Spam's New Flavors: Taste Test


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Minnesota's most famous meat was introduced in 1937, and since that time more than 7 billion cans of Spam have been produced around the world! To celebrate its 75th birthday this month, the iconic blue tins of spiced pork and ham have been introduced in two limited edition flavors, Jalapeno and Black Pepper.

I've sampled a bunch of the Spam flavors: Spam Classic, the somewhat ironic Spam Lite, the somewhat redundant Spam with Bacon, and the surprisingly fiery Hot and Spicy Spam, as well as the best one, the sweet/savory Spam Golden Honey Grail, and the worst one, the stinky-feet-tasting Garlic Spam. So when Spam sent me complementary cans of Jalapeno and Black Pepper, I was eager to fry up a few slices and see how they stacked up.

The PR folk tell me that both flavors are brand new, though I could have sworn I'd seen Black Pepper on the merch table at Spam's Minnesota State Fair booth—a flavor only distributed in Asia or something, or maybe I'm mixing it up with the dreaded Garlic Spam?—and a quick Google search brought up references to it online dating back to 2007. Regardless, both products seem like legit additions to the Spam product line, possessing robust flavors true to their names: the Black Pepper packs plenty of pep and the jalapeno, which isn't actually very spicy, tastes strongly of the pepper's vegetal notes.

So should you rush out and buy these new Spam varieties? If you're turned off by Spam's spongy texture, porky flavor, and wanton disregard for appropriate human salt consumption, Jalapeno and Black Pepper won't change your mind. But if you're already a Spam fan, they're worth checking out.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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