December 28, 2004


Not to everyone's taste, this spicy meaty mush, but I sure do love it, even if it is primarily composed of, in the immortal words of my grandfather, "snouts and assholes." Probably because I had it when I was small growing up or visiting family outside Philadelphia, but really, this stuff should have a broader appeal if we can all manage to stomach hot dogs. It's a squarish loaf of ground pork, cornmeal and variable amounts of sausage-like spices, and it can vary in texture when cold from fairly smushy to the firm block we had this time from Dietrich's Meats.

It does tend to be a bit tricky to cook, though. You want a nice hard crunchy crust on your slices, but because the inside of the slice gets softer from the heat, it's a little iffy getting them flipped in the pan without undue mangling. The heat seems to be pretty key to success -- you want moderate heat, not too low or it won't cook fast enough not to stick hard to the pan, and not too high or it'll burn before it gets cooked properly. Be patient and let that crust form. And don't use a crappy pan like we did, that seems to have major hot spots despite being made of cast iron. (???) You have to dig hard into the pan with your spatula and get well under the crust to have even a prayer of well-formed scrapple slices hitting your plate. Mom was the only one of us who managed it.

Even if you end up with a jagged pile of crunchy brown & smushy gray crud on your plate, however, it will be delicious: meaty, soft, crunchy, savory. This batch was less highly spiced than some I've had, but rather meatier. I suspect the fine folks at Dietrich's pride themselves on the quality of their meat and the lack of fillers in their scrapple. Fantastic with eggs and ketchup and toast.

Posted by foodnerd at December 28, 2004 01:35 PM

Ahhh scrapple! I grew up in Cincinnati and we have a similar delicacy that we call goetta. Basically the same thing, except instead of cornmeal, we use steel-rolled oats which makes for a bit crispier end product (at least I think). The 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking has the recipe for goetta/scrapple -- Marion Rombauer Becker obviously being exposed to it by living in Cincinnati. BTW, Gliers is the premier provider in Cincy and they have the website for online ordering.

Love the blog and read it often.

Posted by: Dan T at January 2, 2005 11:06 AM

gosh, thanks! nice to have you along; I love visitors. :-) I have only been in Cincinnati one weekend, and that for a wedding, so i haven't had the pleasure of exploring the output of their greasy spoons -- sounds like I should keep an eye peeled for goetta. Do they have it in Cleveland, too, by any chance? I go there more often.

Posted by: foodnerd at January 2, 2005 11:28 PM

Though I was raised in Cincy, one weekend is often more than enough for most people ;-}

It would be unlikely that goetta goes any farther north than Columbus and even that would be a shot in the dark. I have never seen it outside of the Cincinnati metro area (say a 50mi circumference).

However, you can try a Cincinnati regional dish in Cleveland, namely Cincinnati (also known as Greek-style) chili. If you've never been exposed to it, think something like chili with mace, chocolate and a few other surprises served over spaghetti with your choice of chopped onion, kidney beans and shredded cheddar cheese or on a bun with hot dog, mustard, onion and cheddar cheese (known as a Coney or Coney Island in Cincinnati). Skyline Chili, one of the restaurants that descended from the originator of the dish, has three locations in the Cleveland metro area.

Posted by: Dan T at January 20, 2005 11:50 AM

Here are some tips for frying scrapple:

1. Don't use too much oil. I use about a 50-cent piece-sized dab for each piece. I find that Canola oil works better than Corn oil, for what it's worth.

2. Cut decent-sized slices. If you make them about a 1/2 inch thick, it's much more forgiving.

3. MAKE SURE YOU LET THE FIRST SIDE REALLY COOK. Watch the side of the scapple to assess amount of browning. That's why it's important to cut generous slices (easier to measure cooking progress). When the brown creeps up to near halfway up the side of the slice, it's time to flip.

4. When you go to flip, if you find that the piece isn't giving, let it cook a minute or two longer before you attempt another flip. I find that it's better to cook 3 or 4 pieces at a time. That way, you sort of "test" the one piece, and when that's ready, you know the others are ready. This way, at worst, you're only mangling one piece.

Good luck!

PS. I love scrapple.

Posted by: Thomas at January 25, 2006 10:46 AM

hi my name is jakey and i love scapple so much.It makes my heart beat fast and makes me do alil dance!
i love it

Posted by: Jakey KittyBearface at November 29, 2006 04:31 AM

Here's how to cook scrapple perfectly. It's easy.

Cut 3/8" thick slices from a loaf of refrigerated scrapple. Place in the bottom of a "room temperature" frying pan that is dry. Skip the butter and oils, etc it isn't necessary. Place over a medium-low burner for about 10 minutes and turn, being gentle with them and being careful to get the edge of the spat under the crust. If you turn them earlier than this they'll stick badly and break into pieces.

Continue cooking the flip side for 5 minutes and remove to a serving plate. Your perfect scrapple will have an appetizing dark brown color and taste exactly as it was intended. Nothing greasy about properly cooked scrapple.

P.S. It's safe to freeze uncooked scrapple but it doesn't hold together as well during the cooking process, so avoid this if you can. If you have no choice it helps to slice before freezing.

Posted by: Barry K. at October 21, 2007 09:48 PM

I can't believe noone suggested the correct way to cook scrapple. You have to pat a little bit of flour on each side before cooking.

Posted by: phil at March 27, 2011 10:08 AM

Phil's right. Lightly coat the scrapple with Wondra (finely sifted flour) before cooking. It helps to create the outer "crust" and keep the scrapple slices intact.

Posted by: Gen at July 16, 2011 04:56 PM
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