Recipes: Liver Mush & Hog Lights Stew

These are genuine down-home recipes, taken from The Treasury of White Trash Cooking, by Ernest and Trisha Mickler.


  • 1 hog liver, cut up, washed and picked clean of the membranes
  • 3/4 cups of coarse ground cornmeal
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp flake red pepper

Cook liver in salted water until tender. Drain and mash to a paste. Make a sluice of the liver and one cup of the liver juice. Put in a pot and bring up to a boil while adding the cornmeal, till it gits (sic) good and thick. Add seasonings. Scrape into a mold of some kind and let it get cold. Remove and slice. It’s a meal in one.

Comments: Sick. When I was a kid, my mom used to boil liver for the cat, and I can personally vouch for the fact that it stinks.

(“lights” are the lungs and the liver of a pig, cooked together)

  • 1 set of hog lights
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 toes garlic, chopped
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Flour

Chop your lights up into bite-size pieces. Fry down in a heavy pot with the onion and garlic till it is brown. Add water to cover, salt and pepper, and stew till tender. If it’s not thick enough for you, use a little flour to make it thicker. Spoon that over rice and some Scratch Backs* on the side, and you’re fixed.

Praise it

Flush This

* Scratch backs are pig skin and attached fat, salted, rolled in cornmeal, and fried. They turn out very crunchy, thus the name “Scratch Backs” – they “scratch your back” going down.


12 responses to “Recipes: Liver Mush & Hog Lights Stew

  1. When i moved to charleston SC i have no option but to make it my self.Charleston SC sucks.Livermush is the best meal you could have.

    • Ever seen somebody have a heart attack? I have. “Best meal” is a highly relative word when it kills you 30 years down the road.

  2. Why is this recipe listed as things that stink? I was raised on a farm in SC and we always had liver and lights at hog killing time. It is a wonderful aroma that smells so delicious. Don’t knock it until you have tried it. If you can eat escargo (snails) then you can eat just about anything. Oh, by the way I like hog chitterlings too. They stink while cooking but they taste great! I also like head cheese. It is just another piece of meat to me and oh how good! If u don’t like it that’s fine because that is more for the rest of us!!

  3. Thanks. As a child we ate liver and lights stew. Now I know what the “lights” are. Always wondered…

  4. Keith, I am in SE Ga and loved hog head cheese, chitlins and liver and lights. Always wondered what lights were.

  5. I haven’t eaten liver and lights in years. This morning it came to mine. So here I am. I thought I knew what was in the recipe, but not sure. My Mother cooked it occasionally with the lung, but we all like it cooked other pork. She also made homemade biscuits of which she was a pro. There is nothing like dipping hot bilcuits in liver and pork gravy.

    • Getting up on saturday mornings, building a fire under a 55 gal barrel with water in it while grandpa took on the kill part, hoisting the hog in the air upside down, draining……..i’ll let the fun part slip by for all faint of heart!! what wonderful memories!! say what they want, this what i was raised on and i still love it !! wish my mom was still with us to make it her way!!

    • I have not had any liver and lights in 29 years. when I was a little boy we lived in very small town. no money poor but we eat the best of hillbilly food you could make. my mother made this but different,sage was in her recipe ,has anyone heard of this

  6. Keith, I also grew up eating every part of a pig but the squeal. My Mom was a great southern cook that served us liver & lights, chitlins, made head cheese, and the best crackling cornbread you ever put in your mouth. I have never understood how anyone snails, or mountain oysters could anything about the quality of food others eat. When we were growing up in Alabama, out in the country, if it was put before you, you ate it and thanked the Lord you had it. Folks just don’t know how good our old southern dishes are. Makes me want a piece of buttermilk pie right now. Best to all.

  7. Lights are not the liver and lungs cooked together, lights are the lungs. Both of them together, along with the heart, are known as the “pluck”, we always had pluck stew at hog killing time. Nothing was wasted.

  8. im looking for a recipes for hog lites hash…dose anyone no about this

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