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For many experienced campers, Spam recipes have been a staple in their outdoor cooking for years. However, there are many people, especially younger generations that haven’t even tried it—and many more who aren’t exactly sure what it is.
For those who are unaware, Spam is a canned meat product, historically used in the diets of U.S. Army soldiers. Just 6 ingredients are on the nutrition facts listed on the cans from Hormel, the producer of Spam. They are;
- Pork (with ham meat added)
- Potato starch (as a binder)
- Sodium nitrite (as a preservative)
Since Spam’s invention in 1937, it has persisted in American kitchens, campgrounds, and now 44 other countries, all because of its convenience and nutritional value. Each can weighs just 12 ounces and takes up very little room in a backpack or RV kitchen. It can be carried anywhere, and comes fully cooked—which allows campers maximum flexibility for meal options without needing a fire. According to Hormel, there are 12.8 cans of Spam consumed somewhere in the world every single second.
7 Essential Spam Recipes for the Campground, And Beyond
Spam is still one of the most versatile sources of protein for campers. These days, Spam comes in 15 different varieties from spicy hot to low sodium, so finding one to suit your specific taste is easy. Next time you go camping you can add some of these great Spam recipes to your camping cuisine.
1. Spam Quesadillas
Anything you can put on a tortilla to mix up your diet in the outdoors is generally a good thing. You can create burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas and many other tortilla-based dishes simply by using Spam as a meat substitute. This Spam recipe, coming from YouTube user ianmeek, shows you how to make an easy and tasty Spam quesadilla, perfect for your next campfire.
How to make Spam Quesadillas
- Dice Spam and cook on a hot skillet
- In a separate skillet, add one tortilla and spread cheese on top
- Add the cooked Spam to the tortilla and cheese, sprinkling more cheese on after
- Add a second tortilla on top
- Flip the quesadilla once the bottom is crispy, and serve
2. Spam Foil Packet Breakfasts
Many campers go for the foil packet method to make a variety of foods quickly and with very little clean-up. As foil packet meals are so versatile, you can add vegetables, potatoes or additional items of your choice, and they can be cooked in many ways, including on a grill or in the coals of a warm campfire.
Most campers are already familiar with the convenience and ease of using the foil packet to make an entire meal, as you can cook them on a grill, or in the coals of a campfire. Adding SPAM as your choice of protein for your packet gives additional flavors to work with.
Campers value their breakfasts above other meals, so why not spice it up with Spam? The following recipe from YouTube user AlaskaGranny shows how to use a foil packet to create a great breakfast with Spam.
How to make a Spam Foil Packet Breakfast
- Begin with a single sheet of aluminum foil, greased
- Add frozen hash-brown potatoes, enough for one serving, and form a well in the center
- Crack one egg into the center well
- Add Spam (cubed, diced, crumbled) on the potatoes, avoiding the egg
- Layer cheese over the egg
- Bring together the top and bottom sides of the foil, pinching together to form a seal
- Fold the left and right sides in, and place on a grill or campfire until cooked evenly (about 15 minutes)
3. Spam Fried Rice
Rice is a also a staple for many campers. It is light, easy to carry and quick to cook. For those who frequent the outdoors and are always looking for unusual rice dishes, Spam recipes can add different flavors to readymade rice packets.
You can add a variety of asian flavors to your meals by using Spam as your protein, and also get maximum nutritional value. Hikers who expend a lot of calories on the trail love the ease of Spam for adding a lot of protein into rice dishes.
This recipe from The AV Club offers a quick version of simple Spam fried rice. Note: this meal is best prepared in a large, wide-edged skillet, or preferably a wok.
How to make Spam Fried Rice
- Start by dicing 1/2 of a container of Spam, and add to a hot skillet
- Finely chop 3 scallions and set aide
- Fry the Spam until crispy
- Add to the skillet 3 cups of cooked rice
- Beat 2 eggs and mix in the skillet with rice and Spam
- Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of sesame oil to the rice
- Mix in your scallions, and serve
4. Spam Hawaiian Sliders
Spam can be fried or grilled much like a hamburger in patties, or grated into a creation reminiscent of chicken salad. Spam on a bun was how I first got acquainted with the meat, on a camping trip.
My mom used to grate a can of Spam, mix with an equal amount of grated cheese and a couple tablespoons of minced onions, then pile the mixture between a bun. Wrapped in foil and tossed in the campfire coals for a few seconds, it produces a hot, cheesy ham sandwich that kids and adults both love. It also used up left-over hot dog buns! The Spam recipes that use a bun are endless.
The following is a Hawaiian-inspired slider recipe from King’s Hawaiian that is a little different to help mix up those hum-drum camping meals.
How to Make Spam Hawaiian Sliders
- Add Spam patties and slices of pineapple to a hot skillet, cook evenly on both sides and set aside
- In the same skillet, fry 2 eggs and set aside when cooked
- place the cooked spam back on the skillet and melt a slice of cheese on to each patty
- Prepare your buns by spreading mayo on either side of a King’s Hawaiian roll
- Stack Spam slice, pineapple ring and a fried egg on each bun,
- Top with the second half of the bun and serve
5. Spam Ramen
Ramen and pasta are staples with so many campers that we couldn’t miss including a Spam recipe with these ingredients. Just as there are a multitude of ramen or pasta flavors, Spam can be added to almost any of them for additional protein and flavor. One long-time camp favorite is Spam Mac and Cheese, as it is comfort food at its finest. Ramen and pasta are interchangeable in many of these same dishes.
Since so many campers carry some version of ramen, we’ve included a recipe from YouTube user Nature Calls Backpacking that shows how to add Spam to this already versatile dish to make a high-calorie hiker’s meal.
How to Make Spam Ramen
- To start, boil some water and add ramen
- After adding ramen, dice or cube Spam and add to the water with the ramen flavor packet
- Stir to combine, remove from heat source and add powdered mashed potato mix
- Stir together and allow the mixture to rest, then serve
6. Spam Meatloaf
Casseroles and other baked dishes are perfect for Spam recipes. Those outdoor lovers that have a camper or RV love the ability to bake a dish that is a meal by itself or that can feed multiple people. Just like many of our Spam recipes, this one has a multitude of options. Spam can be used for a breakfast quiche, dinner casserole or even a meatloaf.
The recipe below, created by YouTube user Jane’s Kitchen, will give you a great tutorial on creating a Spam and chicken meatloaf that can feed a whole family.
How to Make Spam Meatloaf
- Chop and store 1 cup carrots, 1 potato, 1/2 bell pepper, and 1/2 yellow onion.
- Gather 4 tablespoons of flour, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of sugar and combine all dry ingredients in a plastic bag (these steps make it easier to bring your ingredients to the campsite)
- Mix together all vegetables, dry ingredients, 2 pounds of ground chicken, 1 container of Spam (chopped), 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of soy sauce in a bowl
- In a greased loaf pan, add 2/3 of the mixture, cover the pan with foil and steam in a steamer for 40 minutes
- Let the loaf rest for 2 hours in the fridge
- In a pan of hot oil, fry the loaf either whole or in chunks until crispy, then serve
7. Spam French Fries
The whole idea of Spam recipes as a camping staple is ease and convenience. As my grandmother always said, simple food is good food. Spam fits right in with that philosophy. Simply slicing and frying or even eating it straight from the can is always an easy meal.
No matter what the trail has to offer, you can always create something quick and easy with some Spam in your camping arsenal. The following recipe, from the YouTube channel of AllRecipes shows how to make Spam fries, one of the quick, but delicious, recipes for a hot meal anywhere.
How to Make Spam French Fries
- Slice Spam into rectangles and remove excess moisture with a paper towel
- In a pan with hot oil, drop in the Spam slices, making sure they’re covered entirely by the oil
- Fry in oil until the Spam slices are crispy, let rest and serve
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