These days, when people hear the word “Spam," they probably think about all of their unwanted e-mails. However, long before e-mail even existed, Spam was (and still is) a mystery meat found in grocery stores around the world. In fact, Spam has been around since 1937.
Spam first became popular during the late 1930s. During this time, an estimated 100 million pounds of the canned meat was given as rations to soldiers. Afterward, the product continued to gain momentum, and by 2003, Spam was available in around 41 countries on nearly every continent.
Now that we know a little bit about the history of Spam, we should probably explain what this world-famous mystery meat is actually made of. The product was created by Hormel Food Corporation; its ingredients include pork, with ham meat added, water, and salt–with modified potato starch as a sort of binder. Spam also contains a lot of sodium, preservatives, and fat.
While pork-based meat in a can isn’t for everyone, Spam has managed to gain a cult-like following, which is one of the reasons it’s been around as long as it has. One of the other reasons the meat has been a grocery mainstay for decades is that it can be used to make quite a few dishes. Of course, as with all things, quantity doesn’t always equal quality.
With that in mind, we're going to take a look at 20 Spam-based dishes—some sound delicious, while others seem barely edible.
20 Eat It: Musubi
Spam musubi is a very popular snack in the state of Hawaii. It’s basically a chunk of Spam thrown on top of a block of rice wrapped with Nori. It’s a convenience store favorite in the island state and is usually fairly inexpensive. There's also a version of Spam musubi made by celebrity chef Alan Wong—for those who are looking for a higher-end version of the snack.
Spam musubi has been around awhile in Hawaii, which means those preparing it have had time to perfect the recipes. Unlike many of the items on our list, musubi can be found in restaurants, where it’s prepared by professionals, making it one of the better spam-based options out there.
19 Delete It: Spam N Cheese Loaf
What do you get when you mix cream cheese with giant loaves of Spam? The answer is Spam Cheese Loafs. This is actually an old recipe that was used as part of an ad campaign several decades ago.
Those who enjoy cream cheese may find this dish tolerable. That being said, it certainly doesn’t look very appetizing. Moreover, adding cheese to canned meat sounds like something that 5-year-olds would do—assuming their parents allowed them to consume Spam in the first place. As Spam-based recipes go, this one should've probably been left in the 1940s or '50s, when it was originally introduced.
18 Eat It: Spam And Eggs
There are several different ways to prepare Spam and eggs. Some folks like to cut the meat up into little pieces and mix it in with their eggs. There are also people who like to take a large piece of Spam and put eggs on top, as part of a sandwich. Eggs make just about everything better—even the world’s most famous mystery meat.
For those who aren’t adventurous eaters, Spam and eggs are one of the safest bets on our list; the ingredients are simple, and it can be quite good when done right. This dish shows that sometimes, sticking with the basics is the way to go.
17 Delete It: Spam Upside Down Pie
This recipe was first introduced back in 1945. Legend has it that a $100 prize was given to the man who came up with the name—who coincidently (or was it?) happened to be the brother of the vice president of Hormel Foods. Instead of the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, we have Spam Upside Down Cake.
The Spam Upside Down Cake is a classic example of being too creative for one’s own good. Why anyone would want to add Spam to something as delicious as cake is one of the Earth’s great mysteries. In this instance, folks are better off simply enjoying the cake—keep the Spam away.
16 Eat It: Spam Fried Rice
Fried rice is easy to make and almost always delicious. It’s no surprise that someone thought of mixing Spam and fried rice together—and it actually turned out to be a pretty good idea. With this dish, folks can prepare their rice using whatever ingredients they wish. However, instead of adding a traditional item like chicken, simply replace it with spam—adding a little soy sauce doesn’t hurt either.
Let's be honest—one could probably mix cardboard with fried rice and it would still taste halfway decent, so Spam isn’t going to hurt anything here. Spam Friend Rice definitely deserves a thumbs up.
15 Delete It: Spam Cakes (Spam Pancakes)
Pancakes are easily one of the most delicious breakfast foods around. They're also far from healthy and are sometimes eaten by folks who are purposely trying to gain weight for sports or some other such activity. Adding Spam to one’s pancakes makes an unhealthy food item even worse. That being said, there are still recipes out there that encourage folk to mix the two.
As taste goes, Spam Cakes aren’t bad, especially if you cover them in syrup. However, eating them regularly will certainly expand one’s waistline. Unlike other items on our list, Spam Cakes should probably be avoided due to health concerns, as opposed to taste.
14 Eat It: Spam Birds
The 1940s and ’50s produced a number of classic Spam recipes. One such dish is known as "Spam Birds." Spam Birds are essentially large portions of the mystery meat wrapped around traditional stuffing. To give them a sandwich-like appearance, the person preparing the item will use toothpicks to keep the meat tucked in there.
Stuffing is a popular food, so Hormel was wise to encourage folks to use it in conjunction with one of their most famous products. Moreover, Spam actually complements the popular Thanksgiving dish quite nicely. Speaking of Thanksgiving; Spam Birds can be a great item to add to one’s holiday meal—for those looking for something a little different.
13 Delete It: Peachy Spam Loaf
For fruit lovers, few things are better than fresh peaches. The popular food that inspired the hit song by The President of the United States of America is used in a ton of dishes—not the least of which is the Southern favorite known as Peach Cobbler. That being said, even peaches don’t go well with everything.
Peaches can be pretty tasty, but they have a strange texture (especially the canned variety). Spam also has a texture that can be described as bizarre—making combining the two products a bit unsettling. To be blunt, Spam and Peaches is a slimy, watery dish that should probably be avoided.
12 Eat It: Gallina De Madre (Mother Hen Toast)
The dish commonly referred to as Mother Hen Toast features items like country bread, eggs, ham, and olive oil, in addition to salt and pepper. As one might guess, the alternative version replaces traditional ham with Spam. It’s kind of like taking Spam and Eggs to the next level and makes for a solid breakfast item.
This is one of those dishes that you may be able to sneak Spam into without anyone even noticing. Between the egg and the olive oil, one can barely taste the ham (or Spam in this case). This is a great option for folks who have some leftover Spam in their house and don’t know what to do with it.
11 Delete It: Spam N' Limas
This one of the many very old recipes on our list. Spam N’ Limas is commonly featured on lists of foods that are considered “culinary atrocities.” Of course, this sort of thing is bound to happen when you combine two foods like Spam and Lima Bean—both of which are somewhat polarizing. Besides the obvious ingredients, tomatoes and bell peppers are also commonly used in this dish.
At the end of the day, it’s going to be tough to find folks who like both Spam and Lima beans. Moreover, the dish isn’t aesthetically pleasing, and the two items don’t complement each other particularly well tastewise.
10 Eat It: Spam Mac & Cheese
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Macaroni cheese has more than earned its reputation as one of the best side dishes around. In fact, it even makes an excellent main course when there’s enough of it. For those who are interested in experimenting with Spam-based dishes, this item would be an excellent place to start. Since it only involves putting small Spam slices on top of Mac & Cheese, a person doesn’t have to be hardcore Spammer to appreciate this time.
When done right, Spam Mac & Cheese is one of the best ways to use one of Hormel’s best-selling products, and it tastes as good as it looks.
9 Delete It: Planked Spam
One thing there certainly wasn’t any shortage of in the 1940s was Spam recipes. This dish is known as "Planked Spam." Basically, it’s a whole Spam covered in brown sugar with several items next to it—so that one can try and forget about eating a giant hunk of Spam covered in sugar. The sugary piece of meat is surrounded by tomato slices, butter-covered mushrooms, and a ring of mashed potatoes.
The side items don’t sound terrible, but eating an entire can of Spam covered in sugar sounds unappetizing and isn’t particularly healthy either.
8 Eat It: Spam Ramen Burger
For those of us on a budget, finding unique, affordable recipes can be a little tricky. That being said, there's a solid option for those who can afford reasonably priced products like Spam and Ramen Noodles: the Spam Ramen Burger. The dish consists of 2 buns made of Ramen, with Spam serving as the replacement for traditional hamburger meat.
It may not be the best burger ever, but it looks cool, and it costs next to nothing to make, so it definitely brings some positive things to the table. It may not win any local Burger Fest awards, but the Spam Ramen Burger will do in a pinch.
7 Delete It: Spam Pizza Pockets
As the name implies, Spam Pockets are basically the Spam equivalent of Hot Pockets. For those unfamiliar, Hot Pockets are microwavable turnovers that were originally created by Chef America Inc. and are currently produced by Nestle. There are several different kinds of Hot Pocket varieties, including Pepperoni Pizza and Chicken Broccoli and Cheeder. One variety that Nestle doesn’t produce is the Spam Pocket.
Spam pockets aren’t the worst thing in the world; they don’t taste much different than the standard Pizza-flavored Hot Pockets. However, it’s hardly worth going through the trouble of making one when you can just buy a Hot Pocket for around $2.75.
6 Eat It: Bacon-Wrapped Spam Bites
At this point, Bacon Mania has lasted too long to be classified as a fad. Bacon is more popular than ever and justifiably so, as it tastes amazing. Folks who love bacon and can even tolerate Spam will most likely enjoy Bacon-Wrapped Spam Bites. To create this delicious snack, simply wrap a piece of bacon around a slice of Spam and put a toothpick in it.
Not only are Bacon-Wrapped Spam Bites good; they're also ideal for those who are looking to cut down on their carbohydrate intake. Spam Bites are a classic example of how to use the iconic canned meat the right way.
5 Delete It: SPAM 'N' Beans
While there are plenty of original dishes featured on our list, Spam ‘N’ Beans certainly isn’t one of them—though it isn’t difficult to make at least. Those who want to make this dish the old-fashioned way need only throw a couple of chunks of Spam into a can of baked beans. The modern version of Spam 'N' Beans features Spam cubes and some onions sprinkled in.
This dish looks like something a stowaway would eat in the back of a train in an old Western film—which is kind of cool. However, simply put, baked beans taste better without Spam in them.
4 Eat It: Spam Pasta
Spaghetti with meatballs is a classic dish that people of all ages enjoy regularly. Those who'd like a little more Spam in their life can opt to skip the meatballs and instead replace them with everyone’s favorite canned meat product. Spam Pasta (or Spam Spaghetti) is becoming increasingly popular with those who like to get creative with traditional recipes. Cooks can even use sauces from Italy to add a little extra flavor to their Spam with this dish.
The texture and flavor of Spam mix surprisingly well with spaghetti and most other types of pasta for that matter. Spam pasta is truly a must try.
3 Delete It: Spam Donuts
For some strange reason, someone somewhere decided that putting Spam on (or in) a doughnut was a good idea. There's also another type of “Spam Donut” that simply involves cutting the meat into a donut shape. However, we're going to focus on traditional donuts that are mixed with the popular canned meat.
There are millions of different donuts in the world to choose from, and the majority of them are delicious. However, with the exception of bacon, meat and donuts generally don’t mix well. Spam Donuts are an interesting novelty item, but there are a million better flavors out there to go with.
2 Eat It: Spam Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
Spam Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits are always a crowd pleaser. Between the jalapenos, cheddar, and biscuit flavor, there's something for everyone here. This is actually an official Spam recipe and an excellent use case for the polarizing canned meat. They'd go great with fried chicken or traditional breakfast foods like eggs and sausage.
Folks who aren’t crazy about Spam will still likely appreciate Spam Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits—as the other ingredients tend to overwhelm the meat. Those looking for a creative take on the traditional biscuit should definitely consider making these bad boys. This is one of the best Spam recipes one can expect to come across.
1 Delete It: Spam and Egg Gelatin Mold
Spam and eggs are one thing, but the Spam and Egg Gelatin Mold may be taking things a bit too far. For those who aren’t familiar with gelatin, it's a water-soluble protein used in things like things like jelly. It’s also the stuff that's used to make glue—like the kind kindergarteners use. This may be why the dish looks like a massive chunk of glue with a bunch of Spam and eggs mixed it.
This very well may be the least appetizing dish on our list—based on appearance anyway. The texture is somewhat unsettling as well. It may not taste as bad as it looks, but then again, how could it?