Can You Eat Spam Raw? (Benefits and How to Eat It Safely)

First sold in 1937, Spam has become one of the most popular canned meats on the market. With its trademark square shape and delicious taste, it’s not hard to see why Spam has been around for several years and shows no signs of slowing down! 

So can you eat Spam raw? The answer depends on what kind of Spam you’re talking about and how old it is. The canned Spam already contains cooked meat so that it can be eaten directly from the can with little preparation. Furthermore, it can also be used in a large variety of recipes. 

Spam Overview

Spam is a canned, precooked meat product from pork shoulder and ham. It comes packed in a can with water or oil and has an orange label with a rooster. Created in 1937 by Hormel Foods Corporation, Spam was first marketed as miracle meat for its affordability and long shelf life. 

The name Spam is derived from spiced ham, which describes its flavor. In 1995, to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary, Hormel published a cookbook featuring more than 200 recipes using Spam.

These recipes ranged from traditional dishes like Spam patties and spaghetti carbonara to nontraditional dishes such as peach cobbler with a Spam crust. 

Some people are hesitant to try Spam because they think it will taste bad or be too salty. However, when appropriately cooked, it tastes similar to any other type of pork and isn’t salty at all. This cookbook might be just what they’re looking for, those who enjoy experimenting with their food. 

Is it Safe to Eat Raw Spam?

Because it has been cured with salt, not all types of raw Spam need to be cooked before eating. Raw pork, chicken, beef, and fish are often considered a no-no in food safety. However, it’s generally safe to eat raw Spam — provided you follow some basic guidelines. 

To ensure the meat is fully cooked, always use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit (63 degrees Celsius).

To avoid the risk of bacterial infection from potential contamination, only consume raw Spam if your local water supply meets specific standards for drinking water quality. 

Avoid any raw Spam, undercooked or unpasteurized, as this could contain bacteria like Salmonella or E. coliCooked Spam can still harbor these pathogens, so make sure to use a reliable source of heat while cooking and never leave food out at room temperature. 

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Remember, even pasteurized eggs should be cooked thoroughly because they may have been contaminated by contact with an infected hen or exposure to dust while laid.

Do You Have To Cook Spam?

Yes, it would be best if you cooked Spam for it to be edible. Only certain types of Spam can be eaten raw; cooking will kill any bacteria present in uncooked Spam. If ham is left out at room temperature, it can grow botulism. Botulism is the deadliest form of food poisoning and causes severe symptoms like double vision and trouble breathing. 

If ham is not cooked before eating, the bacterial spores will also cause this type of reaction in your body. If you are going to eat Spam raw, it needs to be one of the few types considered safe to eat without cooking first. 

But even then, if you have some stomach troubles or diarrhea (incredibly bloody), do not eat raw Spam because there is a chance that your symptoms are caused by something else. 

A doctor should determine whether you should stop eating raw Spam. And if someone in your household has been diagnosed with botulism, do not let them touch or prepare any other foods until they’re treated.

How Can I Make My Spam Look Fresh?

The most popular way to prepare Spam is to fry it in a pan. However, frying your Spam doesn’t make it taste any better, and you should be aware that fried foods aren’t necessarily good for you. Frying can leave your food with added calories and fat. 

A great alternative to frying is baking, which has many advantages over frying. Baking may burn off fewer calories than you’d think since we tend to eat smaller portions of baked goods than we do fried foods. If you don’t want to bake, cooking your Spam in a slow cooker could be an option. 

Slow cookers are often a healthier alternative to frying because they produce fewer fumes, and the slow process will help keep more nutrients intact than deep-frying. Slow cookers are also helpful in simmering soups or braising meats like beef or pork tenderloin. 

What Other Ways Are There To Eat Spam?

People have found some creative ways to eat Spam. A sushi dish uses thinly sliced and fried Spam as an alternative to fish. It’s also used in recipes for Jamaican patty and is a common ingredient in many of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still just as grossly cooked, though.

  • Some people swear by freezing Spam first, so the meat becomes tender. 
  • Drying out the meat can help remove excess saltiness or even change the taste altogether. 
  • One person made sushi with microwaved Spam and got good reviews from friends who said it tasted like hot dogs. 
  • The best way to enjoy Spam without cooking is on its own: Slice off the ends and cut them into thin slices. 
  • To give it the flavor, add ketchup, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, or mashed potatoes. 
  • Those brave enough to try eating Spam raw are cautioned not to keep it at room temperature for too long because of the risk of contamination. If you’re going this route, refrigerate your slices before eating them. 
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Ways To Make Raw Spam Taste Better

There are many ways to make spam taste better, which might surprise you. Sure, it may not be your first choice for food on a camping trip or when you’re sick, but there are plenty of other options for those who want to enjoy their Spam and keep it safe from bacteria. 

Make Spam Dip

Here are the steps to make it.

  • Put a cup of water on low heat in your crock pot (slow cooker).
  • Add two cans of Spam and one cup of diced celery. Let the mixture simmer until the celery is soft. 
  • Drain any excess liquid and put the contents of the crockpot into a blender with 2 cups sour cream, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon white sugar, salt to taste, and pepper. 
  • Blend until smooth and creamy, then pour into a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until hot. 

Serve with crackers as an appetizer or as part of an entree dish such as fried rice with Spam added. 

Be Creative with Your Own Recipes!

One way to get creative with your own recipes is by substituting some of the meat in dishes that you usually use. 

In Mexican dishes like burritos, tacos, and enchiladas, use canned ham or canned bacon instead of a beef chuck or ground beef. For Italian recipes like lasagna, use ground pork rather than ground beef. Replace ham in soups by using chorizo sausage links.

Soups And Stews

It is possible to make a tasty seafood soup with Spam as one of your main ingredients. To make seafood spammers, add a can of minced clams (or 1 3/4 cups chopped fresh clams) and a cup of diced celery and onion. Cover all that goodness with water and simmer for about thirty minutes until vegetables are tender.

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Are There Any Health Benefits To Eating Raw Spam?

YES. There are many health benefits of eating raw Spam. Some may be quick to dismiss Spam as a food option, believing it to be unhealthy or unnatural. Yet there are some health benefits to eating raw Spam. 

Not Necessarily to Cook it

When preparing a feast for the family, it can be challenging to keep everyone on the same dietary regimen. First and foremost, you don’t have to cook it.

Cooking often depletes meat of its protein content, which is why many people turn to a raw diet in an effort to get more protein from their meals. 

Same Meal

With Spam, everyone can enjoy the same meal that fits their dietary restrictions. Several different diets will allow for consuming processed meats like Spam, such as veganism and pescetarianism

Extra Calcium

Raw Spam can also provide extra calcium if your regular diet doesn’t contain enough dairy products or other sources of calcium. In addition, those who want to add muscle mass may want to eat more protein than they currently consume, leading them to seek new ways of obtaining higher quantities of protein in their diets. 

Other benefits include being a good source of vitamin B12 and potassium. If you still aren’t convinced about the nutritional value of Spam, try this simple recipe: 

  • Take one cup of watermelon.
  • Cut it into small pieces.
  • Chop up one package of raw Spam.
  • Mix together until combined. 

Serve with sliced green onions and top with chili powder for added flavor.

FAQ

How Many Calories Are In A Slice Of Raw Spam, On Average?

For a serving of Spam weighing two ounces (56 grams), there are 174 Calories. That’s less than a slice of pizza but more than a quarter-pounder with cheese from McDonald’s. 

A serving of raw Spam can pack as many as 150 calories, depending on how much salt was added during processing. It also contains up to 45 percent of your daily recommended value for sodium and has as much fat as two strips of bacon.