I’m not sure how it started–maybe on a Christmas eve when my mom didn’t have time to shop for stocking stuffers and just grabbed things at random from the kitchen–but now it’s a tradition that the Turner Christmas stocking includes: duct tape, packets of brown gravy, a can of Easy Cheese, and a can of Spam. It’s essentially everything you would need to survive if the world ended, as duct tape fixes everything, and these food items never seem to expire. The gravy packets always ended up back in the kitchen, along with the Easy Cheese, but we never touched the Spam.
Spam has always been a joke food in my family. There’s something about canned meat that seems unholy and weird–last ditch food in a post-nuclear wasteland. I’ve always loved Spam as a novelty, the branding that never changed, the creepiness of canned mystery meat, the unapologetic honesty of its advertising: cheap meat, meat like flavor.
Also, we’re all Monty Python fans, so there’s that.
So when Joel opened his stocking this year and held out the ubiquitous meat like product, I figured we’d just pop it on the window sill and use it for decoration, as I have before. But then we had a better idea: why don’t we try cooking with it?
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d tried Spam, and neither could Joel. I was pretty sure it’d taste like all mystery meat — vaguely like chicken-beef and with the texture of ham. Like a canned hot dog. Or it would just poison us, as I imagine all canned meat will do. Meat just isn’t supposed to sit on the counter. But, I remembered my Quest To Try All The Trashy Foods, and I agreed to try it. For science.
We scanned through recipes, and most of them sounded pretty good. Except for the Spam Musubi–even if our friend Barry is a fan. One recipe even claimed that Spam, once diced and fried, tastes a lot like bacon. And that Spam and Pineapple pizza is a delicacy in Hawaii. It came down to a recipe for Spam Fried Rice, and Spam Pineapple Pizza, but the pizza won over because we had a frozen pizza crust that needed to be eaten. /priorities
So we set out to make Fried Spam and Pineapple Pizza. what happens next will startle you.
The result: surprisingly delicious. I’m especially floored, considering this is a food whose two main ingredients are canned meat and pineapple i.e. the top two on my List of Shit I Won’t Eat, and all I’ve been able to think about this morning is putting the remaining slice in the oven and mowing it down. Even with the pineapple. The Spam was soft, but it had a buttery, bacon-y taste that defied all my expectations. And the pineapple and BBQ sauce set it off perfectly. Our crust was a little soft, but it didn’t matter. I could also see this as a wrap or a pita style sandwich.
I am a Spam convert. I feel so dirty.
My trash palate has won again. +10 would eat again.
Fried Spam and Pineapple Pizza
1/2 can tomato paste
1 pizza crust
1 brown onion, diced
1 can Spam, diced
1 can diced pineapple (more or less, your discretion)
1/3 cup green pepper
2 large hand fulls of spinach leaves
2 cups mozzarella cheese (we used a mozz/cheddar blend)BBQ sauce
Tony Chachere’s Cajun seasoning (optional, but we use this on everything)
1. Pre-heat oven to 220*C/350*F
2. Spread a smidger of olive oil and as much tomato sauce as you need on the pizza crust
3. Dice onion and Spam
4. Brown onion over medium heat with olive oil, add Spam. Fry Spam with onion until the edges brown.
5. Add Spam and onions to pizza crust
6. Add Pineapple
7. Add BBQ sauce and a slight scattering of cheese
8. Add green pepper
9. Add seasoning
10. Add spinach
11. Add BBQ sauce
12. Add more seasoning
13. Add cheese
14. Bake in oven until cheese bubbles