You find both the salted cured meats pepperoni and salami on many Italian subs, pizzas, in calzone and Stromboli. If you buy them in a deli, you can either purchase a log-shaped encased meat or have the product sliced. That’s where the similarities end. Read on to learn the difference between salami and pepperoni.
Types of Salami and Pepperoni
When you explore the difference between salami and pepperoni, brace yourself because, technically, pepperoni and salami mean the same thing. Many types of salami exist — Cacciatore, Chorizo, Genovese salami, Lardo, Pepperoni, Soppressata, and more.
We typically refer to Genovese salami when we ask for salami at the deli case. We get pepperoni salami when we order pepperoni.
What is salami?
Often called hard salami, this cured sausage consists of beef, pork, and veal, sometimes mixed with poultry. These blended meats get mixed with garlic, salt and black pepper, plus white wine or vinegar. Adding nitrates helps keep the meat from going bad.
What is pepperoni?
Two forms of pepperoni salami exist — turkey and traditional, the latter being made with beef and pork trimmings. These meats get mixed with anise seeds, cayenne pepper, chili pepper, fennel, garlic, paprika, salt, and white pepper. Adding sodium nitrite acts as a preservative.
While these types of meat have earned a bad rap as unhealthy because a serving of either has more than 400 calories, turkey pepperoni provides a healthy alternative. It only has about 90 to 100 calories per serving.
The Difference Between Salami and Pepperoni: Cooking Uses
You will typically see salami sliced on an antipasto platter or as lunch meat on a sandwich. Its slices usually match the other cold cuts in size. Pepperoni comes in many sizes. People typically think of it in quarter-sized pieces on pizza or diced on microwave pizza, but it also comes in the large-sized lunch meat slices.
While both salami and traditional pepperoni have high-fat content, turkey pepperoni does not. The two former types of meat typically use cheaper cuts of meat in their making.
Salami has much less spice, while pepperoni has the reputation of being spicy.
Both types of meat qualify as a sausage, but people tend to think of ground Italian sausage when thinking of sausage. You make salami by curing the sausage while pepperoni gets dried in the making.
Salami and Pepperoni in the Old Country
You can find salami easily if you travel to Italy. However, pepperoni was created in the United States by an Italian-American. Its popularity spawned in the US, but has not really transferred back to the home country of its inspiration. You will find it used in Italian restaurants in the US though. Even the most traditional of restaurants discovered its wondrous spiciness and the assertive taste it adds to dishes.
If you typically buy your salami already sliced in the grocery store but decide to try some from the delicatessen, beware. It will not look like what you know from the grocers. You need to remove the outer casing before you eat Italian salami. Some sliced meats come with a thin, red casing around each slice. The casing on a full log of salami looks quite different. It may be white, black, or red. It could match the color of the meat. You cannot eat the casing, so you must remove it before you eat, but you can leave it while you slice the meat. Unless you buy sandwich-sliced size pepperoni, it won’t typically come wrapped in any casing.
There you have it. Those are the major differences between salami and pepperoni. Which is your favorite?