Scrapple: Meatloaf’s Grotesque Philly-Born Cousin

Waking up to the smell of savory breakfast meats cooking in the morning is probably the best substitute for an alarm clock; you all but float towards the kitchen, dragged by your nose and mankind’s innate love of a.m. sizzily meats. But as you arrive at the stovetop and look down at the pan there’s a disappointing realization…dammit…Scrapple. Scrapple is another one of those iconic members of Philadelphia regional cuisine that dances clumsily along that fine line between appealing and repulsive. We here at Phoodie are not here to decide which side of that line you reside; as impartial scrapple reporters we ask the hard questions, namely, what the hell is the stuff and where does it come from? Scrapple comes to us by way of the Pennsylvania Dutch Settlers. According to our friends over at Habbersett,

It was “invented” in Chester County, Pennsylvania’s oldest settlement–and was the logical result of thriftiness and love-of-good-eating that characterized Chester’s early Dutch settlers. The nourishing liquid and succulent meat bits that remained in the big iron kettle, after liverwurst and other pork products were prepared, could not be wasted

They’re really great at putting an appealing spin on something that is actually jellied meat scraps. Wait, scrapple isn’t made from scraps, silly, it’s made from “…remnants of value.” No matter where it comes from, it’s yet another on the list of those divisive Philly foods that we love to hate (and eat). Anyone have a great holiday Scrapple recipe? Post in comments.

  • tsarstruck

    This NYT piece describes perhaps the best back-and-forth letters to the editor of all time.

    It ends like this:

    “To the Editor of the New-York Times:

    Let a few of your economists try the following recipe and they will find it is all it is cracked up to be: Take a calf’s left hind leg and let it hang until it will just stay hung without falling, then take it down, after cutting the bone out chop the meat into pieces about the size of a walnut, put them on the roof in a rain-storm for twenty-four hours, after which (if a cat don’t get them) boil with a pound of licorice-root, let the lot gently simmer for a few minutes and then add a paper of Lorillard’s century tobacco with a little old rye whisky, and you will have the meanest mess under the sun except scrapple.


  • Poster Nutbag

    despite being a life-long philadelphian, i had never heard of scrapple until the 1993 world series (or was it LCS) when tim mccarver would not shut up about scrapple. dude was crazy for the stuff and it made me feel weird, because how could i not know about scrapple if it was as famous as tim mccarver said it was? to this day, i have still never tried scrapple. thanks, tim mccarver.

  • CEF

    I love scrapple more than anything on earth. More than my family. In fact, I saw a Scrapple Wedding Cake at scrapplefest and was thinking of getting married just to have it be there to celebrate with me.

  • Deafmute

    The 1930′s era WPA guide to Philadelphia mentions scrapple as being adapted from a Native American headcheese made with cornmeal. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

  • jackgirl

    to all those who don’t like scrapple – i’ll say this: “you’re not doing it right.” slice it thin, get it real crispy, so that there is just a tiny bit of mushiness in the middle, and then slather with apple butter. amazing. also – try scrapple’s close cousin – Mush. scrapple w/o the meat (i.e. just cornmeal and salt). make the same way, but fry in lots of butter and then add maple syrup.

  • bwm

    I find it hard to believe that it’s possible for a “life-long philadelphian” to have “never heard of scrapple.” That’s like saying you’ve never heard of the Mummers. You don’t have to go to the parade, but you know damn well it’s there.

  • gu

    I love scrapple! It’s savory like sausage but different. It’s OK with apple butter but a little too sweet for me. We always dredged lightly in flour then pan fried in a touch of vegetable oil to get that crusty skin and soft center. And it was sliced about the thickness of a pencil. Too thin and you don’t get that combination of textures. Serve with a HEINZ ketchup smiley face, or Christmas tree for the holidays! Goes best with any breakfast eggs.

    Hank’s in Chadds Ford does it well if you don’t want to commit to buying a whole brick.

    I agree with jackgirl about mush preparation!

    I want some now!

  • Lewis Swartzbaugh

    I grew up making scrapple from the left overs of the pig and what a good meal that does make. However now that I’m older and am on Weight Watcher. I need to know if anyone has figured out how many points say 4 oz is equal to.

  • http://earthlink Willy

    Try making Scrapple Milkshakes,Use Scapple ,Heavy Cream,then blend to a thick slurpy .Next Nuke it.Then Add black olives and top it with Blue cheese.It a perfect hot food for on the run.

  • Stan

    Scrapple – Grotesque Cousin

    Firstly, the Reference isn’t correct. Today, they’re called Pennsylvania Dutch, but they’re actually German. Originally it was Pennsylvania Deutche. Over the Years, it has Mistakenly Metamorphosed into PA Dutch.

    Secondly, if you Google Scrapple, you’ll find that it originated in Germany. You’d be surprised how much information, a Search Engine can Provide… if you care to Utilize this Tool.

    Obviously this writer researched the topic being written about. After all, Millions of People Read the NYT, and a person… especially a writer, wouldn’t want to get it wrong or anything.

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