Spam is salty yet convenient meat that came in handy during World War 2. Seventy-six years later and spam is still taking the world by storm.
However, spam can be a little confusing. It’s not like deli meat, which leads most people to wonder is spam already cooked.
But before we get into the specifics of spam, let’s discuss what spam is.
What is Spam?
Most people think spam is mystery meat. However, spam is made of pork shoulder and ham.
Ham is fabricated from the animal’s back legs and bottom. In contrast, pork shoulder is fabricated from the upper region of the animal’s shoulder.
A hefty portion of salt is added to the mixture to help preserve the pork as well as add flavor. Spam may also include other flavorings such as sugar and a bit of water.
Sodium nitrate is added to help preserve the spam’s pinkish color and inhibit bacteria development.
Clostridium botulism is the most common bacteria in canned foods, and it leads to botulism.
Spam also includes processed potato starch, which acts as a binder.
The potato starch works with natural gelatin produced during the canning process to prevent the spam from falling apart.
As I mentioned above, spam was one of the most popular types of food during World War 2 and the lend-lease act. It was almost as popular as bacon or ribeye steak in those days.
At that time, many countries were devastated by war, and the threat of food shortages caused people to gravitate toward the salty delight known as spam.
However, spam is seen as a poor man’s food in the US.
What Does SPAM Stand For?
Part of the mystery of spam is that no one really knows what the term SPAM stands for. In short, the acronym spam stands for Special Processed American Meat.
Is Spam Healthier Than Bacon?
Both bacon and spam are pork products. However, people prefer the flavor of bacon over spam.
Nevertheless, both bacon and spam are seen as unhealthy products, especially if consumed in excess.
Bacon contains a little less fat and sodium than spam. In addition to this, bacon is also less processed than spam.
Is Spam Already Cooked?
Spam is already cooked. In fact, it is cooked before it is canned. Furthermore, it undergoes pasteurization during the canning process, so it is fully cooked and safe to eat straight out of the can.
Depending on how you like your spam, you can eat it as it is or cook it and fry it in a skillet until it’s crispy.
However, once the can of spam canhas been opened, expect a slightly unpleasant odor. In fact, most people describe it as intolerable.
Furthermore, spam may have a slimy, mushy texture. If the smell and texture do not matter, feel free to eat the spam as soon as you crack the can open.
Which Is Better: Uncooked Spam Or Cooked Spam?
Spam has a salty, mildly spicy ham-like flavor. Whether cooked or uncooked spam is better depends on the individual.
For example, people who grew up eating spam straight out of the can may prefer uncooked spam.
However, a person who did not eat spam at all or those who ate cooked spam may find its raw counterpart unpalatable.
In general, cooked spam has much more flavor than uncooked spam. Uncooked spam is greasier than its cooked counterpart.
In addition to this, cooked spam has a better, firmer texture than uncooked spam. If you fry it, it will have a crisp yet firm texture.
Cooking it will also enhance the flavor of the spam.
In contrast, uncooked spam has an undesirable odor and an off texture. Nevertheless, whether cooked or uncooked spam is better depends on your preference.
How To Cook Spam
Even though you do not have to cook spam, it makes the spam taste so much better. Furthermore, a hot meal will keep you fuller longer than a cold one.
The easiest way to cook spam is by nuking it in the microwave or frying it in a skillet.
To heat your spam up in the microwave, slice it into 1/2-inch to 1-inch slices.
Depending on how many slices of spam you are heating up, place 4-5 slices of spam onto a microwave-safe dish and place it into the microwave.
Heat the spam for 30 seconds. You can remove the spam from the microwave and serve it. However, you can turn it over and microwave it for another 30 seconds.
Do not microwave the spam for more than 1 minute. Remember, the microwave is notorious for sucking the moisture out of foods.
If you cook the spam for longer than a minute, it will dry out and become hard.
Remove the spam from the oven carefully. The plate of spam will be hot, so it may be best to use a towel or oven mittens when transferring the spam from the microwave to the countertop or table.
You could get burned if you eat the spam right away. So, let the spam cool for 1 minute before eating it.
To fry your spam, place a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Let the skillet get really hot to get a rich sear on the spam.
Next, slice the spam into 1/2-1-inch slices. Do not cut the slices of spam too thin or too thick.
If the slices are too thin, they could easily burn. In contrast, if the slices of spam are too thick, the outside of the spam may be hot while its interior is still cold and mushy.
If your slices of spam are too thick, it may be best to cook them on medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes per side.
Even 76 years later, spam is still a popular treat. Best of all, since it’s already cooked, you don’t have to cook it.
However, unless you are accustomed to eating spam right out of the can, you might want to cook it before you eat it.