smoke)
    150f (65.5c) for 2 hours (smoke or no smoke it's your choice)
    175f (79.4c) for 2 hours (no smoke)
    200f (93.3c) till the internal reaches 150f (65.5c) (no smoke)

If you don't have a digital smoker

  • Smoke these at 150f (65.5c) very slowly for 3 hours
    bump up the temp to 200f (93.3c) and cook till you get to an internal of 150f (65.5c)
  • Once finished cooking submerge in ice cold water and hang to bloom for several hours. Enjoy


  • This small diameter sausage takes on smoke very quickly so I only smoke for 1.5 -2 hours, I find that more than that will overwhelm this snack stick.
  • Check the internal temp of your snack sticks around the 175F stage. They should be getting close.
  • When using Encapsulated Citric Acid you must cook your sausage the same day you add that ingredient to the meat. Otherwise you run the risk of the encapsulation breaking which will ruin the texture of your sausage.

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18 thoughts on “Pepperoni Snack Sticks”

  1. 5 stars
    Hello there. First of all you guys are brilliant..can’t say enough about your website and recipes. Great inspiration. Made your mortadella, wieners, Genoa, Cremona salami and I’m sure I’ve made more. Usually in twenty pound batches and everything scales up great.
    So on to my question. Instead of encapsulated citric acid, can I use Fermento Sd for this recipe? It is easier to source up here in Canada.
    Thanks again. Anthony N.
    P.S. would love to send you pics if you like.

  2. Richard Edmondson

    Hey there
    Thanks for putting out such great information
    The recipes and YouTube videos have been a game changer
    My question is between citric acid vs encapsulated citric acid am I going to see much difference in the final results

    1. YES. One will make your sausage tangy while maintaining a great texture (ECA) and the other (regular citric acid) will denature the proteins of your meat leaving you with a crumbly textured sausage.

  3. question regarding ECA….
    in a previous recipe ( summer sausage ) from 1yesr ago.
    Recipe stated sausage should be cooked immediately after ECA addition and stuffing.
    in this pepperoni recipe there is no mention of this

  4. Great video! Last year I followed your kabanosy semi-dry recipe. I did add corn syrup solids. So question have you tried drying any of these sticks, similar to the kabanosy? Thanks.

  5. Love your work! Could you substitute ECA with a starter culture (LHP Dry) and follow the fermentation, cold smoke, and drying cycles that you used in your pepperoni recipe?

  6. Alberto Jose Martinez

    Why You din’t add “sodium erithorbate” acceleretor and inmediatly, without overnight waiting put the sticks to smoker? -excuse my poor english- Thanks

    1. You can do that if you want. There are lots of ways to make this sausage. The way I chose to make it was to season and grind first, let it rest in the fridge overnight, then add ECA, stuff, then finally smoke the next day. Either way is acceptable

  7. If I use Citric Acid Smooth Acid Blend (A blend of lactic and citric acids) in a mix, is there no longer a need for Sodium Erythorbate?

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