What Is Pon Hoss?

Lovina Eicher makes it in this week’s edition of Lovina’s Amish Kitchen. As she describes it, pon hoss is “a fried dish made from leftover hog meat.” It is also another name for scrapple.

Photo: Lovina’s Amish Kitchen

The dish was first created by German settlers in Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. Here is more on how it gets made:

On Saturday, we helped sister Emma and Jacob butcher two hogs. Sister Emma served us all breakfast when we arrived; we enjoyed a breakfast casserole.

After the meat was cut, we rendered the lard and cooked the pork off the bones. The meat from the bones was put through the grinder and then added back to the cooking water.

Flour, salt and black pepper were added to the cooking water, making 17 gallons of pon hoss, a fried dish made from leftover hog meat. We added four cups of flour, two tablespoons of salt, and one tablespoon of black pepper to each gallon of juice. The flour is sifted so it doesn’t get chunky, and someone stirs constantly to keep it from sticking to the big kettle while it cooks over an open fire. After the pon hoss is thickened, it is taken off the fire and poured into pans to cool. After it is cooled it can be sliced and fried in a pan until golden on each side. It can be fried longer for a crispier taste, if preferred.

You can understand how dishes like this would become popular in frugal PA Dutch and Amish farm homes. I am a fan of pon hoss but prefer not to ponder the preparation process.

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    30 Comments

    1. Marianna Sadowski

      Prettles

      Pon Hoss is a slightly different recipe than the one my ancestors from Germany who settled in northwestern Ohio used.

      We add uncooked oatmeal to the cooking liquid and also a noticeable amount of allspice. (My Grandpa liked to be generous with the black pepper too…gave the prettles a bit of kick!) No flour is used, and I believe my family also used beef (chuck) along with the pork……and called it prettles.

      Whatever it’s called or whatever the variation, it’s mighty good eating!!

      1. I think I’d like an oatmeal-added version. Or maybe I’ve already had it and didn’t realize it.

    2. Wayne Allan

      Ketchup or Maple Syrup

      This article begs the question: Ketchup or Maple Syrup?

      1. Tough choice but I’m going with maple syrup!

        1. Marianna Sadowski

          And I may just try maple syrup the next time I have the opportunity to eat some prettles! 🙂

          1. Marianna does “prettles” have an origin in German or another language, or is this one of those mysterious names which no one knows where it came from?

            1. Dan Holsinger

              Prettles

              In my Palatine dialect from around Mannheim, Germany, “prettle” means a small “prett”, from Standard German “Brett”. A small “Brett” in Standard German is “Brettlein” or more often “Brettchen”. Thus a “prettle” is a small, thin and flat piece of wood, a board.

    3. Marianna Sadowski

      Ketchup

      ha ha! I guess it does!! “Some” of us in my family put the crispy prettles on a thick slice of homemade bread (which was all that was available at my Grandparents’ house) and ate it open-face with ketchup. My personal favorite. Most everyone, however, ate it plain as far as I can remember.

    4. Yoder in Ohio

      Best way to eat it? With a few fried eggs – sunny side up – on top, cut it all together with fork & knife, pour good tomato gravy over it. Best breakfast ever.

      1. Sign me up! And with that I can’t continue ignoring the rumbling in my stomach.

    5. Marianna Sadowski

      Prettles....origin of name

      I have not the first clue where the name prettles came from. I grew up with it and it is well known by local folks in the Henry County area of Ohio (NW part of the state). There used to be a couple markets where you could even buy ready made prettles 20 years ago, but I no longer live in the area and don’t know if any can be purchased today.

      Of course, the BEST prettles was always prettles that my Grandparents made….and my Mom’s was really good too. (I, however, have never attempted to make it)

      1. Thanks for the reply Marianna, so it’s a mystery name. No doubt the grandma version is the best, isn’t that usually how it goes:)

    6. diane

      reminds me of mush mom used to make once in a blue moon. she would make the maple syrup to go with it in a loaf sliced that my brother and sister loved it. My father and I didnt care for.

    7. Tom Bender

      Scrapple variation

      This is a variation of Scrapple (South western PA – Somerset Co.) Made with Pork meat and the livers ground in as well as cornmeal. Without the cornmeal it is called Pork Pudding, Liver Pudding or often just “puddin”.

      I’ve helped to make it myself. I like the pudding on pancakes with Maple Syrup. Makes my mouth water right now.

      1. “Pudding” always meant something sweet for me growing up, but I think I’ve heard of this. I would definitely try it.

    8. Joe Donnermeyer

      where I grew up

      Where I grew up, near downtown Cincinnati — in the 1950s, during my childhood days, the river cities on the other side of the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati were very German. Pon Hoss, or at least something very similar, was called goetta. I always enjoyed grinding the pork for it.

      1. I gotta getta me some goetta

        I like the name. Interesting to see all the variations on what people called this common food. I bet there are more!

    9. Marianna Sadowski

      different names for similar food

      I think it’s really interesting that there are so many variations on a similar food. I’ve heard of most of these….and enjoy learning about the different preparations of this particular kind of food. I’ve heard the name “goetta” before and have to wonder how that became “prettles” just a 100 miles away. ha! NW Ohio has a strong German heritage….makes me wonder if there were so many variations in Germany too.??

    10. 6 so far

      Names mentioned here so far for pon hoss or variations:

      Pon hoss
      Scrapple
      Prettles
      Goetta
      Mush
      Puddin

      Not bad!

      1. John Hassinger

        Pan Haus

        Having also being raised in SW PA we knew it as Pan Haus. The German influence is obvious. It has nothing to do with rabbit, though I suspect it was more plentiful than pork at that time. Pork was a treat and not often enjoyed by my ancestors. Our folks also called it scrapple which meant “everything but the snout”. My understanding is that scrapple is made cornmeal. Gotta with oats.

      2. Kenneth Gowins

        Ponhaus in NE Ohio

        In Tuscarawas County and Holmes County Ohio, we called it Krepples. Used oatmeal versus cornmeal.

        1. Dan Holsinger

          Krepple

          “Krepple” is the Palatine dialect form of “Krapfen” which is either a piece of dough or a piece of meat which has been battered or breaded and then cooked in hot oil, thus a fritter.

    11. Marianna Sadowski

      Recipe for Prettles

      This recipe is almost identical to the one I found in my Mom’s recipe box….except this has specific amounts.

      READY IN: 3hrs 30mins
      SERVES: 48

      INGREDIENTS

      5
      lbs pork shoulder
      5
      lbs beef roast
      1
      tablespoon pepper
      5
      tablespoons allspice

      1
      lb pinhead oats or 1 lb steel cut oats, this is 4 cups

      DIRECTIONS

      Cover with salted water, and boil until meat is tender. Grind the meat in a meat grinder.
      Mix together well. Set aside.

      Cook 4 cups pinhead oats, in the broth left over from the meat. You will need 3 cups of broth for each 1 cup of oats. Cook 20 minutes.

      Then add the the ground meat, mixing well. Add the pepper and allspice mixing well. Spread into a couple 9×12 cake pans. Place in freezer until cool enough to cut into blocks, wrap in foil and return to freezer until ready to use.

      Place a small amount of Crisco or butter in a skillet and fry just until heated.
      We serve it on bread or toast. Some put molasses on it too.
      If you like it spicier, add more pepper and allspice to taste.

      (One person commented he found the prettles a bit bland and kept adding allspice until he had added 7 times the suggested amount….to get the taste he remembered from childhood). Another comment was that all kinds of leftover meat scraps after butchering were used to make the prettles…not just a “tidy” beef roast or pork roast.

    12. Robert W. Robinson, Jr

      What Is Pon Hoss?

      i found an interesting article about the origin of the name pretties.
      https://dannwoellertthefoodetymologist.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/prettles-yet-another-goetta-cousin-from-northwest-ohio-german-immigrants/

      1. Dan Holsinger

        Origin of pretties

        I cannot find an explanation where the word “pretties” comes from in the article. Maybe this link is just spam to boost the blog.

    13. Geo

      head cheese

      I’m reminded of a lunch meat product called head cheese that used to be sold in northwest Ohio stores. Probably still is. It consisted of meat scraps along with various anonymous ingredients all in a gelled loaf. I liked it back in the day. These concoctions are the definition of nothing wasted, every scrap used. Gosh, I’d bet that’s where the word scrapple came from. Using up scraps to make scrapple.

      1. This is the one that to my knowledge I’ve never eaten – and I know would have a hard time convincing myself to try. That’s a tough name! I am thinking there must be an alternate more appetizing name or if not, there ought to be 😀

    14. Philip Kreider

      Ponhoss/Scrapple

      I also grew up in Ohio, Wayne County. Butchering was a yearly activity which I looked forward to and greatly enjoyed. We made both scrapple and ponhoss. Scrapple with the cooked and ground scraps of meat along with the tongue, liver and heart, then combined with cornmeal and cooked till placed in molds to cool. We then sliced and fried along with bacon served for breakfast with a couple soft boiled eggs. So good! Ponhoss was made much the same way but without the ground meat, just the broth, and with part flour and part corn meal.

      Yesterday, March 21, 2020, I made my modified ponhoss/scramble using the drippings from making chicken for dinner. To which I added 1 cup of corn meal, 3 cups of oat meal, 1 tablespoon of steak seasoning plus 7 cups of water bringing all to a boil for five minutes. Poured that in a loaf pan to set up and cool. This morning I cut off a slice, fried with thick cut bacon, served to myself with two eggs, sunny side up. Unbelievably Good! I have the breakfast just about everyday!

    15. Dan

      Prettles

      I am from German dissent and lived in Northwest Ohio. I love to eat prettles with bread and Apple butter.

    16. Terry Miller

      Pon hoss the way my mother did it.

      Even though my name is Miller, no Amish in my family. Grandmother was from the ‘old country’.
      Cook small beef roast in a pot, remove beef (reserve broth) and run it through the grinder. Place the beef back in the pot and add pan pudding (not scrapple) ran through grinder (equal amount of beef and pan pudding). Once the beef and pan pudding are mixed and brought to a boil, start adding corn meal slowly till at a mush thickness. Place in cake pan and let cool. Then place in refrigerator. In the morning slice it up and fry till brown. A little butter on top and you’re ready to eat.
      Problem: Haven’t been able to find Amish pan pudding for a couple years.