SPAM {Rich Man or Poor Man’s Meat?}

Let’s talk about SPAM! This delicious canned meat product became wildly popular after WWII. We have all seen that blue and yellow can on the grocery store shelves, but what is it exactly? SPAM is made from both pork and ham, fully cooked and then canned. This was a convenient and shelf-stable food during war times, but it quickly became a staple in the American household in the 1940’s due to the versatility of preparation. Not only can you enjoy SPAM both hot or cold, but you can create some pretty amazing dishes with this simple and cheap meat. You have to buy the original product created by Jay Hormel of Hormel foods for the authentic experience.

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For me personally, I have been eating SPAM since I was a kid. As a daughter of a Filipino Mother and a Father that had spent a lot of time overseas in the Marines, we ate SPAM, rice, and beans at least once a week. I never realized that this was a meal that a lot of families cooked to stretch their dollar a lot further until I was older. I continued the tradition by cooking this meal for my kids once a month. In fact, all of them are grown now and HATE the fact that they actually LOVE it. It seems none of their friends growing up had this meal on dinner rotations. I told them they can blame it on their cultured heritage. At least one of them will always request it if they are away for a while and come back home to visit. It’s a big-time comfort food for us.

You see, people have strong opinions about this canned meat product. Saying things like “mystery meat, cheap eats, specially processed army meat, etc.” But don’t hate it until you’ve tried it prepared the right way. It’s actually gained a lot of traction over the past few decades and even crept its way into the culinary world. When I was attending culinary school, I was surprised to learn of a dish called SPAM Musubi. It became popular in Hawaii where SPAM is a main staple of the Hawaiin diet. Essentially, SPAM Musubi is a marinated piece of SPAM grilled up and placed on top of a block of sushi rice, all wrapped up with a piece of Nori (dried seaweed). The Musubi sauce is what makes this dish irresistible. It’s a soy sauced based sauce with rice wine vinegar and sugar. I use this sauce for my signature SPAM Musubi as well as on top of many fish dishes that I prepare. This dish has even been known to convert the most avid SPAM haters. I was most excited about having this dish available for me to purchase everywhere when we went to Hawaii. You’ll see it at gas stations all the way up to fine dining establishments. It has become so well known that you can even buy the “kit” at the store to make it yourself at home. But I will tell you a little trick that I learned at culinary school. You can form your rice block in the SPAM can itself with a little of plastic wrap. This will ensure your rice block being exactly the same size as your spam.

Spam Musubi

Although SPAM Musubi is one of my favorite ways to prepare this meat, I also love to add it into fried rice and I have even been known to make a good old fashioned SPAM sandwich by pan frying or grilling up a slice of delicious SPAM. I will say that the SPAM Musubi has become a very popular item on the Locomotion Kitchen Food Truck due to the really cute way that I present it. I LOVE SPAM! and I hope you do too.

All Aboard!



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