The Forks blog

Go whole hog

Written by Gretchen McKay on

Today's National Scrapple Day, which if you didn't grow up in Pennsylvania Dutch country might beg the question: What the heck is scrapple?

And perhaps more importantly, do I really want to eat it?5AU01K4C

If you're not a fan of organ meat, we're guessing the answer might be a resounding "Nooooooo."

Created more than 200 years ago by Dutch colonists who settled near Philadelphia, scrapple is the definitive nose-to-tail dish, made from the odd bits and ends of the pig (head, heart, liver) mixed with cornmeal and spices. Think Spam, but a little less solid. Mennonites and Amish know it as pon haus.

Cut into slices and pan fried --  fans like it crispy on the outside and soft on the inside --  scrapple is usually served with eggs and/or pancakes, and topped with maple syrup, ketchup or jelly.  

It  took some searching, but we found at least one local restaurant with scrapple on the menu, Marty's Bar & Grill on Rt. 19  in Cranberry, where it's part of an "Amish Style" breakfast platter ($6.95). Farther east in Altoona, Tom & Joe's Diner also dishes it up. So does the Bedford Diner in Bedford. 

Here in the city, a handful of butcher shops sell the mush-like meat, which is similar in taste to Irish "white pudding," as does Giant Eagle at most of its stores (it carries The Meadow's brand). 
"It's not as bad as it sounds," insists Tom Friday, proprietor of Tom Friday's Market in Brighton Heights, where you'll occasionally find scrapple in the meat case in cooler months.

scrappleYou also can place an order for it at Crested Duck Charcuterie in Beechview and Specialty Meats in the Strip District.  

Or buy it online ($25 for 6 lbs., plus shipping) at Rapa or Habbersett, which has been in the scrapple biz since 1863. 

 Post-Gazette (top) and Rapa (bottom) photos.

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