A Tasty History of Scrapple, In Honor of National Scrapple Day

scrappleImage by Stu Spivack - Made by author, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Happy National Scrapple Day, everyone! This is the perfect day to celebrate one of Chester County’s most unique and beloved culinary traditions: scrapple. This breakfast meat was invented by German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania. The early settlers were farmers who had to make use of every part of the pig, so they came up with a recipe for a pork-based loaf that could be sliced and fried. And thus, scrapple was born!

What Is Scrapple?

Scrapple is a dish made from hog offal, such as the head, heart, liver, and other trimmings. It is boiled with any bones attached, often the entire head, to make a broth. Once cooked, the bones and fat are removed and the meat is finely minced. Cornmeal is then boiled in the broth and the meat is returned to the pot and seasonings are added. The resulting mush is formed into loaves and cooled until set. There are also beef and turkey variations. When prepared, the scrapple is sliced and pan-fried until brown. Sometimes it is coated with flour before frying. Scrapple can also be broiled or deep fried. It is usually served as a breakfast side dish and often severed plain or with condiments such as ketchup, maple syrup, or apple butter.

The Origins of Scrapple

Scrapple originated in Germany and was brought to America by Pennsylvania Dutch immigrants in the 17th century. It was originally made with buckwheat flour but over time evolved to include cornmeal as well. During Colonial times, it was a way to use every part of the hog since nothing was wasted back then. In Pennsylvania Dutch country, there are still many varieties of scrapple made from different recipes passed down through generations.

How to Make Scrapple

Making scrapple is not for the faint of heart since it does involve some work upfront. But if you’re up for a challenge, here’s a recipe for you to try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 hog’s head, cleaned (or 5-6 lbs of pork trimmings)
  • 1 lb of cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sage (optional)
  • lard or bacon grease (for frying)

Directions:

  1. Boil the hog’s head (or pork trimmings) in enough water to cover for 3-4 hours or until meat falls off the bone. Remove any large pieces of bone that remain.
  2. Let the meat cool slightly then remove any meat still attached to the bones and finely chop it.
  3. Return meat to broth and add cornmeal, salt, pepper, and sage (if using). Simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Pour mixture into a 9×13 inch baking dish or loaf pan lined with parchment paper and spread into an even layer.
  5. Let cool completely then refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours so it can firm up.
  6. Cut into slices and fry in lard or bacon grease until browned on both sides. (You can also broil or deep fry.)
  7. Serve with your favorite condiments.

*Note: If you don’t want to use Hogshead you can use 5-6 lbs of pork trimmings instead which will yield the same results
**Note: You can double this recipe and freeze half for later if you’d like
***Note: Feel free to adjust seasonings to your taste
****Note: If using a hog’s head keep in mind that you will need to split it open to remove all the brains (they will sink to the bottom while cooking). You can either discard them or save them for another use such as making brain sandwiches! Brain sandwiches are popular in some parts of Pennsylvania Dutch country so if you’re feeling adventurous give them a try!

That’s it! Now you know how to make scrapple from scratch! Making scrapple may seem daunting but it’s really not that difficult once you get the hang of it! Plus, it’s a great way to use up all those leftover pork scraps from your last meal. And who doesn’t love a good brain sandwich? So why not give this age-old dish a try today? You might just be surprised by how tasty it really is!

A Brief History of Scrapple

Scrapple—a dish consisting of pork scraps and cornmeal that is popular in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States—may not sound particularly appetizing. In fact, it has been affectionately nicknamed “mystery meat” by some. But despite its less-than-appealing name and ingredients, scrapple has been a beloved dish in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware for centuries. So where did this strange dish come from? Let’s take a closer look at the history of scrapple.

Scrapple in America can be traced back to Germany, where a similar dish called ‘panhas’ was popular. Panhas was made from leftover pork parts that were boiled until they formed a thick paste, which was then mixed with oatmeal or wheat flour and shaped into loaves. This dish was not only economical— utilizing less-desirable parts of the pig that would otherwise go to waste— but it was also filling and easy to store, making it perfect for wintertime.

The first scrapple recipes were created by German colonists near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. These early recipes were most likely based on panhas, as many of the German immigrants to this area came from areas where panhas was popular. Over time, the dish evolved to include local ingredients like cornmeal instead of oats or wheat flour, and apples were sometimes added for sweetness.

Today, scrapple is strongly associated with the Mid-Atlantic region from southern New York to Washington, D.C., and from New Jersey to Pittsburgh. The two largest brands of scrapple in the Philadelphia area are Habbersett and Rapa. And while some people still turn their noses up at this dish, there are many devoted fans who enjoy it for its unique flavor and texture. So the next time you’re in the mood for something different, give scrapple a try! You might just be surprised by how much you like it.

A Chester County Tradition

If you’re looking for something a little different to try next time you’re in the mood for some pork, give scrapple a go. This strange but delicious dish has been a staple of Chester County cuisine for centuries, and there’s a good chance you’ll love it! And if you do decide to make scrapple at home, be sure to try out our recipe. And don’t forget to sign up for MyChesCo’s free newsletter, and share this article on social media. Thanks for reading, and happy eating!

For the latest news on everything happening in Chester County and the surrounding area, be sure to follow MyChesCo on Google News and Microsoft Start.

This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.