No dish is more West Virginian than the mighty pepperoni roll. The pillowy creation is ubiquitous in the Mountain State, and for good reason. Not only are the rolls delicious, but they were also created to be the ultimate food of convenience.
Pepperoni rolls were first popularized by Italian immigrants working as coal miners in north-central West Virginia. The basic concept is simple enough: a fluffy, white roll filled to the brim with thin, finger-length sticks of pepperoni. Nothing more, nothing less.
But magic happens during the baking process, when pepperoni oil seeps into and seasons the bread. The outcome is a unique flavor and textural experience, with the chew and saltiness of the cured meat plus the sweet notes of white bread. Part of the rolls’ appeal is that they are enjoyable at any temperature, but they are best served warm from the oven.