Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Scrapple for Breakfast

Scrapple is traditional food from the Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish. It is basically a big pile of pork mush with cornmeal and spices. Whatever was left of the pig was used for scrapple: hearts, livers, kidneys, head, or anything still attached to bones.

The meat is slow-boiled in broth and then left to cool to form a semi-solid congealed loaf. It is then sliced and pan-fried before serving.

Scrapple is commonly found out east, the Mid-Atlantic states: Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland, New England. Each region has its own variation on scrapple. It is quite similar to white pudding which are popular in England, Ireland, and Scotland.

I did not have pig heart, liver, or kidney laying around the house but I did have a bag of leftover bones and shanks.

Scraps of rack of rib roast, ham bone, and a large slab of pork shoulder steak. It would have been nice to add a smoked pork/ham hock but I forgot to grab one at the market. Oh well, plenty of scraps here to use.

Cut the shoulder into 2 inch blocks and add the shoulder and other scraps to a large stock pot. I added a teaspoon of sage and about a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper for added kick. Simmer for two hours or until the meat falls apart.

Strain the broth and reserve 5 cups of stock. You now have a rich pork stock!

Separate meat from the bones and finely chop into little pork bits. Set aside.

Bring reserved stock to a simmer and then add the chopped bits and add 2 cups yellow cornmeal, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 2 teaspoons black pepper. Cook for about 15-20 minutes and stir quite frequently to avoid burning. The mixture will turn thick and smooth.

Pour the mixture into bread loaf pans and refridgerate until chilled. It is best to leave it in overnight.

In the morning, unmold the scrapple and slice it up however you want to.  Scrapple is a lovely combination of crunchy cornmeal and meat.

Fry up the slices of scrapple in a smoking hot cast-iron skillet. Fry it to desired crispiness.

Garnished with a fried egg. The scrapple had a nice crispy crust while the inside was sort of creamy in texture. It was seasoned well with the cayenne pepper making its presense known, quite a small kick to it. It was a suprisingly light breakfast.

The variations on scrapple use different garnishs such as applesauce, maple syrup, or eggs. I think any decent condiment would work and this meal is not only for breakfast too. Slap it between some bread for lunch.

 I took the less riskier way cooking with ham and pork bones. This seems like a "city" version over the country version with head, hearts, and livers. I would make it again using more traditional pig parts but you can use any pork pickins' you want for scrapple.


  1. We happened to see the episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmer when he was in eastern Pennsylvania and prepared and ate "pork scrapple". It reminded me of a food that we make that we call "liver sausage". Our ancestors (Minnesota German's) would take all the leftover pork from a butchered hog, although I do not believe that they included the kidneys, intestines (they were used for sausage casings), etc. They would include the hocks, the head, the skin, the liver, etc. It was all boiled, ground up, and put in pans to cool. It was then fried and we would add onions and raisins when we fried it. We usually eat it between slices of toast or bread, or just as it comes from the frying pan.

  2. Real PA Dutch Scrapple is made with pork shoulder. There is a huge misconception of using the scraps of the pig - which is total nonsense.

    1. Two years late to clear this up, but I make scrapple following a PA Dutch recipe passed down and we use all the scraps. Kidneys, head, all trimmed bones, liver, etc. These are all combined in a 20 gallon kettle. Only a few scoops of the ground scraps make it back into the finished scrapple or it gets too "heavy". The rest is used for pudding. The shoulder is used for regular eating. I suppose if you wanted to make scrapple months after the butchering a shoulder would do if you can't source good scraps. Perhaps your family had an aversion to using the scraps?


  4. Scrapple IS made traditionally (at least in the Northern Neck of eastern Virginia) mainly with the head and organ meats and some scraps, plus seasonings, meal, and even finely chopped onion. My family has (up until around year 2000, when we no longer raised hogs) made it for generations. We are not Dutch or Amish, although the recipe could have come from there,as a lot of trade was done between Eastern Virginia and the Baltimore area in the past.

  5. We always have eaten scrapple with syrup, like pancake or maple syrup. I have known others to put apple butter or apple sauce on their scrapple. My dad liked to eat ketchup on his. The ratio of meat and meal can vary to make it more savory or more sweet.