Hog Maw = Stuffed Pig’s Stomach. Now, before you turn up your nose, think about eating sausage stuffed in “natural” casing. You do realize “natural casing” is cleaned animal intestines, right? The stomach, if cleaned well, contains no fat. It is just muscle and a thin layer of meat. Think of it being something like a sausage casing with some meat on it.
It is said the Pennsylvania Dutch use everything except the “oink” from a hog. When your life calls for frugality, you learn to waste nothing – scrapple is a perfect example. Stuffed pig’s stomach is not confined to the Pennsylvania Dutch however; it is found in Chinese, Soul Food, and Latin American cuisines to name just a few.
Pa. Dutch Hog Maw is traditionally stuffed with cubed potatoes, sausage, onions and seasoning; some cooks add cabbage or even some carrots. The mixture is “stuffed” into the cleaned stomach, the openings in the stomach are then sewn shut.
The Hog Maw is baked until it is browned and the skin is crisp. Served sliced for those who enjoy the taste and texture of the crisp skin or scoop the stuffing out and serve it on its own. The choice is totally up to the person about to partake!
Winter on the farm
Traditionally served in the winter, hog maw was enjoyed around the time of hog butchering days on the farms of Lancaster and Berks counties and elsewhere in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The original recipe was most likely brought to Pennsylvania from Germany where it is called “Saumagen” and served on a bed of sauerkraut.
Hog Maw remains a traditional holiday dish among the Pennsylvania Dutch, often served on New Year’s Day along with the traditional pork and sauerkraut as a way of ensuring good luck for the coming year. Leftovers can also be served cold as a sandwich.
To each his own
The stuffing used for this dish is as individual as the person cooking the Hog Maw. There is great debate as to whether adding cabbage is “correct” or not. Since you are the one eating it, my philosophy is that you should be the one deciding what your hog maw stuffing should contain! This old recipe calls for both loose fresh sausage and cut-up smoked sausage to be added.
Use quality ingredients
In the Coal Region and Pennsylvania Dutch areas of Pennsylvania, it is not hard to locate delicious fresh and smoked sausage made by local butchers and meat packers that put commercially prepared “famous name” sausage to absolute shame. Your stuffing is only as good as the ingredients, so find the best and use them!
The stomach will stretch as stuffed. Take care not to over-stuff it so it can be closed up for baking. Many cooks use a needle and cotton sewing thread to close the hog maw, but some use strong toothpicks with sharp tips. Either way, make sure to remove the thread or picks when getting ready to serve the hog maw.
The stomach has several openings: intake, outgo, and a pyloric valve. If there are any tears in the stomach, these should be stitched up, too. Try to use the largest opening for stuffing.
Finding and Cleaning Pig’s Stomach
In Pennsylvania, the pig’s stomach can usually be purchased at one of the many traditional butchers at local farmers’ markets or local butcher shops. Some will clean/prep the stomach for you. If you do the prep yourself, wash the hog maw inside and out in cold water. Use a knife to scrape away excess fat or trim fat with kitchen shears. Rub and continuously rinse the hog maw until cleaned (some people use coarse salt to help with the rubbing and cleaning). The video below shows the basic steps.
Pennsylvania Dutch Hog MawCourse: EntreeCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Intermediate
Hog Maw is a pig’s stomach traditionally stuffed with cubed potatoes, sausage, onions and seasoning then baked.
1 large pig’s stomach, well cleaned (all fat removed)
1 pound fresh loose pork sausage or link sausage, casing removed and crumbled OR 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound smoked sausage cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 to 2 – 1/2 pounds Russet potatoes, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
OPTIONAL: 2 cups shredded cabbage
Salt and pepper to taste (amount varies depending on the seasoning already in your sausage)
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Mix together the crumbled fresh and sliced smoked sausages, cubed potatoes, chopped onions (and shredded cabbage if using), parsley, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Sew the SMALL opened end of the stomach with cooking twine to close, leaving a large opening for stuffing. Sew up any additional tears.
- Stuff sausage mixture into stomach, pressing well with each addition, stomach will stretch as filled. Once stuffed, sew closed the remaining open end with cooking twine or thread.
- Place stuffed stomach in a shallow roasting pan. Pour a little water into the pan.
- Roast uncovered until potatoes (and cabbage if using) are tender and stomach is crispy, about 2 hours or so, basting about every 20 minutes with water or pan juices. If browning too quickly, cover with a tent of aluminum foil.
- Remove stomach from roasting pan. Slice stomach into 1 inch thick slices or scoop filling out.