Spam is one of those foods that you either love or you hate. If you’re a lover of canned mystery meats, then you probably find yourself stocking up on Spam every time you’re at the supermarket. Here we’re going to share with you the Top 10 Untold Truths of How Spam Is Really Made.
10. Spam is cooked in the can
Have you ever wondered how each of those little blocks of deliciously flavored pork product is cooked? Those of you who have never eaten Spam probably don’t realize that the product is fully cooked before you open it. You can eat Spam right out of the can. Slice a piece off of the hunk and slap it between two slices of bread, and you’ve got yourself a tasty sandwich that requires little to no work at all. Add some condiments to your Spam sandwich, and you’ve got yourself a meal fit for a king. The Spam factory cooks thousands of cans of Spam all at once. The meat is cooked while it’s inside the can. That’s right, the meat is put in the can while raw, then the can is run through a cooker and once it comes out the other side, the meat in the can is actually fully cooked. After a cooling down process, the Spam in the can is ready to eat! From there it goes on to be sealed and packed for delivery to your nearest grocery store. It’s a fun fact to think about the next time you pop the top off of a can of Spam. That can was at one point hot enough to cook the meat inside of it before ending up in your kitchen. So the next time you pop the top off of a can of Spam think about how hot the can had to get to cook the meat inside it.
9. Spam is mostly pork shoulders and ham
Ever wonder why eating Spam makes you think of Christmas and Easter? It’s because those two-holiday feasts have something in common with an ingredient in Spam. If you guessed the ingredient was depression because you’re home all alone eating another holiday meal by yourself, then you’d be partially correct. The familiar flavor in Spam isn’t your tears of desperation; it’s ham. That’s right, the meat that everyone eats on Christmas and Easter is also in Spam. If you’ve ever thought that Spam tastes a little like ham, it’s because there is ham inside. The good folks over at Spam don’t want everyone to know the exact shoulder to ham ratio in their product. If you knew that valuable information, then you could create your own Spam. Although since Spam comes in at such an affordable price, we’re not sure spending the time and effort to make your own would really be that worthwhile anyways. And even then, half the fun of Spam is cracking open the can and trying to get that gelatinous pork cube out of it. However Spam is indeed an iconic food product and we can understand why the people over at Hormel foods want to keep the exact recipe to themselves regardless. But the main ingredients are indeed Ham and Pork Shoulder, not so complicated for a meat often thought of as having a mysterious allure around its ingredients.
8. Spam and its classic shape
What’s the first thing you think of when it comes to ground meat? You probably think of hamburgers. Those hockey puck-shaped discs of beefy delight aren’t the only meats that are ground up. You see, not every grinding process is the same. Sometimes meat is required to be ground finely for a product, while other times the meat is coarsely ground to produce a variety of shapes. The meat is ground before being formed into the classic shape everyone is familiar with. The workers in the Spam factory don’t hand grind every piece of pork like your grandpa used to do. These days, they have huge metal grinders that are powered by strong motors. No one is standing there, cranking the metal grinder until it feels like their arm is about to fall off. They have machines do all the hard work so we can enjoy Spam with as little effort as possible. Those big machines may do all the heavy lifting, but it still takes a keen eye to make sure everything at the factory runs smoothly.
7. Spam is made all over the world
International travellers and foreigners alike are probably shocked to find Spam on supermarket shelves all over the world. It’s always surprising to see a familiar product during a trip to the grocery store while you’re traveling. Don’t worry, that can of Spam didn’t get there by steam liner and it hasn’t been sitting on the shelf the entire time. Spam isn’t only made in the United States. There are factories producing Spam all over the world. Yes, it’s not only Americans who love Spam. It seems the rest of the world can’t get enough of this processed pork food either. The goodness of Spam fills the bellies of countless people around the world every day. Those people know what happiness is since the taste of Spam is just like how a smile makes you feel. If you’re feeling homesick, then grab a can of Spam off of the shelf the next time you’re visiting a foreign country. You might notice there are regional varieties that you can’t get while at home. Be warned that customs is very strict about what you can and can’t bring into any country. Don’t even think about trying to smuggle a can of Spam in your pants while going through security. Those international flavors are addictive, but not only will they take away your Spam, you’ll have to pay a hefty fine as well. Scarf down the Spam before you leave and start planning your next trip while in the air if you’re so much in love with the new flavor.
6. There are no snouts, lips, or ears in Spam
What is the one thing that makes you squeamish about eating any processed meat? It’s the fact that you don’t know exactly what cuts of meat are in the product. Anyone with a good imagination can come up with a few undesirable cuts that are more than likely in your hot dogs. They say you don’t want to know what’s in sausage or how laws are made, and there’s usually a grain of truth in that. Since butchery has been in existence, people have always been suspicious of any processed meat. You can rest assured that there are only high-quality cuts of meat in your can of Spam. You won’t find any snouts, lips, or ears trying to hear what you’re saying while smacking your lips together as you eat Spam. Surprisingly, the quality of the meat in Spam is extremely high. It’s not possible to produce a pork product such as Spam if you’re using anything other than the best cuts. So you never have to worry about mystery meat or anything like that when buying a can of Spam. Sadly, you can’t say the same about the hot dogs you’re going to buy for your next cookout.
5. The Product Safety Of Spam
If you think that the Spam is placed in the can and that’s it, then you’re highly mistaken. If the Spam is produced in America, it must sit at the factory for ten days before it’s allowed to leave. This is not like a little vacation before going off to college, there is a reason for this. There won’t be any cocktails or afternoons on the beach, because soon a random can will be tested. Cans are heated up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit to check for any bulges. The final product inside the can is also checked for bacteria. These procedures and others are done to ensure the quality and safety of the final product. If there are any doubts about the integrity of the can or the product itself, then it will be pulled and not sent out for delivery. The makers of Spam are very serious about product safety, and they want to make sure everyone who buys a can enjoys a fine meal made with it. You can’t expect anything less from a company that uses top-notch cuts of meat.
4. That clear stuff in the Spam can
The clear jello-like stuff is gelatin, and it’s perfectly safe to eat. You’ve probably allowed Spam to get cold in the refrigerator and noticed there’s even more of the jiggly stuff. Yes, it’s kind of gross, but it won’t hurt you. There’s nothing in the gelatin that’s bad or foul in any way. It’s just some weird meat juices that form the gelatin. Think of it as watered-down Jell-O that tastes meaty. If you can get past the odd texture of Spam’s gelatin, it tastes pretty good. It has a meaty taste that is reminiscent of pork. Eating Spam’s gelatin won’t hurt you or have any unwanted side effects along the way. If you’re too worried about it, then take a knife and remove the gelatin. You can also remove the meat from the can and put the unused portion in a container. If there’s one thing that turns many off of wanting to eat Spam, it’s that weird jiggly stuff. Hopefully, now you understand there’s nothing at all weird about it, and it won’t hurt you. Who are we fooling, that stuff will always be weird. It’s okay to get freaked out by something that looks as strange as the gelatin in a can of Spam.
3. Hydraulic presses squeeze the meat off of the bone
Doesn’t that sound delicious? The meat is squeezed off of the shoulder bone. Isn’t that how grandma used to make her Sunday pot roast? Things have changed, and you’ve got to come up with some pretty creative ways to give everyone the amount of pork they crave. You might think that every ounce of pork is skillfully cut off the bone by butchers who know a pork shoulder better than their own. That’s not the case, and the pork shoulders are squeezed to the point the meat comes right off of the bone. If you thought your uncle gave strong hugs, then you’ve never come across a machine like this. The shoulder meat literally comes off of the bone, and it’s no match for even the bear-like grip that your uncle has. If you’re wondering, ham is still cut by hand off of the bone. They haven’t come up with a way to squeeze the meat off of a ham bone. The meat is further separated by the fat content and color. White and dark meats are placed in separate containers and they will be added in secret amounts later on. The ratio of fat, along with white and dark meat is crucial to the taste and texture of the final product. Too much fat will create a product that would have a greasy feel to it. If too much dark meat is used, then the texture of Spam could be too tough, and the eating experience might be less enjoyable.
2. Spam comes in many varieties for every taste
Spam isn’t only made with pork as now they also have a turkey variety. You will also notice many different flavors of Spam the next time you visit the supermarket. Spam has realized that the public’s tastes have changed, and they want to produce a product that stays relevant as time goes on. Sure, everyone always sticks to the tried and true flavors of their past. But, let’s be honest, you know you desperately want to try the Spam made with bacon. Don’t you? It’s not only turkey and bacon that have made their way into Spam, there’s many different varieties, in fact it’s actually pretty impressive. Some of the flavors you can get include: Spam Teriyaki, Chorizo, Jalapeño, Garlic, Hot and Spicy, Hickory Smoke and Black Pepper. There’s even a variety called Spam with Cheese, which sounds interesting, as well as “Lite” and “Less Sodium” variations of the original flavor. In late 2019 Spam released a Limited Edition variety that can only be called their most unique flavor yet, Spam Pumpkin Spice. This flavor actually started off as a fake product, posted by Hormel themselves on social media. The post went viral, and people started clamoring for this flavor of Spam. Hormel foods responded by saying, “We think it’s great that you’d like to see this product! Unfortunately this variety is only a joke, so it cannot be found anywhere.” That said, 2 years later, Spam announced they were making a real limited edition run of the Pumpkin Spice flavor for the autumn season. So yes, this is a real product. That said, the Pumpkin Spice flavor was only available on Spam’s website, as well as Walmart’s website. And like many limited Edition items, sold out insanely fast. Reports were that in less than seven hours after release, Spam Pumpkin Spice had completely sold out. Some say it’ll be back next Fall, some say it’s gone forever, only time will tell.
1. Spam only has six ingredients
How many ingredients do you think it takes to make one can of Spam? Did you answer 100? If so, then you’ve been reading the labels of most processed foods out there. Why is it that even the simplest of foods have a million ingredients in them? It’s hard to comprehend why the factories are dumping all that stuff in the food. If you followed recipes that included 50 ingredients to make a simple meal, then you’d go to McDonald’s every day and skip the cooking. Who has time to measure out a hundred ingredients when preparing a plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce? You can rest assured that there isn’t a laundry list of ingredients in your Spam. There are only six ingredients in Spam and they are as follows: pork, water, salt, potato starch, sugar and sodium nitrate. That’s all there is in a can of Spam. How refreshing it is to know that you aren’t stuffing your face full of all kinds of unheard-of ingredients. The only troubling thing is sodium nitrate, which is a common additive in many processed foods. It’s the sodium nitrate that enables Spam to sit on shelves for years upon years without the need for refrigeration. Many people put a can or two of Spam in their pantry in case of emergency, and they need a source of protein that doesn’t require refrigeration. Spam can safely be eaten for quite a few years after the purchase date. If the Spam is kept in a cool, dry place, the meat will last for an almost indefinite time.