In the Coal Region, a local company, Miller’s (St. Clair, PA), makes a very popular hot bologna and it feels like there is a jar of it on display at every corner bar and at every fire company (hosey) bar — at least in Schuylkill County!
Fire companies in my neck of the Coal Region are mainly volunteer and have bars and social activities for company members. It is not an unusual sight to see someone seated at the bar with a cold glass of Yuengling Lager and a piece of hot bologna in front of them!
When I was a kid, much of the town’s social scene happened at “the hosey”, just up the road from my house. Bingo, dances, banquets, wedding receptions — you name it, the hosey was the gathering place of the town.
My Mom was active in the Ladies’ Auxiliary for the hose company, so I found myself often tagging along while she and some other members gathered together to prepare food in the building’s kitchen in preparation for an upcoming fund-raising event or happening.
I still can close my eyes and immediately be that kid, perched on the red-topped vinyl and chrome bar stool, swiveling around, passing time while the ladies cooked. The placed smelled of stale beer and diesel fumes. There was a juke box along the wall, accompanied by a cigarette machine.
I often brought coloring books and crayons and Mom would set me up with an ice-cold Coke in that famous green glass bottle, a 5 cent bag of Marsden’s Potato Chips (Made in Pottsville, PA in Schuylkill County), and a slice of hot bologna on a little white paper plate.
I never minded tagging along with Mom, because I felt like a queen on a throne with my feast in front of me!
Hot Bologna from Miller’s can be elusive outside the Coal Region, but good news — you can make your own!
If you can get ring bologna where you live, you can easily create a jar (or jars) of hot bologna in your own kitchen for a trip down memory lane with this true Schuylkill County staple!
A good quality ring bologna is essential in making hot bologna. How you slice it is up to you — cross-wise in 1/2 inch slices. or in lengths 2 to 4 inches long, split down the center (“Miller’s style”).
If you prefer making smaller jars of the bologna rather than making it and storing it in one large jar, simply prepare the bologna by slicing as desired, pack the pieces into wide-mouth pint canning jars, make the brine, distribute the pepper flakes (as much as you want) among the jars, then fill the jars with the brine.
Depending on the amount of bologna you start with and how you pack it in the jars, you might find you need to make extra brine to fully cover the bologna.
Make it as hot as you like, this recipe is easily adjusted for heat! Some people even add some hot sauce to the mix!
Homemade Coal Region Hot BolognaCourse: Snacks, AppetizerCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy
1 ring of bologna (with or without garlic, your choice)
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper or to your taste – the more you add, the hotter/spicier!
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
OPTIONAL: Hot sauce of your choice, to taste
- Remove skin from ring bologna. Cut ring of bologna in 1/2 inch slices cross-wise OR 2 to 4 inches long, then slice lengthwise in half. Place in a large glass jar. Add crushed red pepper and salt.
- Mix white vinegar and water (and hot sauce, if using). Pour over bologna. Shake well, place lid on jar and refrigerate. Allow to set for a minimum of a week for flavors to develop.
- Store in refrigerator. You can transfer the bologna into smaller jars, or leave in the large jar to suit your storage situation. Keeps a long time!