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What The Heck is Scrapple?

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, and share a couple of recipes!

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.

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.

Though it takes a little time and patience (finally—a project that gives the microwave a day off!), why not try these recipes and surprise family and guests with an established Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast treat?

Traditional Scrapple

Ingredients:
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
4 bay leaves
Water
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

Directions:
To 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 overgrind.

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.

Turkey Scrapple

A great way to use up leftover holiday turkey for brunch the next day!

Ingredients:
Turkey bones and skin
5 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
Water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Leftover turkey meat and scraps
Maple syrup

Directions:
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.

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Eric Roberts

Is this like head cheese?

Sue K Saur

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.

John Doc

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

Andy lake

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

Cherry Price

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.

Kiki

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!!

Susan Higgins

Thanks, Kiki, we’ve fixed the story!

Carol Hood

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

Shirley Landis VanScoyk

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!”

Kara

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.

Dan

Scrapple is good, but Haggis is better! Just make sure you get it in Scotland with a great Scotch!

Patty Ann

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

Deloris

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?

Brian

Publix and Walmart have it.

Angie

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

Craig

I drive by the Rapa plant in Delaware often. I even love Scrapple so much I took a selfie at the plant sign!

Caron Colletti

Rapa is the best!

Dr. John Touchton

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!!

Leslie moore

I ate this as a child bought from our local meat market I haven’t had this in years now I want some

Leslie moore

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.

Tina

My Dad loved scrapple and Panhas!

Teresa H

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.

Teresa H

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.

mel

You can buy scrapple at Publix and Kroger. 😀 Yummy!!!

sheryl

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.

Anita

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!!

robert

if you are talking scrapple in eastern PA.the eggs are dippy eggs not sunny side up

Marianne

Rapa scrapple in Bridgeville, DE will ship in the winter months.

joyce

Hughes is the best scrapple

Becky

I have never heard of Scrapple, but I think I would like it… Sounds pretty good..

Sreve

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.

Lori

Rapa Brand scrapple is the best..made in Bridgeville, De and is mailed all over the U.S.

Roxy

Someone asked where to get it in AZ. Well Fry’s now carries it!!!!

Deltarose

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!

Hanna

‘@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.

wrong farmers 'nac

i am pretty sure its USDA approved meats not the Federal Drug Administration.

Janet M. Hepburn

FDA stands for the Food and Drug Administration.

margaret

AHHH Remember this well when I lived in PA…WHERE oh WHERE can I find this in AZ?

Stuart Strick

Rapa brand scrapple…food of the gods. Love it!!!

Steve

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.

Shauna

Could Hannah and Kristi give the recipes? My e-mail is [email protected]

Motterns homestead

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.

James Melton

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!

teresa

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

Susan Workman White

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

Trish

My grandparents from the Carolina’s made it. Later my Dad, made it for us. We enjoyed it with syrup or ”lasses

Kristi

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.

hanna

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.

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