Scrapple: the white trash polenta with benefits

Scrapple is classic white-trash breakfast food, best served fried in bacon grease with honey or maple syrup on top. For more authenticity, top with sorghum molasses. You can get a debased version without the pork at places like Bob Evans or Cracker Barrel, but if you want the real thing, just get on the highway and drive south until you find a mom’n’pop diner. This is another recipe that my mother picked up in the Smoky Mountains when she was a kid.

1 lb leftover roast pork, chopped short and shredded fine
2 cups yellow corn meal
2 quarts rich meat stock
1 stick butter
1 T salt
1 t black pepper
2 T rubbed sage

Boil the stock up with your seasonings. When your stock is boiling, whisk in the corn meal, stirring plenty so it don’t lump up. Add the stick of butter and stir till the butter’s melted in. Turn down the heat and let it all bubble, stirring and scraping now and then to make sure it don’t burn on. The corn meal should thicken up a lot while it cooks. You’ll have trouble stirring it.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of this, taste it to make sure the corn is all cooked and not grainy any more. If the mush is soft enough, tump in your leftover pork shreds.  Stir until everything is well mixed in. Note: some people add the pork right away with the corn meal, so that it shreds up into fine little filaments of porky goodness.

Turn your scrapple into a greased glass bread loaf pan. Cool it, then refrigerate it, covered with saran wrap laid right on the surface of the scrapple to prevent it from drying out.

When you want to eat it, slice it thick or thin, fry it in bacon grease on a hot iron pan or griddle, and serve with honey or maple syrup or sorghum syrup. Some people put butter on top, too.


My mother spent several summers with her parents and siblings and the dog knocking around the Smoky Mountains in an old Airstream silver bullet. She learned to cook from the locals, as her own mother, who was raised a debutante in Copenhagen, had nothing to offer in culinary arts education. Thanks to the generous women of the Smokies, if you could cook it with corn or pork or chicken, my mom was there. Much of the best of my mother came from those slow trawls in the Airstream, and much of that got into my magical realism novel, Trash Sex Magic.

About Jennifer Stevenson

Jennifer Stevenson’s Trash Sex Magic was shortlisted for the Locus First Fantasy Novel Award and longlisted for the Nebula two years running. Try her fantasy series Hinky Chicago, which is up to five novels, her paranormal romances Slacker Demons, which are about retired deities who find work as incubi, or her women’s fiction fantasy series Coed Demon Sluts, about women solving life’s ordinary problems by becoming succubi. She has published more than 20 short stories.

Find Jennifer at the Book View Cafe blog, at the second row at fast roller derby bouts in Chicago, or on Facebook.