National Scrapple Day: Love It Or hate it?
November 9th is National Scrapple Day. Learn the origins of this Pennsylvania-Dutch breakfast food that is so popular in the Mid-Atlantic regions, it even has its own festival!
Here at Farmers’ Almanac, we love exploring many different regional foods and cuisines and learning about their history and origin. With November 9th being National Scrapple Day, we thought we’d “dig in” to some facts about this unusual breakfast food enjoyed by the folks in the Mid-Atlantic region where it is most popular. But for those not familiar with it, it’s been called “mystery meat,” and takes a little getting used to. So what is it, exactly?
What Is Scrapple?
Also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name, pon haus (which translates literally to “pan hare” or rabbit), scrapple is said to have been invented by 17th and 18th-century German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania. As a result, you’ll find scrapple as a regional favorite in the rural areas near Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and eastern Virginia.
Created so that hungry, hard-working, prudent rural immigrants could make use of all manner of foodstuffs, scrapple originally consisted of a mixture of pork scraps (head, brains, heart, liver, skin) and other trimmings, boiled with bones attached for flavor (later discarded when a suitable broth was achieved). It was then simmered with cornmeal, wheat flour or sometimes buckwheat flour, onions, and spices like sage and thyme.
How Is Scrapple Served?
Formed into loaves and pan-fried, scrapple was typically served at breakfast with apple butter, ketchup, mustard, honey, or maple syrup. While today’s scrapple – available primarily in Mid-Atlantic area grocery stores – adheres to different standards using FDA-approved animal anatomy, it is still a tasty tradition popularly served alongside sunnyside-up eggs and toast. With the current trend in lighter, healthier eating, scrapple is also known in a later incarnation to be made with turkey instead of pork components – or with beef for a different flavor entirely. Scrapple is also appearing more and more on the menus of heritage-based restaurants in Brooklyn, NY, and other places.
Lead image by Stu Spivak, Wikimedia Commons
Though it takes a little time and patience, why not try these recipes and surprise family and guests with an established Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast treat?
- 1 whole pork butt, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- 4 whole hocks, fresh
- 1 whole onion, peeled and cut in half
- 3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 black peppercorns
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
- 3 cups white cornmeal
- 3 cups yellow cornmeal
- Clarified butter for pan frying
- Applesauce or maple syrup
- In a large stockpot, add pork butt, hocks, onion, celery, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Barely cover with water and simmer over low heat until pork is tender and meat falls off the bones, about 2 hours.
- Drain and reserve the stock. Pour the solid contents onto a sheet pan so that you can easily discard the celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves, and all of the bones. Make sure to pull the meat completely off the bones, being careful to remove all the small pieces of bone.
- Add the meat to a food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. Don't over grind.
- Measure 1 gallon of stock and return it to the pot with the meat and cayenne, black pepper, salt, and sage. Bring to a simmer over low heat.
- Add the cornmeal and stir, stir, stir. Simmer until smooth and thick, about 15 minutes or so. Add a little stock or water, if needed, to ensure a smooth texture.
- Pour into 3 loaf pans and refrigerate until solid, preferably overnight. Unmold, slice, and fry in clarified butter until golden brown. Serve with applesauce or maple syrup.
A great way to use up leftover holiday turkey for brunch the next day!
A great way to use up leftover holiday turkey for brunch the next day!
- Turkey bones and skin
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Leftover turkey meat and scraps
- Maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Simmer skin and turkey bones, cleaned of meat, in 5 cups water to make stock measuring 3 cups.
- Discard skin and bones.
- In food processor, grind leftover turkey meat to measure 4 cups.
- Mix cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper with 1 cup water. Add to the measured broth and ground turkey. Stir well.
- Bake in a well-greased small roaster or Dutch oven about two hours, stirring occasionally. If a bit of brown crust adheres to the sides of the roaster, scrape it into the scrapple.
- Put into a loaf pan and chill. Slice and fry in shortening or oil until golden brown. Serve with syrup.
Beth Herman is a freelance writer with interests in healthy living and food, family, animal welfare, architecture and design, religion, and yoga. She writes for a variety of national and regional publications, institutions, and websites.
I grew up in PA around Amish. I always ate scrapple with Karo syrup on.
NO … just NO NO NO
no no no no no no no no no no
I live in SW Kansas. Grandma Lora would make this after Thanksgiving & Christmas by boiling the Turkey carcass and using that meat along with cornmeal. She would fry it for breakfast with syrup. She called it Ponhaus , the recipe looks the same as this Scrapple . Good memories and some good food <3
Easier recipe, 1LB Jimmy Dean sausage. Use directions on box for cornmeal mush. Cook sausage in the boiling water, add the wet cornmeal . Cook 5 minutes stirring constantly. Pour into a a bread loaf pan. Cool until set. Cut and fry slices.
Is this like head cheese?
No, it is more like a tamale without the husk, and formed in loaves. We slice ours and fry it in a dry skillet and eat it as a side like hash browns, but with molasses instead of ketchup.
D & W has the BEST scrapple…and I now can’t find it anywhere.
Even the sores with D & W lunch meats…ALSO THE BEST!!!….don’t carry their scrapple.?????????????where is it sold?
I guess I could ride down to State road…if they still have that retail store
Mr. Melton I’m from the heart of the Amish country on the border of Lancaster and Chester county Pennsylvania. When someone or something is mentioned about Pennsylvania Dutch it’s in relation to their dielect of the German language. It’s people like you that need to do their homework.including Kiki
My Grandfather was “PA Dutch” When he didn’t want us to know what he was saying to my grandmother he spoke in German. He then my father and now my brother has kept the family recipe for scrapple going with some changes. They never used all the above spices and my brother uses buckwheat now. All tasted better than I can find in any grocery or butcher shop!!
My dad would do the same, but his family immigrated to the Downers Grove region in Illinois from Prussia (pre-WWI). He’d speak to my mother’s mother (maternal grandmother to me) in German when he didn’t want us kids to know what he was saying, since Grandma was also of Dutch heritage but her family was from the Pelican Rapids, MN, region, and then she emigrated to North Dakota. I really screwed it up for him when I took formal German in my senior year in high school, and then again in my first year of college. He could no longer hide what he was saying! But just the same, he was proud of me for choosing to learn it… I was a straight A student in the language, even though it was a ‘high’ version, and he spoke the ‘low’ (local dialect he learned from his parents).
I think I will pass on this! 😉 Having been raised and living in KY, I have never eaten squirrel, rabbit or any wild animal that I know of.
Wish we could get it in Kentucky
Pennsylvania Dutch were primarily GERMAN, not Dutch. Pennsylvania Deutsch. You should fix that. That being said, I’m from NJ and my parents served us scrapple as kids. I’ve never known a recipe (like the one you show) that didn’t have organ meat in it. In fact, as soon as I found out what was in it, I never ate it again!!
Thanks, Kiki, we’ve fixed the story!
Yep… “Everything but the squeal” is what”s in it… fry slowly spits crispy outside, creamy inside… too with over- easy eggs and ENJOY!!! (Habbersett’s is THE BEST!.. hand’s down!!!) Raised in South Jersey. In The Villas/ Cape May
Habersett’s is the best, and preferred here in Honey Brook, PA. The best house made I ever had was Kolb Bros in Phoenixville, when we raised our own pigs and had them butchered there. Some people like it thin and crisp, some like it thick and creamy inside. Many families debate on whether it is proper to deep fry or pan fry, or..whether you cut from the short or the long side of the loaf. My German American grandmom would always say, when asked what was in hers “Everything but the squeal!”
Born and raised in Delaware, scrapple is something I grew up on and LOVE, and my kids love it, too. We even have a fall Apple Scrapple festival in Bridgeville, DE that has a huge turnout. We are hopefully going to make our own batch for the first time this year. There are several local scrapple companies, so it is very readily available, and there is great debate over which company produces a superior product.
Scrapple is good, but Haggis is better! Just make sure you get it in Scotland with a great Scotch!
Believe it or not, our German family made scrapple after butchering at our south central Kansas farm. It was sliced thin, fried crispy and served with syrup at any time of day with whatever else was being served
I’m from the south,never heard of,Scrapple,but I would give it a try.We had souse and mush,formed in loaf pans,when I was a kid,but nothing like this.Does anyone know of a southern grocery,that carries it?
Publix and Walmart have it.
I’ve heard & tried Souse meat,It has some of same ingredients except meals & kinda made same way,I wonder if it taste like Scrapple..I guess diff regions of the south made their version
I drive by the Rapa plant in Delaware often. I even love Scrapple so much I took a selfie at the plant sign!
Rapa is the best!
Wow! Reading these comments took me back to the days of my youth on the Jersey Shore (North Wildwood.) My mom would make it for breakfast with eggs, hash browns, or grits if we had any on cold winter mornings. In those days Grits were hard to come by in New Jersey. When I was commissioned in the army, we moved to Georgia, and then to Fort Hood, Texas. Habbersett’s Scrapple, Cheese Steaks, soft “Street Pretzels” and Taylor Pork Roll became the things dreams were made of. I left the Army while at Fort Benning and settled close by in West Central Georgia. Thanks be to God, Publix Food Stores carry both Habersett’s Scrapple and Taylor Pork Roll. (OH HAPPY DAY!!) Winn Dixie carries Jones’ Scrapple (made in Wisconsin if memory serves me) and I was astonished how good it was. It tasted just like Habersett’s!!!! But Habersett’s is still my Scrapple of choice. Dietz & Watson’s Scrapple was good, but…
Thanks to all for the recipes!!
I ate this as a child bought from our local meat market I haven’t had this in years now I want some
I ate this as s child from our local meat market and loved it later my m made her own I haven’t had it in years now I want some.
My Dad loved scrapple and Panhas!
My husband swears by local butchers scrapple recipes over corporate conglamorates. Specifically Waterman’s meats in Hereford, PA, though ive found no better bacon locally than his.
Scrapple aka bloody mud and sippy eggs. Bestill my heart…..or not. Ive lived here 30 years and theres something about a grey nasty looking mush, formed in a bread pan and chilled till solid, then sliced and fried that i cant quite grasp the concept of. Ill take bacon, pork chops, sausage etc but dont even think im going to get near a slice of this delicacy. Gag. Different strokes but not this chicky.
You can buy scrapple at Publix and Kroger. 😀 Yummy!!!
This doesn’t sound like the scrapple my mother in law made. She was from Pa.. She taught me to make it, I use ground sausage and yellow cornmeal chicken broth or water, sage and plenty of black pepper. Fry crisp and serve with syrup. My husband loves it. I think it is about time for me to make my husband some, it has been a while.
Habbersett scrapple is the best hands down…had plenty others including Rapa, Dietz & Watson, Parks and none of them…I repeat, none of them hold a candle to Habbersett….I will say they are good…just not like Habbersett’s scrapple…and it must be cut thin and fried crisp…not think and chunky like restaurants like to serve it all mushy and stuff. Yum, good stuff!!
if you are talking scrapple in eastern PA.the eggs are dippy eggs not sunny side up
Rapa scrapple in Bridgeville, DE will ship in the winter months.
Hughes is the best scrapple
I have never heard of Scrapple, but I think I would like it… Sounds pretty good..
In the mid-South, a similar traditional food called ‘livermush’ is still popular in rural areas ( I used to live in rural North Carolina). It consists of cornmeal & ground up pork parts. Also spices are included in varying amounts, pepper based. If you go to small country cafes in the south, they will serve it & many grocery stores carry it. I have seen it labeled as ‘scrapple’ in the store offerings.
Rapa Brand scrapple is the best..made in Bridgeville, De and is mailed all over the U.S.
Someone asked where to get it in AZ. Well Fry’s now carries it!!!!
Grew up in Maryland where we ate it. Moved to S.C. over 20 yrs. ago and found most here don’t know what it is. Had a hard time finding so, made some myself which only required some good sausage and cornmeal, otherwise we use to pick some up on trips to Maryland. We have found a little store not to far from our house that sells it!
‘@shauna: you can use most of the above recipe, I guess. They probably didn’t use the more “exotic” or costly ingredients, like cayenne pepper or celery stalks, and instead of cornmeal they used buckwheat flour. It’s pre WW I Europe I’m talking about.
Oh, and I know about a variety with liver, and another variety is with the fresh blood.
i am pretty sure its USDA approved meats not the Federal Drug Administration.
FDA stands for the Food and Drug Administration.
AHHH Remember this well when I lived in PA…WHERE oh WHERE can I find this in AZ?
Rapa brand scrapple…food of the gods. Love it!!!
This is very similar to a Cincinnati dish call “Goetta”. Another German influence, made with ground pork, ground beef, pinhead oatmeal, onion and bay leaves.
Could Hannah and Kristi give the recipes? My e-mail is [email protected]
While the recipes above may be good don’t underestimate adding some liver. Our third generation family recipe is very popular because of the richness that lived adds. Oh- and pepper, has to have pepper.
The Pennsylvania Dutch were not Dutch. Why is this still a problem? The name is Deutsch; German. The Pennsylvania Deutsch were German immigrants and are always named incorrectly because no one bothers to really know the facts and journalists continue to not find the truth. Do your homework!
we make it when we butcher hogs later this winter,tastes so good fried crisp with your molasses or jelly on top.we make it outside in the big black kettle,where the smoke flavors it too.no onion or spices for us though,just black pepper and salt for our seasonings
This may be my favorite thing to eat, I have after Scrapple my whole life! Growing up in Walston Switch Maryland it was not only for breakfast but an occasional dinner with eggs and toast. I can remember this Joe from our local store saying that she had people that came from New York they would bring coolers and buy scrapple from her to take back because they couldn’t buy it up there
My grandparents from the Carolina’s made it. Later my Dad, made it for us. We enjoyed it with syrup or ”lasses
My family made it when I was a child on the farm in Minnesota. I long for the taste again. I have my mother’s recipe, but haven’t had the opportunity to make it in years. It’s time intestive. We always fried it and ate it with maple syrup for breakfast along with whatever else we were having for breakfast.
That’s an interesting set of facts… My father, born 1901 in the Ruhr valley in Germany, used to long for the original dish (“Panhas”), but said they couldn’t make it like in his childhood any more.
It definitely contained buckwheat and was eaten together with sugar beet syrup and mashed potatoes. When my mother (unsuccessfully, in my father’s opinion) tried to cook it once, as a child I was very disappointed by the unusual taste.