A few days ago, I mentioned hamburger gravy, tuna gravy, and chipped beef gravy. Another of what I would call “country” foods that my mother made was puddin’ meat. We didn’t raise our own hogs (my sister says my dad thought they might hurt kids), but we frequently got pork from some neighbor, and for sure, we had ground sausage that we made into patties.
To make puddin’ meat, they would get a hog’s head and boil it for some time, and after it was very well cooked and then cooled down, Mom would clean the head and take all the actual meat from the bones. All the scraps-skin, bones, brains, and the like–got thrown to the dogs. Then with the meat and some of the liquid, she would stir in oatmeal, and cook it until it thickened. I suppose it got salted and peppered a little, but it didn’t have any other spices. She scooped the thickened combination into loaf pans, and they were put into the refrigerator to chill. (Mom’s recipe found, see it below.)
When it had set up, we would slice it into about 1/4-3/8 inch slices and fry it for breakfast. You didn’t need to put any grease in the skillet because the pork had enough fat in it to get browned up without burning. I always liked it fried really crispy, but some of the others liked it a little less so. She usually made 3 or 4 loaf pans of puddin’ meat, and it would last quite awhile. I know that it didn’t easily spoil because sometimes we would “take a break” from having it, and there’d still be maybe one more pan that we would eat later.
Sometimes, when Mom made puddin’ meat, she also made corn meal mush, which she also put in loaf pans, chilled, and then fried the same way. We used to put our homemade butter on the the fried mush. I liked them both, especially cooked for breakfast.
In later years, people didn’t butcher so much, so then the folks would buy a pork roast or loin, or some other “chunk” of pork, and make the puddin’ meat from that.
I don’t know where our family tradition of making puddin’ meat came from. While I was growing up, none of the people I went to school with made it. In my hometown, many of the people were of German-Russian heritage, and in our neighboring town (our farm was in between), most of the people were Bohemians (these days they call themselves Czechs). Some of the traditional foods that these people had brought with them (kolaches and bierochs), my mom learned to make and I can still make them today. Maybe my dad’s family had brought it from England, or maybe my mom’s family who were Pennsylvania Dutch (German) and New York staters of English background had made it. I know they have scrapple in Pennsylvania, but I think that’s something different.
My Mom’s Puddin’ Meat Recipe
- 1 pound pork roast, cooked and ground up
- Broth from the roast, enough to cover the meat
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In broth, put as much oatmeal as you have ground pork roast. Cook the oatmeal (regular oatmeal not instant) for as long as the box says. Then add the ground up meat to the oatmeal mixture and pack in loaf pans. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. (Usually overnight.)
Slice and fry until brown on both sides. Good with toast.