- Prep time 4 hours
- Cook time 3 hours 30 minutes
- Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan
Waste not, want not. Scrapple, as you may gather from its name, was created as way to use leftover pig parts, commonly referred to as offal. At its core, scrapple is a dish of pork meat mixed with spices, broth, and cornmeal that is placed in a mold and served sliced and fried. It's a delicious, crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside breakfast meat to accompany your toast and eggs.
Scrapple has roots in Germany, and arrived in Pennsylvania with a wave of German settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s been enjoyed in the region ever since, and Pennsylvania Dutch producers ship it to chefs around the country who have been incorporating this humble ingredient made of scraps into their menus. What was once largely a by-product—primarily a way to use up whole animal parts like heads, trotters, and tails—has become a delicacy. One taste of this tender, sausage-y, flavor-packed pâté fried crisp and golden will have you wondering why it took so long to catch on.
Scrapple broth—what remains after simmering the meat—can be frozen and used to make scrapple with whatever leftover pork you have on-hand. Pork butt, ribs, hocks, shanks, and bulk sausage all work well and will contribute a variety of flavors and textures. Experiment with different cuts and see what you enjoy most.
Frying scrapple is a simple pleasure, and seeing that beautiful crunchy crust on the underside when flipping a slice is true satisfaction. Make sure your scrapple isn't too thick or thin (3/4-inch slices should do the trick) and work with a hot, well-greased skillet or the scrapple may crumble or fall apart. For extra-crispy scrapple, lightly dredge both sides of each slice with flour before frying and keep a close eye on the pan to prevent burning. For a real treat, add a slice of fried scrapple to an egg and cheese sandwich or grilled cheese—its intense porkiness and crunchy exterior will make you forget all about bacon (at least temporarily).
2 1/2 pounds
pork butt, preferably bone-in, skin-on
1 1/2 pounds
pork spare rib tips
cloves garlic, halved
large onion, halved
salt and pepper, to taste
- Add the pork, peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, garlic, and onion to a large pot. Fill the pot with water until the contents are just covered, and set it over high heat.
- Using a spoon, remove the fat that floats to the top of the water as it comes to a boil. Once it's boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until meat is tender and falls off the bone (2 to 3 hours).
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat from the pot to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
- Place another large bowl in the sink with a strainer on top of it. Strain the broth from the pot into the bowl, catching the remaining spices, small bones, pork pieces, and alliums in the strainer.
- Reserve at least 4 cups of the broth for the scrapple. You should have plenty left over to freeze for future use.
- Rinse out the pot and add 4 cups of the strained pork broth. Add the herbs, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the herbs are fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove the herbs with a slotted spoon and set aside (but don’t discard).
- Slowly add the cornmeal to the broth while whisking to prevent clumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer until thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir often to prevent the cornmeal from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- While the cornmeal cooks, separate the meat from the bone using your fingers and discard any extra fat, tendons, skin, or other parts. Discard everything but the meat.
- Grind the meat coarsely in a food processor or meat grinder, but don’t overdo it. If you don't have either, simply chop the meat as finely as you can. Season it liberally with salt and pepper, then add to the cornmeal mixture and stir well to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pick the leaves off the reserved sage, thyme, and oregano and chop them finely, then add to the scrapple mixture.
- Pour the scrapple mixture into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and let it cool. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
- To serve, cut the scrapple into 3/4-inch slices and pan-fry in butter or oil until crisp.