Of all of the elements that go into the pizza debate, toppings is one of them. Pineapple is a touchy subject. You can never have too much cheese. Pepperoni is a popular, greasy favorite, but what is pepperoni? It's meat, of course. Other than that assumption, we don't typically give this much thought.

52% of people like meat on their pizza, and pepperoni is a popular part of that category. Now it's time to dive in and know exactly what we're eating. 

How Pepperoni Is Made

pizza, pepperoni, dough, crust, sauce, mozzarella, cheese
Emily Waples

Pepperoni is everything but Italian. Italian-Americans created pepperoni in the 1900s, which actually just translates to large peppers in Italian. Salami would be the real Italian version of pepperoni.

Pepperoni comes down to being a fine-grained, smokey, air-dried salami. That is somewhat of a redundant description considering salami is dried sausage, but the air drying is an essential part of getting the texture that we know and love. Air drying is the process of adding salt and nitrate to a meat, storing in the fridge, then drying in the air.

Being that pepperoni is somewhat of a hybrid meat with its different processes, it is just now becoming accepted by meat lovers and connoisseur. 

What Does it Taste Like? 

If you like meat, you'll like pepperoni. Depending on where you go, it adds a certain amount of spiciness to a slice without overwhelming the eater. I highly recommend adding red pepper flakes to your pepperoni dishes. 

Good pepperoni would mean it is not too rubbery but not too dense either. Once you get past the texture, it is only slightly different from the other popular pizza topping known as sausage. The best part is that grease seems to ooze out of pepperoni, almost being another topping in and of itself. 

Is Pepperoni Only Good on Pizza?

bread, cheese, wheat
Nicole Goldfarb

Use the fact that pepperoni is not Italian to your advantage because while it tastes great on Italian food, it tastes great on a lot of other things. 

Pop your pepperoni into a quesadilla, mix it in with your baked potato, or stick to the basics with homemade pizza rolls.  Pepperoni can even be eaten by itself. Like many other meats, there is really no going wrong with pepperoni. 

It's good to know exactly what you are eating, so no more wondering what is pepperoni. Whether you're eating it on pizza or not, hold off blotting that grease because that's half the magic of pepperoni.