Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Makin' Hog Maw

Regina shares directions for making hog maw. Never heard of it? Read on.

Makin' Hog Maw
 Shared by Regina Rosenberry

If you didn't grow up with good old Pennsylvania Dutch cooking, then the dish, Hog Maw, may not hold any significance to you. But other Pennsylvanian country bumpkins may share my memories of the excitement and anticipation when Ma would announce, “Hog Maw for supper!” At times this dish was a family treat served for special occasions, other times it was just a hearty meal for a cold winter night.

If you don't know what Hog Maw is and have a squeamish stomach, you may want to stop reading now! Otherwise, let me introduce you.

Hog Maw is the Pennsylvania Dutch cover name for... Pig Stomach! (Don't say I didn't warn you.) When the oldsters claimed on hog butchering day that everything would be used except the squeal, they weren't far from the truth. The pig's stomach was cleaned then stuffed with sausage, onion, potatoes, and maybe cabbage for a delightful meal.

Since the husband and I haven't tried our hands at butchering yet, I rely on our local butcher shop or grocery store to purchase my pig's stomach. I find it for sale where sausage and other pork meat is sold. It will be labeled as either Pig Stomach or Hog Maw, and is cleaned and ready to stuff. As you can see, since I'm feeding a family of 7, I needed an extra large Hog Maw!

To stuff a regular sized pig stomach, you will need:

1 lb. loose country style sausage

1 large onion chopped

5 or 6 large potatoes peeled and diced

sliced cabbage if you desire (Growing up, mom made it at times with cabbage but not all of us children liked it. I have learned to enjoy it both ways)

I'm sure there are other variations of recipes, but this is the one of my childhood and the traditional recipe I am passing on to my own family.

A note: Some folks just bake sausage, onions, and potatoes together without stuffing the mixture in the pig stomach. This is good, but will not taste the same. The pig stomach bakes a certain flavor along with a little broth into the mixture you just can't get any other way.

Keep in mind this is one of those recipes where the ingredients are approximate and you may use a little more or a little less or none at all! Amounts will vary according to the size of the pig's stomach and your tastes. For example, my mother always used lots of sausage whereas my husband's mother used only a sprinkling of sausage and mostly potatoes.

Before stuffing, the pig stomach has two holes (don't think too hard on what the holes were for) that need to be closed so your stuffing doesn't come out.

My mother always used heavy thread and a needle and sewed the holes tight. I'm too lazy and took an easier route. I get a toothpick and thread the tooth pick in and out until the hole is closed.

Sew or close the smallest hole shut before stuffing. You will leave the largest one open until after the stomach is stuffed.

Now you are ready to fill the stomach. It doesn't matter in what order you put the ingredients. Just grab a handful of sausage and push down into the stomach, followed by a handful of onions, and potatoes with a sprinkling of course ground pepper, sea salt and garlic powder in between handfuls if you like.

Keep repeating, pressing the mixture together until the stomach is stuffed full!

Warning: Don't over-stuff the stomach or it may burst during baking. Leave a little growing room.

Grab a toothpick or your needle and close the opening until tight. If using tooth picks, it may take more than one.

Place your stuffed stomach into a 9x13 pan or roasting pan. Put around two inches of water on the bottom, and sprinkle the stomach with pepper and any seasonings if you like.

Note: You can also cook your filled pig stomach in a kettle on the stove top. Fill the kettle with water till the stomach is mostly covered. Put the lid on and bring to a boil. Turn the heat back and cook at a very gentle boil till the potatoes are tender, approximately 2 ½ to 3 hr.

Cover your pan, put into the oven and bake at 350 degrees. Plan around 2 ½ to 3 hours for baking. Again, this will depend on the size of your pig stomach and how full it is stuffed. Bake until the potatoes are very tender (jab the point of a knife through the stomach to check) and the stomach is lightly browned. As you can see, I didn't heed my own advice, got a little hogish and filled the pig stomach too full and it burst!

By now, the house will be filled with delightful aromas and the children will be at the table with their forks in their hands.

Carefully remove your toothpicks or pull out your thread so no one chokes. Using a large knife, slice your Hog maw (the skin may be a little tough) and enjoy every mouthful along with a squirt of ketchup if you like. And you must try some of the “skin!” My husband thinks the stomach is a delicacy and my sisters used to fight over this part, but I've never acquired a taste for it. One bite is enough for me.

And welcome - you are now a Pennsylvanian Country Folk! 

Regina enjoys life with her husband and five children on a farmette. She takes pleasure in digging her fingers in the garden soil and tending her milk cow, chickens, and goats.


  1. I'm a true Pennsylvanian but I've only heard of eating this "stuff". I'm sure my Mennonite Grandparents would have eaten this. I've never tried it myself. Scrapple (with a side of ketchup and apple butter) is about as good as I'll get..

    And ...my Cottage Cheese and Apple Butter.

    My grandparents (especially my Grammy!) would eat pig brains as well..

    (shhewww...):) just the thought of that...

    I'm from Bucks Co/Montgomery Co. by the way...

    1. Maybe this is didn't get to your area of PA!

      Pig brains? Now that dish I'll let your grandma enjoy!

    2. I’am from The South ,and I love it.Born and raised in South Carolina..

  2. Hi Gina, Firstly, congrats on the new baby! They are a blessing, aren't they? Secondly, I had to laugh when I saw this post. Most folks are probably grossing out by now. I can honestly say that except for my own post on my (nearly abandoned) cooking blog, (http://carlislecooks.blogspot.com/2010/07/pennsylvania-treat-pig-belly.html) I have never seen this recipe on the blogosphere. It is surely a Pennsylvania favorite! Throw in a few whoopie pies for dessert and you have a true Pa treat!!!
    Enjoy the babe!

    1. Tammy-
      Glad to find someone else in this world that knows some good food!

    2. Gina and Tammy: Pig Stomach is delicious, isn't it? I'm from near Adamstown (northern Lancaster County), I learned to make this from my grandma long ago, it's always been one of my favorites! She used sliced smoked sausage which, I think, adds to the wonderful flavors. We are so blessed to live in an area that has some of the best food anywhere!

  3. Hi Gina,
    This recipe sounds delicious! I may have to try and convince my husband to let me make this for him =) It will definitely be different because I've not used/eaten anything other than "normal" parts of the pig (sausage, bacon, pork loin, ect...). Yum, can't wait to try and make it!

  4. This is fantastic!! My husband's grandmother was raised in a Mennonite family from Pennsylvania. He has fond memories of her serving it each New Years, but has never been able to find her recipe. I gave him a link to this page and he was thrilled. I know what we'll be having next New Year's!! :-)

  5. Interesting, but not my cup of tea. I don't think this is in my ancestral food traditions. We are Swiss/Mennonite and if any of my relatives ever made this they probably still would be. We haven't let many traditions go. But, go ahead, enjoy it!

    1. I did have scrapple once on a visit to Pennsylvania years ago. I thought it tasty. You called it something else in the hog butchering posts...pon haus?

    2. I live in Florida and have never had or heard of stuffed hog maws, definitely will put on my to do list. Here we cook it the traditional way. Seasoned and cooked with or without chitterlings. I use chicken broth instead of water.

  6. Hello Gina, I think it sounds interesting :)
    I am having chicken tonight. I also think Bacon fried crispy is my most favorite thing ever.Hope you are doing well and enjoying every moment of this precious season,
    Blessings, Roxy

  7. I'm Pennsylvania Dutch too, and I'm sure that hog maw tastes good if you say so, but ohhhh....looking at those pictures makes me SHUDDER! LOL!

  8. years ago my husband and I brought two friends from new jersey to stay with my parents and us for a week end ( we were in 1-w service) at my parents house. my mom made pig stomach for us thinking they would like it as much as we did - well. A couple of years ago we got together with these friends again and he said after he ate that and found out what it was - he became a vegetarian. Some people just don't know what good food is (smiling) !

  9. I have eaten pig snout, thanks to being raised in a country where things like that are normal, but have never eaten hog maw. Now cow gut and hamburger from horse? Yep. 'possum Yep. Coon? Yes. Hog maw? Nope. And that's just fine..

  10. I grew up in Palmyra Pa. This is a family favorite. We live in Missouri now. My 26 year old daughter just asked to make it for her birthday!

  11. What was the seasoning the old Germans used in it I only know it as my grandmother pronounced it in German goes something like this (hona-ga- ratia may not be the German spelling, believe it was something like (Summer Sovory)

  12. thanks for the recipe, I will try it. my grandmother use to make it. sweet memories of her.


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