6 Types of Spam You Never Knew About

6 Types of Spam You Never Knew About

It's time to celebrate all the delicious Spam flavors currently in production.

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Photo: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYCWFF (Getty Images)

As I peruse the Spam website for the very first time, I’m cracking up reading the copy. “Six Simple Ingredients.” It seems that Spam has become aware of the fact that a lot of folks still think of it as mystery meat, and the company has pivoted to branding its product as simple and honestly made. Ah, yes, mom-and-pop canned ham made right at home, in that room you’re never supposed to go in, where the caterwauling comes from. About the term “mystery meat”: It’s a worn-out phrase. Be more creative. I like to use “conjured ham” orprotein fusion” when describing Spam. Call it science or call it necromancy, but one thing it is not is a mystery.

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on Spam, and I’m pleased to see that it has adapted to the times; the company knows exactly how to sell the stuff today. It has stayed relevant in the modern era by being forthright about the process by which it’s made, embracing Spam’s cultural influence, and really tapping into the weird, wild, exciting qualities of canned Spam. And of course, Spam is summoning influencers to work their dark magic for the canned meat amalgamation.

Here’s the thing, though: The content is truly great, and to me it looks like it comes from a place of pure love. Spam is continually posting pictures to Instagram of musubi, dutch baby pancakes, kabobs, pineapple pizza, charcuterie, fried cheese balls, ramen, and tacos—all made with Spam. The company understands that it has a worldwide adoration, and it taps into that easily.

What you might not know is that Spam sells a number of different flavors. Recently, the bizarre and seasonal Figgy Pudding flavor made a splash, but what I’m really hoping is that Spam experiements even more ambitious flavor profiles. As the Instagram account suggests, there are an innumerable amount of uses for Spam, and a unique flavor to match with each one. Let’s dive into a few of the more robust iterations of the beloved product that you can buy today.

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Tocino Spam

Tocino Spam

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Image: SPAM

I’ve got a big dented can of Tocino Spam at home ready to deploy the next time I crave fried rice or a Spamburger. “Tocino” means “bacon” in Spanish, but the influence here is also Filipino.

Tosilog is a Filipino meal prepared by frying eggs with sweet cured pork and garlic fried rice. It’s fucking delicious, and many people make it with Spam and call it Spam-si-log. Tocino Spam has five more grams of sugar per serving than regular Spam, so it’s got the delicious sweetness you’d expect from a good tosilog. There’s also something completely American about sweet breakfast ham, no? All Spam is great to fry and serve with eggs, but there’s something about sweet pork that feels just a little more breakfasty.

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Teriyaki Spam

Teriyaki Spam

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Image: SPAM

Made with more than the “Six Simple Ingredients!”, Teriyaki Spam is loaded with additional savory flavor. That’s because it contains soy sauce powder, which is a powerful flavoring agent that amps up the umami of any food. Also listed on the back is the dreaded mechanically separated chicken, soybean oil, and potassium chloride. It still tastes like Spam, but has more of a sweet-and-savory quality to it. It’s the perfect Spam for making a gut-buster musubi with nori and furikake.

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Jalapeño Spam

Jalapeño Spam

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Image: SPAM

The Jalapeño Spam is made specifically for Mexican fare like tacos and breakfast burritos, but the website also lists baked beans in the recipe suggestions. Spicy Spam and sweet baked beans is just a no-brainer. Also, Jalapeño Spam isn’t as spicy as you think, meaning you can add it to a wide range of dishes. I like to add it to a breakfast hash in place of Serrano peppers.

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Hot & Spicy Spam

Hot & Spicy Spam

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Image: SPAM

Hot & Spicy Spam achieves its heat with red chile peppers. As a result, it looks reddish like a chorizo or a capicola—speaking of which, can we get Gabagool Spam? Please? (I’ll shut up forever if we get can of Spam that says “Gabagool” on it, I promise.)

This Spam is great for fried rice—really, all Spam is great for fried rice, but I can’t think of many breakfast dishes Hot & Spicy Spam won’t improve. Sounds crazy, but I’ve substituted Spam for lardon as the base for pasta dishes before. Are you telling me you wouldn’t eat a bastardized carbonara with Hot & Spicy Spam? I’d eat that before I’d eat a carbonara made with cream and peas—only a godless demon creature would make carbonara that way.

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Oven Roasted Turkey Spam

Oven Roasted Turkey Spam

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I’m not a fan of Oven Roasted Turkey Spam, but it does contain far less fat and saturated fat than the regular stuff. Does it taste like turkey? I don’t know, does Spam actually taste like pork? I don’t think so, but if you’re really concerned about the fat content of Spam but still want Spam (who are you?), this isn’t a bad option.

It needs some help, but slicing it, frying it, and putting it on toast with mayonnaise, tomato, and lettuce forms a wonderful and weird BLT/turkey sandwich hybrid that’s actually quite good.

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Spam Lite

Spam Lite

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Image: SPAM

Bud Light. Coors Light. And now, Spam Lite. Honestly, I’m disappointed the brand didn’t go full cheeky and call this stuff Diet Spam. This can-o’-ham has 50% less fat, 25% less sodium, and 33% fewer calories. I refuse to believe that this is a selling point for anybody already choosing to purchase and consume Spam. If you’re trying to make careful decisions about your nutrition and health, a can of pale, homogenous pork meat probably isn’t the product to ally with. Spam Lite is for the conflicted.

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