I’ve written quite a bit lately about the impending meat shortages caused by the coronavirus outbreaks that have reportedly shut down up to 30 percent of the meat processing capacity across the U.S. So what will we do when we run out of fresh or frozen meat? We’ll eat Spam! Here are 10 Spam recipes for preppers.
Spam Cooking Tips
A single can of Spam contains 12 ounces of Spam, and the back of the can will tell you that this is six servings and provides 180 calories (almost all of which are from fat). In my experience, a can really serves three or four people, so peel the top off your can, stick a fork into it at a shallow angle, and gently pull the block of Spam out of its can. Then cut it in half. If you want four meals, cut each half into four thin pieces. If you want three or six meals, then cut each half into three pieces. Set aside what you are going to use or cook and refrigerate the rest. (Once opened, Spam should always be refrigerated.)
If you need to feed more than six people on a single can, cut the span into small cubes, say a quarter to half an inch each, and mix the cubes with other ingredients, like eggs, potatoes, rice, etc. We’ll cover this in more depth below, but the point is that small pieces allow everyone to be served some Spam.
All Spam is cooked and can be eaten without heating it up, but the best way to eat Spam is to cook it until it’s a little crispy on the outside. It’s easy to fry on a frying pan or in your mess kit pan, but you can also bake it. If you are carefully, you can skewer it on a sharp stick and heat it over a fire.
Spam Recipes for Breakfast
Spam is a great replacement for bacon, sausage or other breakfast meats. If an active day is planned and you want some calories at breakfast, any of these recipes will help you last until lunchtime.
Any breakfast dish that you might normally eat with ham or Canadian Bacon can be made with Spam. Here are our favorite Spam breakfast recipes:
1. Spam, Egg & Cheese Sandwich
This recipe can be made on a biscuit, an English muffin, toast, or homemade bread, whatever is on hand. Cook the Spam first, then fry an egg on the grease left behind in the pan. Pop the egg yolk if you don’t want to make a drippy mess. Stack the spam egg, and a piece of cheese, if available, between the toasted bread product of your choice, and bam! A Spam, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.
2. Fried Spam and Eggs
If you lack bread due to food shortages, you can fry up a couple pieces of Spam and plop a fried egg or two on top. Yes, scrambled works, too, but I think they are better with the egg fried in the Spam grease left in your pan. If you’re trying to remain ketogenic and/or gluten free during the crisis, this breakfast will get you there.
3. Spam and Veggie Omelet
This shouldn’t take much explaining: Simply cube up the Spam, fry it enough to turn a bit crispy and set aside. Make your omelet and add some of the Spam Cubes and whatever vegetables are available from onions and mushrooms to leafy greens. Add cheese to hold it together and fold into your omelet. If you have plenty of eggs because the hens have been laying well, you can make yours with three eggs.
4. Spam Hash
A great recipe to stretch a single can of Spam across multiple servings. Cube up some Spam and add it to a mix of diced potatoes and onions. The potatoes and onions may be fresh from the garden, or from a number 10 can, in which case, be sure to rehydrate them before cooking. Use many times more potatoes than spam. Fry the whole mess together in a large frying pan with the oil your choice and then set aside and keep warm, if possible, while you cook up some eggs. Serve an over-medium egg or two on top of the hash.
If eggs are not available and supplies are tight, you can serve Spam hash as a stand-alone breakfast dish or as a side dish or for dinner. The fat, calories and taste of the Spam will enhance the plain potatoes and make a more appetizing and satisfying meal any time of the day
Spam Recipes for Lunch and Dinner
Dinner also presents a wide range of options as Spam goes well with many starches, including pasta and rice. I’ve even seen it used on salad and as the meat in sushi rolls, but don’t worry, we’re not going there.
5. Grilled Spam and Cheese Sandwich
If you are lucky enough to have Spam, cheese and some bread, you can make a fine grilled Spam and cheese sandwich. If you wrap this in foil and take it with you after cooking, you can build a quick fire and re-heat it in the foil for lunch – just remember to save the foil so you can use it again. Slice thin like lunch meat from the deli if you need to stretch one can across many sandwiches.
If you have bread but no cheese, you can still make yourself a Spamburger or a Spamwich. You may want to cut the Spam a bit thicker, either into quarters or sixths for this one. Fry up the Spam, toast the bread, and then add whatever traditional hamburger toppings you have, from lettuce and tomato to pickles and onions. Let your tastes guide you.
7. Macaroni & Cheese with Spam
This is popular with kids of all ages! Just cube some Spam and add it to your standard macaroni and cheese recipe. If you’re making the old fashioned Kraft cardboard box mac & cheese, then add it right after you add the cheese powder. You can heat the Spam, but if you don’t, just make sure it’s in the pot long enough to warm up before you serve it.
Spam can be added to quite a few other pasta dishes, as long as you don’t mind breaking with tradition.
8. Add Spam to Fried Rice
We don’t really think of Spam as an ingredient in Chinese Food, but they aren’t the only culture with fried rice type dishes. The great thing about fried rice is that preppers generally store quite a bit of rice and you can throw in any leftover or recently harvested or gathered vegetables. Fry up some little cubes of Spam and then fill up the pan with previously cooked rice. (You can use a large frying pan or even a Dutch oven.) Then add in your diced vegetables, such as peas, onions, green beans or even cabbage and other greens. Many fried rice recipes call for adding a beaten egg into the mix. This helps it all hold together, but do cook it long enough to ensure no raw egg is left.
9. Replace Meat in a Mexican Dish with Spam
Now you may be thinking that refried rice, beans, and Spam doesn’t sound like a winner, but you can put Spam in a quesadilla, use it as a taco filling, add it to a burrito with rice and beans, etc. If your option is vegetarian or Spam, and you are a card carrying carnivore, than a Spam burrito may be the way to go.
10. Use Spam as a Pizza Topping
Let’s face it, most of our long term storage plans don’t include a lot of pepperoni, and sausage-flavored TVP is better in an egg scramble than on a pizza. So slice your Spam 1/8th of an inch thick and cut each slice into three or four pieces and you’ve got a great pizza topping. Use your standard bread dough recipe for pizza dough.
Simple Meals with Storage Ingredients
There you go: 10 Spam Recipes for Preppers, which should get your creativity stirring so you can come up with another dozen.
We kept these meals simple enough that each one can be made in a single pan and most can be cooked over an open fire using common ingredients that should be part of your long-term storage plan, like rice and dehydrated potatoes. Yes, it helps if eggs are available, but many preppers should have them because backyard chicken coops are so common. It also helps if you have grain or grain flour and make bread or tortillas, but that’s why we store wheat and a grain mill.
Who knows, maybe the food supply chain will hold up, and there will be plenty of meat, eggs, cheese and bread at the store. If so, there’s no need to wait for the next disaster to try some of these Spam recipes out. These meals are a great way to eat up your Spam so you can rotate those old cans out and buy some new ones.
For the record, let me note that Spam is a trademark of Hormel Foods, LLC, and we received NO compensation from Hormel or any other party in return for this post, not even a free can of Spam. The Spam in the cover photo was purchased at Costco and has been in Pete’s survival stash for several years. The photo of the egg is from Dreamstime.