Spam is not a brand known for taking itself all that seriously. It’s part of our national culinary identity, and this canned mystery meat (which, by the way, only contains six ingredients) is as much a pop cultural staple as a pantry one. As such, we embrace Spam’s biggest swings. Back in 2019, the brand released a cheeky Pumpkin Spice flavor to much fanfare, and this year consumers shall be treated to a limited-time-only Figgy Pudding Spam. The Takeout was lucky enough to score a couple cans, and we put them to the ultimate test.
While figgy pudding isn’t a popular dish in the United States, it’s certainly part of our pop culture during this time of year. (See the second-verse lyrics to “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”) Figgy pudding is essentially a spiced cake with fruit in it; at one point the pudding did indeed include figs, but the name has become a broader umbrella term for such cakes, and its ingredients will vary. Fruitcake is the closest thing to compare it to, but the pudding is not crammed with fruit and nuts in quite the same way.
To create Figgy Pudding Spam, it’s all about getting the spices right: The canned meat product contains cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice, along with orange and fig flavor. In this case, no actual chunks of fruit are involved.
Technically, Spam is ready to eat right out of the can, as it’s a fully cooked meat product. I’ve been known to munch on a slice that way while preparing the rest of it for egg dishes or fried rice—so I tried a small bit of the new Figgy Pudding Spam in the same manner, and was immediately taken aback.
The flavor was a wave of sweetness with a violently strong spice profile, along with Spam’s classic notes of soft, processed hamminess. There’s a lot of pronounced nutmeg, clove, and allspice, enough to clobber you over the head.
Emily Heil at the Washington Post had a viscerally negative reaction to Figgy Pudding Spam. “You could just pitch the tin directly into the trash, which is where it belongs, I ultimately determined after powering through a few bites,” Heil said.
I can see why a lot of people wouldn’t like it, though I probably wouldn’t go so far as to say it belongs in a dumpster. There are plenty of sweet pork products out there—Filipino longganisa comes to mind—though none of them feature quite so many Christmasy spices crammed in for novelty reasons. This product definitely isn’t for everyone, which Spam probably knows better than anyone.
Very few people are going to be eating this stuff straight out of the can, so I pan-seared a few slices and ate them alongside eggs. Something I learned in the cooking process is that unlike regular Spam, which takes a while to brown properly, Figgy Pudding Spam scorches very fast. It went straight from brown to blackened before I had a chance to babysit it; I think it’s due to the sugars involved, so just keep that in mind if you’re tucking in.
With the eggs there to temper the flavors of the meat, this Spam tastes perfectly okay. In that context it’s more like breakfast sausage and maple syrup mingling on your plate—inoffensive, and maybe even a little fun.
The best use for this Spam is to slice it into cubes, pan-sear it a little, and toss it into pancake batter for a stack of flapjacks. That way, doused with some Mrs. Butterworth’s, your holiday-spiced pancakes studded with salty ham taste intentional and cohesive. By itself, the Figgy Pudding Spam isn’t exactly a great bite, but as a supporting ingredient, it mashes a bunch of flavors together for you without having to whip out a crapload of pantry spices.
If you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, you can get Figgy Pudding Spam from the Spam website, Amazon, or Walmart. If you fool around with it enough and aim for something creative, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.