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Liver Mush


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#1 ditsydine

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 09:21 AM

I was thinking the other day of local foods that I have yet to try, and liver mush came to mind. In fact, I really haven't noticed it since I moved away from Western NC. Can anyone give me the low-down on the mushy stuff? Is it more of a sausagey taste? I've always seen it with the sausage in a square pack.
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#2 Holly Moore

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Posted 13 July 2005 - 10:56 AM

I've aways thought of liver mush as scrapple with training wheels - just the liver mixed with corn meal and cooked pretty much like scrapple. I've only seen it in the Charlotte NC area.
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#3 kpurvis

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 05:43 AM

I've only seen it in the Charlotte NC area.

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Shelby, N.C., is the home of livermush. That's actually about 50 miles from Charlotte. It's the home of the yearly livermush festival.
Yes, it is essentially scrapple. Makes sense if you know the migration patterns of the 19th century. The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia brought German settlers to Western North Carolina. Bob Garner also has a credible theory for why that gave N.C. two styles of barbecue.
I wrote a whole story on livermush once. Even tested recipes for things made with livermush. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, followed up with a column admitting to the world that I detest liver.)
I also had to get up at 3 a.m., after flying back on a late-night from Seattle, to go watch it being made. A great moment from a food-writing career: Seeing an industrial-size kettle on one side of the room, I wandered over, stretched up on my toes and peered over the side. Behold: a sea of pig snouts smiling up at me. The moment is etched in my mind and floats back up when anyone starts talking about the "glamour" of food writing.
Don't know if I could post a whole link, as that was a few years ago, but I could probably send a copy to you if you were interested, Holly.
A couple more tidbits: In North Carolina, there is a "mush/pudding" line. On one side of the state, it's called livermush. On the other, the texture is smoother and it's called liver pudding. I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I seem to recall the dividing line is the Yadkin River.
And the greatest livermush moment in Charlotte history, of course, was the arrest of the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, who was nabbed at the airport here while trying to flee the country. In jail, he supposedly partook quite happily of the standard inmate breakfast fare: Fried livermush and grits.
Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

#4 Holly Moore

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 07:03 AM

That's a neat story, Kathleen. A copy would be great reading.

I had always assumed that livermush was just from hog liver while scrapple had everything scraped off the slaughter house floor. Hence my comment about training wheels.

Need to know: When is the livermush festival?

I can't top your cauldron of pig snouts references but I did have a similar adventure in the basement of Usinger's sausage plant in Milwaukee with it's steaming man-high piles of intestines and rubber clad workers with rakes and shovels pushing them around.

I'm jealous of your jail inmates. Up here in Philadelphia we can't even get fried livermush and grits at the Four Seasons.
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#5 divalasvegas

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 03:06 PM

I've only seen it in the Charlotte NC area.

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Shelby, N.C., is the home of livermush. That's actually about 50 miles from Charlotte. It's the home of the yearly livermush festival.
Yes, it is essentially scrapple. Makes sense if you know the migration patterns of the 19th century. The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia brought German settlers to Western North Carolina. Bob Garner also has a credible theory for why that gave N.C. two styles of barbecue.
I wrote a whole story on livermush once. Even tested recipes for things made with livermush. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, followed up with a column admitting to the world that I detest liver.)
I also had to get up at 3 a.m., after flying back on a late-night from Seattle, to go watch it being made. A great moment from a food-writing career: Seeing an industrial-size kettle on one side of the room, I wandered over, stretched up on my toes and peered over the side. Behold: a sea of pig snouts smiling up at me. The moment is etched in my mind and floats back up when anyone starts talking about the "glamour" of food writing.
Don't know if I could post a whole link, as that was a few years ago, but I could probably send a copy to you if you were interested, Holly.
A couple more tidbits: In North Carolina, there is a "mush/pudding" line. On one side of the state, it's called livermush. On the other, the texture is smoother and it's called liver pudding. I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I seem to recall the dividing line is the Yadkin River.
And the greatest livermush moment in Charlotte history, of course, was the arrest of the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, who was nabbed at the airport here while trying to flee the country. In jail, he supposedly partook quite happily of the standard inmate breakfast fare: Fried livermush and grits.

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Kathleen great background information. Actually reading your post I think you are my last hope in ever finding a recipe/information on another Southern "delicacy." My mother's side of the family came from a little town in Orangeburg, South Carolina called Lone Star. There was a breakfast food that they made in the fall after the hogs were slaughtered. It's called pork pudding and I haven't seen it for years. I was wondering if you had any information on it. My guess is that it's a close cousin to Louisiana's boudin blanc. Any help you can provide would be appreciated.
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#6 kpurvis

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 07:22 AM

Well, my only guesses on pork pudding would be:
1. Could it be liver pudding? As I mentioned, I come across livermush called liver pudding in other areas of the Carolinas, including South Carolina.
2. Or, could it be what a lot of people call barbecue hash? Hash usually has "liver and lights" as key ingredients, and I've had old timers tell me their mothers cooked it for breakfast. I've also got a story on barbecue hash I could send you. Basically, hash is whatever was leftover after you prepared a pig for pit barbecue.
Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

#7 divalasvegas

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 08:56 PM

Well, my only guesses on pork pudding would be:
1. Could it be liver pudding? As I mentioned, I come across livermush called liver pudding in other areas of the Carolinas, including South Carolina.
2.  Or, could it be what a lot of people call barbecue hash? Hash usually has "liver and lights" as key ingredients, and I've had old timers tell me their mothers cooked it for breakfast. I've also got a story on barbecue hash I could send you. Basically, hash is whatever was leftover after you prepared a pig for pit barbecue.

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Thanks Kathleen for your insights. I wrote the following in response to being asked on another thread about what exactly pork pudding is. Here's my recollection:

"Pork pudding, as I recall from dim memories, is a type of sausage, but not in texture, only in the sense in that the mixture is stuffed into pork casings and shaped into a big ring. The texture was smoother, almost country pate like and the color was frankly kind of beige. I think it was a mixture of "variety" pork parts, rice (I think the rice was mashed or crushed, not whole grains) and seasonings, and maybe some pork stock. The final product had a ring or horseshoe shape. To prepare it, you would just it's had slice off a chunk--can't remember if it was floured it first--then cook in a frying pan of hot grease until it was all crusty on the outside and creamy and porky on the inside. Being that this was natural casing it would kind of flatten out and since the ends of the piece were open, unlike regular link sausage, some of the insides would ooze out into the grease creating extra crispy pork pudding at each end. I know that may sound totally unappetizing to many her, but I'm drooling as I write this. My mother told us a story about how she was craving her mom's pork pudding and made the mistake of buying it "up north" from a grocery store. She said became deathly ill from that fraudulent pork pudding. And when her mom/my grandma heard that, she got on a train from little ole Lone Star, South Carolina all the way to DC to bring her baby girl "real" homemade, pork pudding."

That's the best I can do to discribe this dish. I hate it that so often when we lose those close to us, we lose not only them but the wonderful dishes that make up our various heritages.

Thanks.
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#8 rickmcdaniel

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 02:09 PM

A very good background on livermush, Kathleen.

As far as I know and have always been told, (I grew up in Kings Mountain, 12 miles from Shelby), the difference between liver mush and liver pudding (other than the textural) is that liver mush contains only liver and cereal, while pudding contains shoulder meat.

I HATE beef liver, but love liver pudding, especially Jenkins brand. Fried up crispy with grits and toast...MMMM-MMM!
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#9 Moto

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:03 PM

Where is jenkins brand sold? In the triad(greensboro,ws high point) Neese's is the go to brand. They make a delicious liver mush. I have usually heard the terms liver mush and pudding used interchangeably.

I like mine toasted under the broiler so the outside is fairly dry and the interior is quite lush served with toast and a poached egg if your a real good boy.

#10 rickmcdaniel

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Posted 22 July 2005 - 08:38 PM

Jenkins was based out of Shelby. I have not seen it up here (Asheville) in the 7 years since I moved here, so I dom't know if they are still around.

I love Neese's just as well.

For my birthday this year, I threw out all dietary restrictions (I suffer from advanced Dunlop disease from being a food writer and chef) and had what I call a 'Southern Bowl." Take a buscuit, crumble it up in a large bowl. Top with a fluffy scrambled egg, grits, liver pudding and gravy. Oh, man, that's good.

P.S.- Dunlop Disease, for those unfamiliar with the condition, is when your belly dun lopped over your belt! :wink:

Edited by rickmcdaniel, 22 July 2005 - 08:40 PM.

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#11 GRITS

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 04:45 PM

yet another reason to go back to NC.

#12 racheld

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 11:53 AM

Is this a creamy liver spread, a pate of sorts? Everyone keeps mentioning pudding and mush, so I'm envisioning a gooey-paste sort of concoction. What is the consistency---is it served as a clop from the spoon, in slices, poured over a biscuit?

The one I remember from very early childhood is a dish greatly looked forward to by my Aunt Lorayne-with-a-y. It was called "Liver HAISH" in her deep lady- baritone, pronounced at first like the Japanese "yes," but much more slowly and drawn out.

The dish started with a great quantity of chopped onion, gently fried in a big skillet whilst someone else went out to the hog-killin' site with a pan to retrieve the liver. Liver was washed, de-membraned, chopped into small pieces, and sort of stirred/smashed into the skillet until gray and soft. Big sprinklings of salt and a great shower from the McCormick pepper can, perhaps a curl or two of sage from the big bush.

Several boiled potatoes, divested of their jackets, then cut into infinitesimal cubes and stirred in to take up the flavors. Lid on for a few minutes, into the red FireKing bowl, and very hot to table.

But none for me. I wouldn't even sit in its vicinity as I ate some vegetables and a biscuit.
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#13 BrentKulman

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 01:02 PM

Is this a creamy liver spread, a pate of sorts?  Everyone keeps mentioning pudding and mush, so I'm envisioning a gooey-paste sort of concoction.  What is the consistency---is it served as a clop from the spoon, in slices, poured over a biscuit?

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No, it's more like scrapple, if you are familiar with that product.

#14 kpurvis

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:50 PM

While doing business at a slaughterhouse in North Wilkesboro, N.C., recently, I had an interesting chat recently with a pig farmer who's a native of Davidson County. (And how could any conversation with a pig farmer while standing in the waiting room of a slaughterhouse be anything but interesting? He also pointed out the relative size of local hogs based on the thickness of the fat in slabs of fatback. Lord help me, I do love this job.)
Anyhow . . . he said the difference between livermush and liver pudding is "pudding has no filler and you eat it cold. Mush has cornmeal and you slice it, fry it and eat it hot."
Being a non-fan of liver who eats it neither hot nor cold, I haven't tested that particular theory. I share it only to contribute to the growing base of knowledge on the important issue of the difference between the two.
Kathleen Purvis, food editor, The Charlotte (NC) Observer

#15 Holly Moore

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 01:57 PM

First, I never knew that slaughterhouses have waiting rooms.

Also, "doing business?" All we talking writing an article, leading hogs to slaughter, or stocking up on pork chops?
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#16 handmc

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 02:11 PM

First, I never knew that slaughterhouses have waiting rooms.

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#17 kpurvis

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 05:52 AM

First, I never knew that slaughterhouses have waiting rooms.

Also, "doing business?"  All we talking writing an article, leading hogs to slaughter, or stocking up on pork chops?

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Working on an article, of course -- although the way the newspaper business is going, I might be looking for a new career. "Cattle, party of 10? Right this way."
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#18 Doodad

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 08:34 AM

I've only seen it in the Charlotte NC area.

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Shelby, N.C., is the home of livermush. That's actually about 50 miles from Charlotte. It's the home of the yearly livermush festival.
Yes, it is essentially scrapple. Makes sense if you know the migration patterns of the 19th century. The Great Wagon Road from Philadelphia brought German settlers to Western North Carolina. Bob Garner also has a credible theory for why that gave N.C. two styles of barbecue.
I wrote a whole story on livermush once. Even tested recipes for things made with livermush. (In the interest of journalistic integrity, followed up with a column admitting to the world that I detest liver.)
I also had to get up at 3 a.m., after flying back on a late-night from Seattle, to go watch it being made. A great moment from a food-writing career: Seeing an industrial-size kettle on one side of the room, I wandered over, stretched up on my toes and peered over the side. Behold: a sea of pig snouts smiling up at me. The moment is etched in my mind and floats back up when anyone starts talking about the "glamour" of food writing.
Don't know if I could post a whole link, as that was a few years ago, but I could probably send a copy to you if you were interested, Holly.
A couple more tidbits: In North Carolina, there is a "mush/pudding" line. On one side of the state, it's called livermush. On the other, the texture is smoother and it's called liver pudding. I'd have to look it up to be sure, but I seem to recall the dividing line is the Yadkin River.
And the greatest livermush moment in Charlotte history, of course, was the arrest of the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, who was nabbed at the airport here while trying to flee the country. In jail, he supposedly partook quite happily of the standard inmate breakfast fare: Fried livermush and grits.

View Post


And just down the road from Shelby, where my brother was born, is Forest City, my Mother's hometown. Grew with mush all the time. Neese's brand?

Anyway, also in that area is the town of Sandy Mush. I was told the name came about as some colonial soldiers had to hastily leave the area and dropped their breakfast in their haste. I have no clue if that is even remotely true, but it still makes me laugh.

My Yankee grandparent's (it was a mixed marriage you see) were from Lancaster, PA area and New England, respectively, and so scrapple was a regular feature. And they were the same product as far as I am concerned.

When cold, you can slice it like polenta or grits and fry it up. Okay, now I am hungry.