Culinary Sleuth

Scrapple Musings

(recipes below)

Scrapple musings found on the Internet (1998):

"I've seen it being made; my wife's relatives are farmers in central Pennsylvania. After butchering you boil the heck out of the rest of the pig. The meat is then mixed with spices, poured into bread pans and allowed to set. The resulting loaves are then sliced, and the slices fried. It's actually not bad; I've eaten it with maple syrup and no kidding, it tastes like pancakes. Except it's meat, and that's something I can't quite get over."

"Scrapple also has a lesser cousin called puddin, which I assume is made up of all the stuff that isn't fit for scrapple."

"Here in Cincinnati you can buy what appears to be another cousin of scrapple, called goetta (pronounced GET-uh). It seems to be scrapple made with corn meal."


And finally, this disgusting little vignette on how to make old-fashioned homemade scrapple:


"First, we begin with the head of a pig (fresh is always preferable to frozen). Exactly which parts of a pig's head are included in Scrapple depends somewhat on regional preference.

"To begin, the head should be cut in half, or even quartered. (The ears make for convenient handles while sawing the skull.) While an axe or cleaver can be used to split the head, a saw is preferable in that it produces no bone fragments.

"Once the head is sectioned, some people remove the brains. Some remove the teeth—bashing them off with a cleaver. Yet others remove the eyes. The most nutritious scrapple contains the entire head! That said, however, special care should be taken to remove the ear drums. Left in place, they contribute a distinctively bitter taste to the Scrapple, which while popular in Pittsburgh, is generally disliked elsewhere.

"Next, all desirous head and non-head matter, including heart, feet and tail, are cooked in a pot with just enough water to cover. During cooking, meat loosens from bone and the skin, ears, rooter and nearly all head gristle softens. The resulting broth harbors an explosion of nutritional goodness!

"Bones and loosened meaty matter are strained from the broth, which should be set aside. When the meat has cooled, pick through it, removing bones and hard gristle. Grind up the skin and soft gristle, rooter and so on. Recombine the ground meats with all but about a cup of the strained broth. For each two cups of broth reunited with meat, add one cup cereal (cornmeal) to thicken. Bring to a slow boil, stirring all the time. Add salt, black pepper, red pepper, sage, onion powder, and if you're feeling adventurous, some bacon bits.

"Continue stirring until it arrives at the consistency of porridge. Pour into loaf pans and cool. The Scrapple is finished!"




Copyright © 1998, Lynn Kerrigan. No portion of this article may be reproduced for publication without express, written permission of the author.


This page created 1998 and modified February 2007