This Is How Spam Is Really Made

Let's face it — Spam is weird stuff. It might look like a block of mystery meat
and taste suspiciously delicious, but it turns out there's a lot that goes into each and
every can of Spam. Here's how Spam is really made. Spam is a weird thing, a tin of long-lasting,
weirdly-textured, inexplicably good… meat product. Things like Spam don't just happen. Someone had to intentionally do this. The question is: why? And how? Spam has its origins in the late 20's, when
Jay Hormel took over his father's meat company. Hormel was always looking for the next big
thing, so when he saw a deli selling canned meat carved into slices, he latched onto the

The meat was originally formed into six-pound
molds, and customers who wanted some had it sliced at the deli. Hormel figured he could cut out the middleman
and sell miniature canned meats directly to people who could then slice it themselves. The idea for Spam was born, though it would
take a few years to be perfected, finally debuting in 1937. Hormel decided early on that Spam would primarily
consist of pork shoulder, a part of the pig that at the time was rarely used as it was
difficult to process. Spam starts looking less like pigs and more
like Spam when the meat is sliced from the bone — a process done by hand — and ground
into 8,000-pound batches. These days, given the worldwide popularity
of Spam, the company needs a lot of piggy shoulders to meet demand, which is why their
partners at Quality Pork Processors, Inc. slaughter over 20,000 pigs every single day. Most domestic Spam is processed in Nebraska,
but Hormel also has overseas plants in South Korea, the Philippines, and Denmark.

Spam has an image of being mostly a weird
sort of mystery meat, but there's only six ingredients: pork (with ham), salt, water,
potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite. That's it! Still, you might be wondering why some of
those ingredients are in your meat to begin with. The sodium nitrate is there to prevent the
growth of bacteria that can cause food poisoning if it's ingested, since no one wants their
Spam with a side of botulism. It's also what gives Spam that distinctive
pink color, thanks to a chemical reaction that happens between the nitrites and the
protein in the meat. And the potato starch helps to hold everything
together while preventing the meat from drying out too much in the can. It's actually a recent addition to the recipe,
as it was only added in 2009.

After the meat is hand carved from the bone,
it's ground up in 8,000 pound batches. A metal detector is used to make sure nothing
has gotten into the batch in any part of the process, and then it's transferred to a series
of vacuum mixers that are capable of super-chilling the batch to freezing. The rest of the ingredients are dumped in,
the mixer is sealed to be airtight, and it's mixed. Why the cold and the vacuum? It's to help prevent a huge amount of liquid
from being released when the meat is cooked.

Once the Spam is all perfectly mixed, it's
funneled into the cans, which are vacuum sealed, giving Spam its infamously long shelf life. How long? Hormel says if you store it properly, a can
of Spam could last indefinitely. Usually, though, it starts to go off about
five years after its "best by" date, so if you've got some old Spam in your doomsday
bunker, you should probably eat it now.

"I have the best stocked survival shelter
in northeastern Pennsylvania, but everything has a shelf life, so I must eat and then replace
everything that's about to expire." Once the Spam is canned, then it's time to
cook it. Yes, it sounds backwards, but Spam is actually
cooked inside the can! The cans are sent to a massive hydrostatic
cooker, where the cans are cooked, sterilized, washed, and finally cooled. How big is the machine? It can actually process up to 33,000 cans
every hour! And they need to make that many cans, because
despite being a punchline to some, Hormel estimates they sell three cans every second,
with over 8 billion cans sold since Spam was first introduced.

That's way more than just a mere ton of Spam
— literally, as it just takes 2,666 cans of Spam to equal one ton. There's no signs that interest in Spam is
going away anytime soon, either, as it shows up in an estimated one in three American households. But that doesn't hold a candle to some of
the biggest Spam consumers in the world. Spam is especially popular in Hawai'i and
Guam, where the canned meat became a beloved dietary staple when Allied troops introduced
it to locals during World War II. Hawai'i and Guam both vie for the crown of
the most Spam-happy place on Earth, but at last calculation, the crown was officially
held by Guam, where the average citizen consumes 16 cans of Spam per year. You can even get it at McDonald's. Everyone's familiar with those distinctive
blue and yellow cans, right? Absolutely, and that's what makes it so surprising
that there's an extra step that goes into the making of Spam in South Korea: it's often
packaged up as part of a gift set. The New York Times looked at South Korea's
favorite gifts for the Lunar New Year.

It was a list that included things like rare
tea, imported wines, fine cuts of beef… and Spam. American soldiers also brought Spam with them
to South Korea during the Korean War in the 1950's, which is why Spam is today considered
a luxurious delicacy. In fact, it's often given as a sign of respect
to important people during the Christmas season. As one saleswoman told The New York Times, "Here, Spam is a classy gift you can give
to people you care about during the holiday." Amen. "Oh yeah." "Oof." "That's the sound of quality!" Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
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This Is How Spam Is Really Made

What is in Spam? It is one of life’s greatest mysteries — a true puzzlement that has plagued any person with a pantry since it was introduced in 1937. This canned block of luncheon meat rose to prominence during the Great Depression and has been a cupboard staple ever since. A meat of questionable origin that takes on the shape of its container should not have been a hit, and yet here we are. There are even some hipster recipes that are devoted to turning Spam into haute cuisine. But, what is in it? In this video, we’ll reveal how Spam is really made.

#Spam #Food #Cooking

Why is Spam... Spam? | 0:00
They have the meats | 0:52
They also have the non-meats | 1:25
Those cans, though | 2:25
Think you like Spam? Guam has you beat! | 3:08
Spam gift boxes | 3:56

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