How Andy Little Adds Nashville Edge to This Pennsylvania Dutch Dish
Every Friday, we're publishing THIS GOOD THING, where we'll feature a unique restaurant dish, store-bought food item, kitchen tool or food-adjacent obsession that we can't stop thinking about.
At Josephine in the 12 South Neighborhood Nashville, Tennessee, chef Andy Little has earned national recognition for his modern "American farmhouse" cooking that draws heavily from his Pennsylvania Dutch roots while showcasing hyper-regional produce, meat, dairy and grains. One dish that succintly embodies this sensibility is his hot scrapple, which melds Pennsylvania Dutch and Nashville traditions together in an unexpected—yet wildly successful—way.
Growing up in the Philadelphia area, I never thought I'd see scrapple (which, by the way, is mushed and fried leftover pig parts) outside the confines of my 484 area code, let alone in Tennessee, but there I was at Josephine, eating a plate of the crispy, sort-of-sweet pig patty coated in that tangy Nashville "hot"-style sauce, an interpretation of what you'd find on fried chicken at Prince's or Hattie B's.
The Pennsylvania-born chef, who is a 2018 James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef Southeast, insists that scrapple isn't so out of place here.
"The cuisine of central and eastern P.A. and certain regions of the South are very similar—pickling, preserving, whole animal cookery, frugality in cookery, etc.," Little tells Food & Wine. "I have seen an old South Carolina cookbook with a recipe for scrapple and there are certainly different iterations of scrapple-like products, like liver mush in North Carolina and goetta in the Cincinnati area."
In fact, the chef thinks that the humble pork-part flabs could soon be recognized—and celebrated—nationally.
"I think scrapple has some publicity hurdles to get over before it can gain nationwide appeal, but there are so many great things about it," he says. "We all should want to be eating meats that were thoughtfully raised and in doing that, we should want to eat all of the animal. Techniques like making scrapple utilize all of the animal. At the end of the day, it's a delicious way to eat pork. Actually, it doesn't even have to be pork—I'll be cooking lamb scrapple at the James Beard House in May."
If you like hot chicken, do not miss this spicy version of scrapple at Josephine, topped with frisée and pickle vinaigrette.