There are, believe it or not, 16 kinds of Spam – 15 produced official varieties**, including Hot and Spicy, Cheese and Teriyaki – and one that’s far from official. We’re talking homemade Spam. Yep, that’s a thing.
When the first can of Spam rolled off the production line in 1937, we bet the makers of this long-lasting preserved pork product had no idea what a world-conquerer it would be. The official Spam website proclaims that 12.8 cans of Spam are eaten every second. It’s sold in 44 countries around the world. It even has its own museum.
Now let’s be honest, Spam is not the lightest serve of meat on the planet. And when you take one of Hawaii’s favourite snacks, Spam musubi – grilled Spam stacked on a block of rice and wrapped in nori – and deep-fry it, creating a breadcrumbed, mayo-topped block of crunchy indulgence, the calorie count goes through the roof. Close to what some folk would eat in a single day, in fact.
So when Food Network’s Nikki Dinki decided to make a lighter version of a 1400-calorie deep-fried Spam musubi, one of her tweaks was a made-from-scratch version of Spam, with a mix of pork and chicken meat, and no preservatives. Dinki bakes her spiced meat mix, then grills the pieces, brushing with a hoisin, soy sauce and ginger glaze to add extra flavor.
How did it stack up against the real thing? Her Junk Food Flip co-star Bobby Deen summed it up:
Dinki isn’t the only one to go the DIY Spam route.
Blogger Kimchimom’s panfried slices look deliciously crisp:
And this restaurant version gets a lot of Instagram love from diners:
Nikki Dinki invents her lighten-ed up version of deep-fried Spam musubi when she and Deen take on this tasty but calorie-heavy treat in the second season of Junk Food Flip (catch it on Food Network, 8pm Monday 21 May). Her musubi – pan-fried, rather than deep-fried – has two other “lighter version” elements that we’d be happy to steal to use in other dishes: a cauliflower and pineapple rice and a sweet and spicy pineapple mayo. (Get Nikki’s homemade Spam and musubi recipes here.)
Dinki and Deen also combine their junk food makeover talents to create another musubi, the Wham Bam thank you Spam musubi (get the recipe here), which weighs in at 410 calories, and about 75 per cent less fat, as they take on a popular 1400-calorie deep-fried original in a final taste test.
Want to see if Nikki’s homemade spam wins out over the real thing in Deen’s version? And can the pair beat the original? Watch Junk Food Flip on Food Network, 8pm Monday 21 May then on SBS On Demand.
** One of those 15 official varieties is made with turkey. Turkey Spam. Good news for those who can’t eat pork products, but is it really Spam? Hormel, the makers of Spam have this to say: “Some folks wonder why we didn’t call it SPURKEY.” Yes, Hormel, we were. “But if we had, it wouldn’t be a proper member of the SPAM family of products.” Dang. There goes our plans for a recipe for Spurkey jerky.