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Warning: Long post about “lunchmeat” ahead.

I had previously “threatened” to make a post about Spam. Well, since Memorial Day Holiday is one of the biggest processed meats weekends in the year, I thought it was about time I gave Mr. Spam it’s due.

I think he looks much more imposing and stately when you leave him as an unsliced, pale pink, immovable tower of meat, don’t you?

This is actually Spam Lite which is supposed to have 50% Less Fat, 33% Fewer Calories and 25% Less Sodium. As if this is going to do you a whole lot better.

A ton has already been said about it, so I don’t really need to go into details about its history and (un) popularity. Anyhow, I pretty much just need to show the pictures… it sells itself! But for those who are unfamiliar with our solid fatty friend, just know that there ARE Spam Festivals, Spam Cookoff Contests, and Spam Carving Competitions. I think Hormel even has a Spam Museum.

Oh, when I was a kid I tried to make Spam Dice. Cut spam into cubes and use peppercorns for the dice divots. Fun.

A disclaimer before you launch into a diatribe on the un-merits of Spam Lite. I ate an inordinate amount of Spam growing up, especially considering I had health-conscious parents. The keys to this mystery are that I have a Hawaiian influenced background and I used to go camping a lot.

The Hawaii-Spam connection: I was always told that its popularity increased in the “old days” because in Hawaii’s humid weather, everything spoils quicker. So canned, preserved or salted food was very popular. I’m not sure how true this is. Needless to say, you can walk into most any Hawaiian BBQ restaurant and there will be Spam on the menu.

The Camping Issue: Because of it’s portability and sliceable demeanor, Spam was popular whenever we decided to hit the road. Fried Spam and Spam Musubi (more on this later) were old standbys. The important thing is that we tended to travel in large groups. So on any trip, even if my parents didn’t bring it along SOMEONE was bound to bring some.

You might think I’m sick of Spam, but I still get a hankering for Spam Musubi once in awhile. And now, an explanation for those who don’t know what that is. Think of Sushi Rolls, add some spam, and subtract the vinegar taste from the rice. That’s pretty much it.

Unlike sushi rolls, however, Spam Musubi is often rectangular. They sell these plastic rectangular molds (but you can make your own by cutting the Spam can into a suitable size). You put some rice into the mold, then a slice of fried spam (often seasoned with soysauce and sugar) and then some more rice. Press down on the mold top, then take some seaweed and wrap it around the outside. Great stuff.

Ok, for those who want something more normal, you can always make Spam Fried Rice. They also sell this in Hawaiian Restaurants and it’s just like normal fried rice except with Spam as the main meat ingredient. One thing, make sure to brown the spam cubes first if possible… it tastes a lot better.

The rub with Spam is that it is NOT cheap, which is surprising. Or maybe not. It’s meat in a can after all, and for that convenience (and tons of sodium nitrates) you are going to pay. Look for it on sale… or I think I may have mentioned that you can get Generic Spam which is cheaper and not surprisingly, tastes very similar to the real deal.

Price: $1.99
Found At: Albertson’s
Cheap Eats Score: 5/10

18 Responses to “Delicious Spam Lite”

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  1. g Says:

    I have friends who have been talked about making Spam Musubi. I’m glad to finally know what it is. Also, there is a Spam Museum in MN. My roommate went there last year. She is now set if she’s ever on Jeopardy and they have a Spam category.

  2. skibs Says:

    Aw..did you scrape the jelly-substance off of the spam log before taking the picture?! For me, full nostalgia comes from the goop!

    I’ve never had any cooked version of Spam, but I’ve heard many times that a spamburger is great. At $1.99 a can I would probably rather buy some tuna and spare myself the cooking. Your Spam fried rice looks pretty yummy btw

  3. Orchid Says:

    AFAIK, there is no longer any jelly on the outside of Spam. I don’t eat it but my husband does and it comes out of the can looking fairly clean when I cook it up for him.

    Macaroni and cheese is pretty delicious with Spam. I’m not sure why except that the saltiness seems to go well with it.

  4. jim Says:

    i usually have a can of spam on hand. it is pretty versitile. i haven’t tried the fried rice with spam, but i have had mac and cheese with spam. not the most healthy but good eats!

  5. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    g – the MN Spam museum sounds fun!

    skibs – actually, that pic is straight outta the can, though see the next post. Spamburgers… haha, in my younger days we had made a song for guitar called “Spamburger”. I’ll try remember the lyrics later…

    orchid – yes, so far no jelly. Though I do remember in the old days there was some of that. I haven’t had mac and cheese spam. eek.

    jim – spam fried rice tastes pretty good, once again make sure to brown the spam as it tastes better, and cut it into cubes that are small.

  6. Marc Says:

    Back in my Navy days I had to work for 3 months in the butcher shop (known in the Navy as mess cranking, KP in the Army, god knows what in the chair force) and we would get these 10 pound cans of “luncheon meat” those were some freaken huge logs of Spam! We would have to slice them up and fry them for breakfast. Man I sure got burned out on that stuff!

  7. Alex Says:

    My dad once told me a story about my half sister’s first experience with spam at her step-dad’s house. She came home to my dad and was telling him about breakfast. “He made Spam and eggs,” she said. My dad said “Spam, what’s that?” Then she replied, “Well, it comes in a can, then you put it in a pan and fry it up, and then it turns into meat!”

    Haha. I still get a kick out of that whenever I think about it.

  8. Gwen Says:

    I love my grandmother’s Spam & Fried Egg toasted sandwiches. She’s not much for anything that’s not Chinese, but this is one great “western” food she prepares! Spam and eggs go well together.
    I can easily avoid processed meats (turkey breast, ham, salami, etc.) but totally make up by liking Spam – don’t have it often, though.

  9. Jackie Joy Says:

    Heh, I lived in Hawaii for a while as a teen and Spam always makes me think of my youth group there…they always ate Spam Musubi, and I remember at church camp, we had fried spam with scrambled eggs for breakfast. It was kinda tasty.

  10. Sandra Says:

    I used to eat Spam a LOT when I was a kid, then it just stopped coming. I just remembered it tasting soooo good to me for some reason, but I tried it again a few months later and I could not stomach it. It tasted like the most grotesque thing in the world to me, and its the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought in a can!

  11. Keri Says:

    My mom is from Hawaii, so I’ve been eating Spam all my life. Spam is definitely an “all-purpose” food. Spam fried rice, Spam in fried noodles, stir-frys, and of course musubi. This is what I ate as a child and I still do now! Good for road trips…just watch out for the nori in your teeth! :)

  12. Gruntwilligar T. Honkenoffski Says:

    Just a couple of days ago I made a SPAM and cheese omelet sandwich. 3 eggs, cube some SPAM, toss in some green onions and chopped garlic along with your favorite spice in a microwavable bowl and cook till done. Put some cheese between two slices of your favorite bread along with the omelet and you have something yummy!

    Gruntie

  13. Eve Says:

    We make a dish using mac and cheese, prepared..added to a can of tomato soup, use a can of water(Campbells), and browned spam in chunks…I add a little onion sometimes..It is pretty good.

    I live on the Gulf Coast and just went through Hurricane Katrina…We thanked God for spam when there were no grocery stores left anywhere near us. I always keep canned meat, soup, tuna and such on my Hurricane shelf. House went down but we rescued the spam…LOL

  14. Witch Doctor Says:

    Spam is so all-purpose it’s not even funny. It’s great in a cold sandwich, as a luncheon meat. Cooked, it’s best mixed with other things, as the salt really comes on strong once it’s cooked. I like putting it in with eggs… I make spam-omelets once in a while, and it’s almost “a step above ham.” The Hawaiians have something called a Spam loco moco: a big plate of rice, topped with burger patties, Spam, and gravy poured over everything. If you sit on your ass all day, it’s completely unhealthy, but if you’ve been swimming, out and about, etc. it’s perfect!

  15. Witch Doctor Says:

    Oh, the other thing: I do get the “cheap meat” comments a lot. It’s not exactly cheap stuff, though! And besides, would you rather get a nice dose of mercury in that can of tuna fish? Not for me baby!

  16. Gruntwilligar T. Honkenoffski Says:

    Try the Mr Jingles special down at Rosie’s cantina and grill

  17. dan liebert Says:

    My diet bacon. I get Spam Lite and run it through my friend’s quick shop meat slicer and slice it thin. Spray a little Pam in a pan and fry nice even brown and crispy. Makes a super BLT on that 35 calorie a slice diet bread with light Hellman’s mayo.

  18. Frank Benway Says:

    The Spam Lite is excellent sliced thin and fried crispy with (don’t gag) Smuckers strawberry preserves smeared over top. Preferably accompanied by a sunny side up egg and some wheat toast.




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