back to article Post-pub nosh deathmatch: Souse versus scrapple

Our popular post-pub nosh deathmatch series takes a decidedly Pennsylvania Dutch turn this chilly November, as we present for your drunken dining pleasure two stateside dishes suggested by our gourmet readers. The contenders weighing in for this culinary clash are souse and scrapple, a couple of carnivore-friendly concoctions …


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  1. jai

    not so sure about this weeks selection

    if i'm honest, and i staggered home with a belly full of beer, and went to eat either of these, i don't think i'd have a full belly anymore, just a pending cleaning bill and the prospect of the following morning spent working over the kitchen floor with a bucket and mop and disinfectant...

    1. wowfood

      Re: not so sure about this weeks selection

      Agreed. Looking at Souse it looks a lot like dog food. And considering two of the ingredients (pigs ears, trotter) are actually treats we used to buy for our dog just makes it seem worse.

      The Scrapple however looks quite edible (once it's been fried) I have but one question.

      Step 1: Boil the pork in 4-5l of water with laurel leaves, cloves, salt and pepper. But you don't list laurel leaves in the ingredients (unless it's another name for bay leaves)

      And if Laurel leaves are another name for bay, then why later do you say add polenta and herbs? Why not just polenta and the sage?

      And an additional ending bit. Just because I dont want to much up if I try this (tempted to) when you say 2.5l of strained broth. Would it be best to pour in all the strained broth and let it reduce to 2.5l for a stronger taste? Or just pour in what's needed.

      1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

        Re: Re: not so sure about this weeks selection

        Aye, that should say bay leaves, to match the ingredient list.

        Add polenta and herbs - sage, as listed, and perhaps thyme, as suggested afterwards.

        I haven't tried reducing the broth. Sounds like a plausible enough plan. Let us know if you try it.

      2. pete 22

        Re: not so sure about this weeks selection

        I live in the region where these come from. Most people around here save themselves a *lot* of trouble and simply buy sausage ready-made. You then don't have to worry about the rest of it, just the corn meal or polenta. Save the grease from browning the sausage so you've something to fry it in later - it adds the flavor also. This is a breakfast staple among farmers and laborers here, at least it was when I was a child.

  2. Pen-y-gors

    I think stick to the bacon butty...

    ...and why did this article make me think of Cordelia Gummer and beefburgers?

  3. Mark 62

    As Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs says about scrapple

    It's everything the government won't let you put in hot dogs.

  4. Tim Worstal

    Laurel and bay

    They are the same thing.

    As to coarse cornmeal? What, not have it in Spain? We've got it here in Portugal no problems. And you can make it easily enough. Stick some of the corn for the chickens in the coffee grinder :-)

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Laurel and bay

      It's the perennial problem round here - getting anything that's not your bog-standard ingredient. Mind you, there's no shortage of pig ears and trotters.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Laurel and bay

      There's what we call "bay" in the UK, which is short for "bay laurel" and is a nice flavouring herb. Then there's the ordinary laurel that's used as a tough hedging plant. You don't want to be using that as it's poisonous.* Probably this confusion is why the herb is generally known just as "bay leaves".

      * ...and might, inconceivable though it sounds, make your scrapple taste even worse.

  5. Phil E Succour
    Thumb Up

    Watch where you're putting that pipe!

    That scrapple looks the business on the breakfast plate, much more appealing than the tongue.

    Katarina needs to polish up her boffin pipe technique for the next death match, should be more out of the side of the mouth methinks.

  6. Tanuki
    Thumb Up


    If in these post-BSE times it was still legal to do so I'd upload my recipe for scrambled-egg-and-brains, which is excellent when sprinkled lightly with garlic-salt and served on hot buttered toast.

    [Speaking of Brains, I have a six-pack of Mr. Brain's Faggots in the bottom of the freezer. They've been there for such a long time I'm surprised they haven't developed sentience]

    1. Robin

      Re: BRAAAAINS!!

      That sounds alright actually!

      p.s. Your segue from brains to Brains was excellent there. I'm glad you didn't continue on from Faggots.

    2. frank ly

      Re: BRAAAAINS!!

      It's a long time since I had one of Mr Brain's Faggots in my mouth. (I'd better stop now.)

  7. The Nameless Mist

    And this is why

    This kind of carnivore concoction makes me realise.

    1... I'm damn happy to be a vegetarian

    2.... given people think up these receipes, who the heck has eaten the "good" (and I use that word advisedly) bits of the animal and left some poor sod with these "trimmings".

    1. EddieD

      Re: And this is why

      Not eating offal is one of the biggest calamities to hit the western diet, the foods I was brought up on (60s and 70s) are really hard to find. Stuffed lambs' hearts... mmmm....

      I remember when I was in Greece visiting some friends for Easter (it's well worth visiting any country that practices Orthodox Christianity at Easter for the incredible vibe it brings), and we had the traditional roast lamb - made by getting a lamb, and roasting it an oven. Whole. I've not been looked at by any food higher up the chain than whitebait, so I was a bit non-plussed, but when my friend's husband and his father had a bit of barny about who got to scoop out the brain, I was very chuffed.

      We're far too wussy about our food these days.

      Although, I don't think i'll be rushing to try these recipes...

      1. Trokair 1

        Re: And this is why

        I wouldn't make scrapple myself but if you find some Rappa brand at a supermarket then you are in luck. It is the second best example of the awesomeness of scrapple that I have ever had. The first being Delaware Maid brand made in small batches in Delaware MD.

    2. Captain DaFt

      @The Nameless Mist

      "Trimmings"? Around here it's commonly said that the only inedible part of the pig is the squeal.

  8. Adam JC
    Thumb Down

    Okay, so fair do's...

    I got as far as 'pigs trotter' before I threw up a little bit in my mouth :-(

  9. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Lester, next time label these as NSBL - Not Safe Before Lunch. It's not quite noon yet here in the States, but after seeing the souse, well, my appetite has gone missing. The scrapple didn't look too bad, though, 'specially since you used a good cut of meat as opposed to floor-scrapings from the slaughterhouse.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Please

      Well, having tackled the pig's ears and trotter, I couldn't in all honesty face hog offal for the scrapple. I'm sorry you've lost your appetite. When you get it back, we'll send you some souse...

      1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

        Re: Please

        How about just a simple bacon sarnie?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Zombie says "Braaaiiins... Braaaaiinnnss..... er, then again maybe not".

      If you *really* want "Not Safe Before Lunch or After Lunch or Any Time At All" then click the following. Or, rather don't, unless you want to lose your appetite for the rest of the day:-

      Please note that this is a canned product apparently commercially sold under several brands in the United States, and yet it's one of the most unpleasant-sounding-and-looking "real" products I've come across. It's the colour of the "milk gravy" in the can that makes it all the worse.

      1. Trokair 1

        Re: Zombie says "Braaaiiins... Braaaaiinnnss..... er, then again maybe not".

        Never seen canned pork brains myself and I doubt they would be a treat for me. That said, Scrapple is a wonderus concoction sent down from the heavens.

  10. Stuman8484

    Just unloaded my lunch onto the keyboard.

    If I were to collect it all up into a bowl and put it in the fridge for a while, it would still come out more attractive than the souse.


  11. Jemma

    Kudos to the girl...

    For holding the first one long enough to take a pic without upchucking. I can't even bear to look at it let alone with the smell as well.

    Its no wonder the peasants were revolting if they had to eat that. Its the sort of stuff even a ravenous hyena would leave on the side of the plate.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Kudos to the girl...

      What is the matter with you lot? Not only did my 10-year-old daughter hold it for the photo, she then ate some and had a second helping. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Now, when I was a lad, etc, etc

    2. wowfood

      Re: Kudos to the girl...

      Its no wonder the peasants were revolting

      You are what you eat. The peasantry ate food that was revolting, so they were revolting.

  12. Jonathan Walsh
    Thumb Down


    Souse looks like tinned cat food.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Yukk

      Cat food smells really nice when fresh out of the steam oven, it only gets that "cat food" smell when they add the gravy - or jelly as you'd probably call it.

      Tastes quite good as well - it's all the chicken heads and feet that give it such a wondrous flavour.

      Yes, Whiskas do a "product appreciation" course where you make - and taste - a little of it.

      Was a very interesting summer placement, glad I did it.

      1. hplasm

        Re: Yukk

        Nah- cat food needs salt- which is really not! good for cats; otherwise...

  13. Tim 69

    Souse and Potjevleesch have a lot of similarities, the biggest one being they both make me barf.

  14. Thecowking
    Thumb Up

    You can always make me an offal I can't refuse

    And I will say it up front, the Souse has me drooling. I bet it's fair tasty.

    Then again, I'm Chinese and as everyone knows, we'll eat _anything_.

    I think the missus might have a few words to say to me if I started reducing offal in the kitchen though, she doesn't even let me have tripe steamed with ginger, honey and soy.

    Bah! now I'm hungry!

    (Also lamb's hearts are very easy to get in most super markets and roast up a treat)

    1. wowfood

      Re: You can always make me an offal I can't refuse

      lol. A chinese girl I know said that the chinese will "eat anything with it's back towards the sky"

      I then asked if they eat babies. She wasn't impressed.

  15. disgruntled yank

    Have to wonder

    I have to wonder about the ethics of making scrapple with pork butt rather than with all the miscellaneous bits. Of course, I've never had any ambition to make the stuff. And, I repeat, now that you're starting to explore Pennsylvania Dutch food, it's time to look into hog maw.

    (And is Katrina hoping that a pipe of harsh tobacco will kill the taste?)

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Have to wonder

      Hog maw is on our list...

      1. disgruntled yank

        Re: Have to wonder

        Bravo! Don't forget to save some to be fried up next day.

  16. Alan Esworthy
    Thumb Up

    cultural preferences

    I had a nice laugh over the posts from those who find these two foods nauseating. I suspect that a blindfold might make a lot of difference as both can be quite delicious. Non gustibus and all that, though.

    I was very fortunate as a boy and young man to live on more than one continent and experience several cultures, especially their cuisines. It's not that I find all foods to my liking, but I'm never put off by the idea of any food. This makes it possible, among other things, to enjoy a delightful substitution for croutons. Earthworms or grubs seasoned with a bit of garlic fry up very nicely and are good and crunchy on my salad.

    My father grew up near Philadelphia and we had Reading Terminal Market scrapple in the house as early as I can remember. I've always loved it. Souse just doesn't have a good texture for my tastes, though.

    1. EddieD

      Re: cultural preferences

      And don't ignore stir-fried locusts - as one of my Dad's colleagues said "a bit like pork scratchings. With legs"

    2. hplasm

      Re: cultural preferences

      Always interesting are people who like things until they find out what they are- then they go off them.

      Freud would have a field day...

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Trokair 1
    Thumb Up

    Scrapple is the answer

    Although I applaud the obvious effort taken, Scrapple is less to be made and more to be ate. Terrible English aside, I've eaten scrapple for many years but never once have I made my own. Proper post pub is to pull it from the wrapper in the fridge and fry it. Add ketchup or mustard, one slice of the cheapest American cheese you can find, and a piece of toast. Great stuff that is.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember this...

    Well i didn't until i read this article.....

    *technicolour yawn*

  20. Radbruch1929

    Perhaps better with potatos than bread?

    I know dishes like souse to be served with fried potatoes: Cook the potatoes, slice when hot and fry them thoroughly. Then serve the *hot* potatoes with the cold souse.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Growing up in a Pennsylvania Dutch family I have eaten both of these great treats often. Scrapple is by far the better of the two. However, we have always served it baked, not fried, and with a healthy coating of maple syrup. Add a bit of liver in with the pork shoulder though to make it a little more authentic.

  22. lnLog

    Laural = Cyanide

    Please DO NOT use Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) in your cooking as it contains CYANIDE...

  23. Mr Young

    I'm proud of my kids as well

    but you better watch out - any more pipe boffin action and you'll have social services round the door!

    1. hplasm

      Re: I'm proud of my kids as well

      Social Services?

      *Put them in the curry*

      /Milligan Dalek Voice

  24. DanceMan

    Where's the keyboard icon when you really need it?

    I eat a lot of Chinese food and once, feeling adventurous, I tried chicken's feet, expecting something fried. Instead of fried it was plain and cold. Took it home for the cat. Beer might have helped, but it would have taken more than I'd be prepared to drink.

    Quite like squid now, and just had a Korean dish of it.

    1. wowfood

      Re: Where's the keyboard icon when you really need it?

      Chickens feet are surprisingly tasty. There's a lot of meat on them, more than you'd think. And afterwards you have your very own toothpic

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Where's the keyboard icon when you really need it?

        My wife loves chicken feet, also heart. And cow heart for that matter.

        Lamb heart, not so much, which is a shame because lamb hearts are much easier to find these days.

        Weirdly she doesn't like guenea pig, though I do. Possibly because it tastes too much like lamb for her.

  25. Captain DaFt
    Thumb Up

    Scrapple variant

    Just replace the pork shoulder in the recipe above with pork liver, and you have liver pudding, one of the best treats ever made from a pig's insides! I'm also quite fond of Hog Hash, a stew made from the liver, lungs, and heart, seasoned with sage and onions.

  26. Gwaptiva

    What a complete waste

    of a beef tongue. Just cooked in stock for a few hours, this is probably the most tender meat you can get. Bit of a bechamel sauce over it and voila, a flavour of my youth.

  27. Louis 3

    Love it

    I wish we in America ate food. For example, Americans think peppers come in two varieties: tasteless and inedible. Eating is either a game to see who can bear the most suffering or a necessity to be finished with as quickly as possible. I miss Spain... oh, here comes my trough! *gobblegobblenomhrmphnom*

  28. Dan Deufel

    Ah, Yes. Scrapple! The Gray Meat

    Having grown up in close proximity to Pennsylvania Dutch country, I grew up with scrapple. My father loved the stuff. His favorite breakfast was to take a slice of scrapple, flour it, fry it in lard, and top with a couple of eggs sunny side up.

    I remember asking him when I was young, what exactly was in scrapple. His reply was that scrapple was made from the things that no self-respecting butcher would put in his sausage.

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