The Wonderful World of Livermush
April 11, 2016 6:05 PM   Subscribe

What is Livermush? Similar to scrapple, Spam, and definitely not the same as liver pudding, liver mush is a common meat in the western parts of North Carolina. So slap some deep fried livermush on a biscuit with some mayo and save the date for the annual Mush, Music & Mutts livermush festival in Shelby, North Carolina!
posted by chainsofreedom (41 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
a product made of pork liver, head parts, and cornmeal

come now, don't be coy

WHICH PARTS?

(I'd eat the shit out of this)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:09 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


(I'd eat the shit out of this)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering

Eponyscatological
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:12 PM on April 11, 2016 [11 favorites]


It looks tasty, but you need to come up with a more catchy name.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:35 PM on April 11, 2016


Liver pudding. It's liver pudding. And it's amazing. Fried to a black crisp.
posted by odinsdream at 6:37 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I miss livermush and grits. When I lived in NC, whenever my ex and I would stay over with her mother (who lives a short ways from Shelby), she would make us livermush, grits, and eggs for breakfast. I really need to look into having it shipped out west. (Along with Dukes Mayo.)
posted by insert.witticism.here at 6:48 PM on April 11, 2016


Am I misremembering from the episode of Bizarre Foods that featured livermush that some people put grape jelly on their livermush sandwiches? Because if I'm not misremembering that, I think we need to put it out there.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:50 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not just no, but hell no.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:51 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I love scrapple, but I never thought it would be beat in the bad name department.
posted by mollweide at 6:55 PM on April 11, 2016


Well people put grape jelly on meatballs, so it seems like the same basic idea.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 7:09 PM on April 11, 2016


Missing Pennsylvania scrapple. I haz a sad because of it. I'd try livermush. At least once.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:11 PM on April 11, 2016


As a son of Taiwanese immigrants who grew up in California and familiar with wonderful things like pigs blood cake , I was introduced to scrapple by a friend on the east coast in his misguided attempt to gross me out.

I don't eat it often now that I've moved out to the east coast but I sure won't shy away from a scrapple or pork roll if it's presented to me and I suspect livermush is the same.
posted by Karaage at 7:39 PM on April 11, 2016


Last Friday, I picked up some headcheese. Deli guy was like "You sure about that?"

Then he's like "OK, serious dude, I was just joking."

It's nice with some good mustard.

I've never had livermush. But I'd hit it.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:43 PM on April 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is North Carolina, right? Can't we just boycott this thing?
posted by charlesminus at 7:47 PM on April 11, 2016 [9 favorites]


Slightly tangential, but growing up in the Midwest, I always saw "headcheese" along with the baloney (that's how we spelled it) and salami. It looked gross. I thought I could live my whole life without eating it. Never saw it in Denver.

Unfortunately, in my first visit to a real foodie restaurant for my wife's birthday, a snout to tail joint, I opted for the chef's menu. One course was head cheese. Hyper-artisanal, I'm sure, but, still: headcheese. Ughh.

(The longest and most expensive meal I've had, and not very tasty. We learned a lesson there.)
posted by kozad at 8:04 PM on April 11, 2016


I've had headcheese, braunschweiger, and scrapple. This dosen't sound that far removed. I'd eat it.
posted by jonmc at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2016


I'm the emperor of all scrapple (the Delmarva variety, not the too-much-cornmeal central PA version), but my goetta is fantastic, as well. I like to think I'd like livermush, but like most of these things, if you didn't grow up with it, the fear curve is a bit steep.

The secret with all, though, is proper slicing of the loaf, cooking till crisp, and a zen attitude.

One's mileage, of course, may vary.
posted by sonascope at 8:30 PM on April 11, 2016 [3 favorites]




gusandrews: when I lived in Astoria, this place was a favorite. Their homemade headcheese with some horseradish was astounding, followed by their spaetzle with sheeps milk cheese and bacon, and some Czech beer and some frozen slivovitz, followed by...a long nap.
posted by jonmc at 8:53 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Who will come and live a life devoted to chastity, abstinence, and a flavorless mush I call rootmarm?"
posted by thelonius at 10:34 PM on April 11, 2016


Livermush and scrape are nothing like Spam. Spam is made of pork shoulder and ham, not random discarded bits of pig.
posted by Docrailgun at 11:24 PM on April 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would totally try that. Recently I tried some haggis for the first time and was impressed. Never underestimate the tastiness of animal fat.
posted by zardoz at 2:00 AM on April 12, 2016


Definitely grew up with this as liver pudding. I don't think anyone in my family knew it as livermush until my mother read their term in a book set in NC ten years ago, and my father will express his bewilderment about it to this day.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:10 AM on April 12, 2016


kozad: "Hyper-artisanal, I'm sure, but, still: headcheese. Ughh."
Whuh? Headcheese, thickly sliced, on an open-faced dark rye sandwich with moutarde forte and a slice of pickled red beets: Danish comfort food.

I'd eat the heck out of that Taiwanese pig's blood cake as well. Looks super yummy.
posted by brokkr at 2:28 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Liver. One of the few foods I truly hate in any form. No matter what you do to it, that nasty taste comes through. My mom tried to get me to eat it fried with onions; the onions were tasty, the liver was still liver. As an adult I pretty much eat all the things I would not touch as a kid, and even love some of them, but not liver. Luckily my husband shares this distaste and I never fed it to my kids. Spam, however, is OK. Much like our beloved Jersey Taylor Ham, best breakfast ever with egg and cheese on a roll or english muffin.
posted by mermayd at 3:36 AM on April 12, 2016


> This is North Carolina, right? Can't we just boycott this thing?

<humorlessness>
Hi! New-ish transplant to North Carolina is gonna take this at face value for a moment... to say that most liver mush/pudding sold in stores comes from regional meat processors that work with independent farmers. Which is not to impress on you all that these are artisinal hand-crafted bricks o' mush, but more that this stuff is mostly the product of small businesses with local distribution; it's not Big Agribiz.

Now, HB-2 is immoral, a violation of human rights, and is probably even worse than you've heard about in the news (aside from the bathrooms thing, it also exempts LGBT people from protection under workplace discrimination laws and prevents local governments from setting employment and wage laws). Do what you can or must to lodge your protest, I'll grit my teeth and back you up. But boycotting stuff that you can't get anyway isn't going to help.
</humorlessness>
posted by ardgedee at 5:06 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seconding brokkr. My dad makes headcheese every Christmas and it is the most delicious thing.
posted by Dysk at 5:08 AM on April 12, 2016


With that said, liver mush is a kind of take-or-leave thing for me. Meat products I haven't been able to gird myself to try yet are things like the pork brains with eggs dish at Big Ed's in Raleigh.
posted by ardgedee at 5:08 AM on April 12, 2016


Mom was from Shelby, also the best BBQ in the state (Red Bridges not Alston Bridges thank you very much), and she was insistent that French's Yellow Mustard was to go on your livermush. Mustard is fine, I suppose, but the grape jam is really where it's at. Also, chopping some up and putting it in my bowl of grits (I'm a heathen, I know).
posted by sara is disenchanted at 5:13 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've had headcheese, braunschweiger, and scrapple. This dosen't sound that far removed. I'd eat it.
posted by jonmc at 11:06 PM on April 11


Agreed with the above; I love all of those dishes.

Livermush sounds amazing but GOETTA 4 LYFE
posted by magstheaxe at 5:31 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is livermush a piedmont thing? 'Cause I've never heard of it in the mountains. Or maybe I just don't hang out with the right sort of people.

I think it sounds tasty, but I also like liver, liverwurst, Leberkäse and (most) head cheese.
posted by workerant at 5:36 AM on April 12, 2016


I am gonna fucking cut someone... it is pudding, damn it.
posted by odinsdream at 6:20 AM on April 12, 2016


Is livermush a piedmont thing? 'Cause I've never heard of it in the mountains. Or maybe I just don't hang out with the right sort of people.

Interestingly, Neese's sells livermush and liver pudding as different things with livermush being listed as the Western NC variety. The Wikipedia also repeats this distinction. This forum discussion has someone say that they always knew it liver pudding until they came to Wilkes County,* but it also has someone claim that Yankees call it liver pudding, but we know that isn't true because Neese's sells it as liver pudding. My personal data point is that my dad calls it liver pudding and he was born and raised in Greensboro with family in Reidsville.

* Western NC to me, but I was in raised in the Piedmont and Coastal Plain (Apex and New Bern), by people from Greensboro, so I hesitate to speak too authoritatively on that. Maybe Western, but not the Mountains?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:37 AM on April 12, 2016


I love scrapple, but I never thought it would be beat in the bad name department.

Honestly, the only reason I even wanted to try scrapple was because the name amused me.

Scrapple. Scrapple. Scrapple.

(My verdict: Taste was fine, but the texture was... weird.)
posted by imnotasquirrel at 8:44 AM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


I grew up eating headcheese, bludwurst, scrapple, and all those other tasty Deutsch and/or German goodies --- they're all basically poor-people's foods, using up every last scrap that's even vaguely edible, 'cause back in the day wasting that stuff meant going seriously hungry.

I suspect I'd happily chow down on some livermush: it sounds like it's just re-named scrapple.
posted by easily confused at 8:49 AM on April 12, 2016


I love chopped liver and liverwurst. So I have to say that I'd gladly give this a try.

OTOH headcheese is all yours. I worked at a deli, up close and personal with headcheese. No thanks.
posted by Splunge at 8:59 AM on April 12, 2016


Is livermush a piedmont thing? 'Cause I've never heard of it in the mountains. Or maybe I just don't hang out with the right sort of people.

I think it mostly is. I lived in New Bern for several years and never heard of it. This post was sparked by a friend of mine who is working at High Point University and encountered livermush for the first time the other day. Which made me go, "What the hell?!?!?! . . . Metafilter needs to know about this."

Livermush and scrape are nothing like Spam.

Oh, I know, I meant in a more, conglomerated meat that you can slice and deep fry, kind of way.
posted by chainsofreedom at 9:36 AM on April 12, 2016


I live in Asheville and grew up in Wilmington. On the coast we had liver and onions. Up in the mountains, there is livermush but it's not all that common. We consider High Point and Wilkes County etc the foothills. I love pate and am okay with scrapple but despise liver in all other forms. Ick ick ick.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:52 AM on April 12, 2016


Mom was from Shelby, also the best BBQ in the state (Red Bridges not Alston Bridges thank you very much), and she was insistent that French's Yellow Mustard was to go on your livermush. Mustard is fine, I suppose, but the grape jam is really where it's at. Also, chopping some up and putting it in my bowl of grits (I'm a heathen, I know).

sara is disenchanted, I want to internet high-five you on your good taste in BBQ. Red Bridges is the best BBQ I've ever had. It's the best reason to go to Shelby (maybe the only reason to go to Shelby).

But livermush? Hell no. HELL no. I remember encountering it in a grocery store near Shelby for the first time. I tried to get my NC-born partner to explain it to me.

There is no explanation for livermush.
posted by guster4lovers at 10:19 PM on April 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ughhhh I haaaate liver pudding. And yes, odinsdream is correct, it is liver pudding. Ideally pronounced "puddin'."
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 1:50 AM on April 14, 2016


Y'all have defined it pretty well... Just want to add that it seems to be a definitely Western Piedmont NC thing. Source: I grew up less than 5 minutes from the Neese's processing plant/shipping facility in Charlotte, and live 15 minutes from Shelby now.

The only people I know that profess an undying love for the stuff are from this general area of NC.
posted by concertedchaos at 4:54 PM on May 1, 2016


And I've never ever heard of it referred to as Liver Puddin(g), not once in 35 years.
posted by concertedchaos at 5:00 PM on May 1, 2016


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