Saturday, January 21, 2012

SPAM Facts and Recipes

I wrote last about the great SPAM-Off at the reunion/anniversary party and promised to share the 2nd place winner (out of 3 so it’s not like this recipe had a mandate going forward). And here it is at the bottom of the blog. But first, a few facts about SPAM.

SPAM, the food, was created in 1937, the first canned meat product not requiring refrigeration. It’s first name was “Hormel’s Spiced Ham”. As other companies quickly followed suit, there was competition in the marketplace, so Hormel sponsored a contest to rename their product. The Hormel Company’s president’s brother won the prize of $100. There is dispute about where the name came from, but the two most likely are: SPiced hAM or Shoulder of Pork and Ham.

You can visit the official SPAM Museum in Austin, MN. That proximity to Iowa is part of the long family story about our SPAM connection.

Here is the second place winner in the family reunion SPAM-Off, 2011.

Curried Spam Bites

  • 4 T garam masala or curry powder
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T grated fresh ginger
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ½ t crushed red pepper
  • 2 12-oz cans Spam, cut into 1- 1-1/2-inch cubes

Dipping Sauce

  • 1 c plain yogurt
  • ½ t garam masala
  • ¼ c cucumber chunks
  • 1 t mint
  • 4 T snipped fresh cilantro

  1. Combine garam masala, onion, garlic, ginger, oil, and red pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in Spam, working spice mixture into meat with fingers. Thread the meat onto wooden skewers, leaving 1/4-inch between pieces; cover and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours.

  1. Place Spam skewers in a lightly oiled rack of the grill directly over medium heat. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until browned, turning once. Meanwhile, mix together yogurt, spices, and cucumber in a mini food processor. Add cilantro and pulse a couple of time. Put into a small dish. Cover and chill until serving.

  1. To serve, use a fork to remove grilled Spam cubes from skewers. Arrange meat on fruited rice around a bowl of yogurt mixture. Makes 12 servings with fruited rice.


  1. GARAM MASALA sounds like a site in Israel I once visited. Enlighten me, oh Wise One.

  2. It is lovely Indian spice blend consisting of some of all of these: coriander, cumin, pepper, ginger, cardamon, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. You can make your own or buy it (like I do). Sites with recipes are or