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The Sugary Prison Pie That Inmates Make Behind Bars

Photo by Peter Pham/Foodbeast

Quotes in this article have been transcribed from the Foodbeast Katchup podcast, now on Spotify and the Apple Podcasts App.

A pie that's completely made with snacks, may or may not sound like the most appealing dessert, and definitely won't be served at any 5-star restaurant, but we have been told that "Peckerwood Pies" are all the rage — at least in prison.

The term "peckerwood" was once used as a slur for white people, as the Anti-Defamation League explained the term originated with Southern blacks, covertly using it to describe rural southern white folks. It eventually became a term that was primarily used in prisons, which explains why you'll hear it casually thrown around in prison-based shows or movies.

 
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Entrepreneur and ex-con Andrew Medal, whose "Don't Drop the Soap," book is filled with insights on life behind bars, brought the vulgar word to our attention through something called a "Peckerwood Pie."

Yes, that's what the recipe is actually called, and it is actually revered, according to Medal.

Further expanding on these prison terms, Medal jumped on the Foodbeast Katchup podcast, sharing his story as an entrepreneur-turned-ex-con-turned-entrepreneur again.

His comments on prison diets and recipes were pretty mind-blowing, and he expanded on the popularity of the "Peckerwood Pie," in particular.

While the pie's origins aren't exactly something you can just find at your local library, we can imagine it was started by the prison-based gang of the same name.

Medal described "Peckerwoods" as a prison-based gang, originally formed as a subset of the Aryan Brotherhood, which is already terrifying in itself.

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Maybe just as terrifying, is the amount of sugary foods that go into making this thing.

Either way, the pie has become a staple for inmates, and doesn't seem to be exclusive to any one prison demographic, at least according to Medal (who also explained that he never cliqued up with any gangs while behind bars).

We'd like to think there might be some pushback on the name's usage, but these are Medal's truths and personal experience.

"Peckerwood Pie... from county to prison, everyone loves this recipe," Medal explained. "You go bananas for Peckerwood Pie."

Medal continued on how he basically lived off food from the commissary, which was like a prison Walmart for those who could afford it. For the commissary, money is put on an inmates name by friends and family, and they are allowed to use that money to purchase food, clothes, and everyday items.

"State inmates are allowed to put what's called 'Money on their books." He continued, "... usually once a week, inmates are allowed to order commissary."

Through snacks in the commissary, the "Peckerwood Pie" is produced within cells across the US, as well as other recipes that Medal provides in his book.

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Medal said there are several iterations of the pie, but the general idea of it is simple: build a carb foundation, typically with Honey Buns, then stack it with even more snacks.

His official recipe consists of 2 large cookies, 2 glazed Honey Buns, 1 brownie, 1 Butterfinger bar, 1 chocolate pudding pouch, 1 pouch of peanut butter and jelly, and a bag of peanuts. During the podcast he added that he likes to mix in Oreos and Pop-Tarts, as well.

From there, Medal would use the Honey Buns as the bottom base, and sandwich the brownie between the two cookies, just before smashing everything together and getting it as flat as you can. He'd then add the creamier elements such as the pudding and peanut butter and jelly. The last step is just sprinkling pieces of crushed Butterfinger and peanuts atop for an extra layer of crunch.

Video proof that we're not making this stuff up.

Medal went on to say that these pies are generally constructed on a cell's floors, with brown paper bags serving as a makeshift table.

In his book, he adds that it is common for the Peckerwood Pie to be enjoyed on birthdays and to celebrate release dates, because prisoners are still human and not just trying to kill each other all the time like we see on TV.

If you've ever wanted to experience a prison recipe for yourself, it doesn't get much easier than the Peckerwood Pie. It has the perfect balance of sketchy origins, and childish exuberance of smashing together a bunch of snacks.