Cooking Spam while camping

Spam Recipes For Camping – Campfire Cooking

As camping food goes, I consider Spam a must-have item in my kit. Literally, I keep a can of spam in Leif the Adventure Van at all times, just in case of an impromptu camping trip.

Spam: The Secret Weapon for Campfire Cooking

Spam might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of healthy camping food, but it’s actually a pretty smart choice. When you’re out in the wilderness, burning calories like crazy, you need fuel that’ll keep you going. That’s where Spam comes in. It’s packed with fat, which is the perfect long-lasting energy source for those long hikes and challenging climbs.

Not only that, but Spam is also loaded with salt. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Salt? Isn’t that bad for you?” Well, not when you’re sweating buckets on the trail. Your body loses electrolytes like sodium when you sweat, and Spam can help replenish them. It’s like nature’s sports drink, but way more delicious.

What Is Spam Made Of?

Despite its reputation as mystery meat, Spam is actually made of high quality ingredients.

  • Pork with Ham: This is the primary ingredient, making up the majority of the product.
  • Salt: Used for flavor and preservation.
  • Water: Added during the mixing and canning process.
  • Potato Starch: Acts as a binder, helping to hold the meat together and retain moisture.
  • Sugar: Added for a touch of sweetness and to balance the saltiness.
  • Sodium Nitrite: A common preservative used in cured meats to prevent spoilage and maintain color.

Compared to a lot of processed foods, Spam is actually relatively clean eating. If you eat any fast food, you are eating things a lot worse than you will find in your can of Spam.

Isn’t All That Salt Bad For You?

Unless you have a medical condition that makes your body retain salt, it is very difficult to get too much salt from the food you eat. In fact, when you’re active and sweating, your body loses essential electrolytes like sodium. Spam’s saltiness can help replenish these lost electrolytes, aiding in hydration and preventing muscle cramps.

What About All The Fat In Spam?

To start with, if you are being active, you need calories and fat to maintain your body. That means all the fat in Spam is a good thing. If you are still flinching at it, consider that half a can of Spam, what I consider a serving, has about the same amount of fat as your average cheeseburger.

RestaurantCaloriesFat(g)Sugar (g)
Spam (100g)21016>1
McDonald’s Single Cheeseburger300137
Burger King Single Cheeseburger290137
Wendy’s Dave’s Single Cheeseburger480378
Sonic Cheeseburger7204212
Jack in the Box Single Cheeseburger490214

It is pretty easy to see that Spam is pretty reasonable when it comes to total fat compared to your average cheeseburger.

Where Is The Best Place To Buy Spam?

If you are just grabbing one or two cans for a camping trip, the best place to get Spam is at your local grocery store. However, if you are going to buy a lot of it, as much as I hate to say it, Amazon is your best bet. I’m finding cases of Spam on Amazon for about a dollar a can cheaper than what the store charges.

Easy Campfire Cooking Spam Recipes

Enough talking about how awesome Spam is for cooking while you are camping, on to the recipes. I’ve put together this list of Spam recipes that lend themselves to cooking over a campfire, or camp stove. These are all simple and easy to prepare and I think you will love to eat on your next camping trip!

In any of these recipes, if there are ingredients like onions, peppers or potatoes, you can prep those ahead of time to make cooking at camp easier. Do note that for best results, potatoes should be par-cooked ahead of time. This will give you a much better finished product faster when cooking on your camp stove or campfire.

Pan Fried Spam Bacon

What I have dubbed ‘pan fried Spam bacon’ is a staple breakfast when I am out camping. As I’ve stated, there is always at least one can of Spam in Leif in case of impromptu trips to the middle of nowhere. This recipe is as easy as slicing your Spam as thin as you gan get it, and then frying it up until it is nearly crispy. The art of this recipe is getting all the slices even, and cooking them until they are just at that point where the carryover cooking makes them crispy and not crunchy brittle.

How to make Spam Bacon

  • Start heating up your pan while you slice your Spam as thin as you can get it
  • When your pan is hot, add some bacon crease or other high-temp oil and a layer of Spam
  • Cook until tender-crispy, turning and moving them around the pan often to ensure even cooking
  • Repeat with however many batches of Spam you need, keeping the cooked ones warm.

Spam And Hashbrown Foil Breakfast Packets

Cooking in foil is a great time saver when you are camping. There are no pans to clean or dishes to wash. Simply cook and eat them right out of the foil. This recipe from AlaskaGranny combines pre-shredded hashbrowns, eggs, cheese and Spam to make an easy to make and easy to clean up breakfast.

How to make spam breakfast packets

  • Dice your spam into small cubes
  • Tear off about a 16″ sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Liberally grease the foil with bacon grease or shortening
  • Spread ~1 cup of frozen pre-made hashbrowns across the foil making a well in the center
  • Crack one egg into the well in the hash browns
  • Add ~1/2 cup of your Spam chunks to the top of you hash browns avoiding your egg
  • Top your egg with ~1/4c of shredded cheese of your choice, or one slice of processed ‘cheese’
  • Bring the long sides of your foil together and pinch to seal
  • Roll the ends to seal
  • Place on a grill or over your coals until cooked through, ~15 minutes

Spam Breakfast Sandwiches

This camping Spam breakfast sandwich comes straight from the makers of Spam itself. To save time when you are camping, you can pre-slice and caramelize your onions at home. This recipe is scaled to make four breakfast sandwiches.

How To Perfectly Caramelize Onions

How To Make Spam Breakfast Burritos

  • Thinly slice two white onions
  • Slice 1/4″ slabs of Spam making squares
  • In a small bowl combine the following to make a sauce
    • 4 Tbsp mayo
    • 2 Tsp Sriracha
  • Heat a pan to medium low, add cooking oil, your onions, and a pinch of salt and sugar
  • Cook slowly, stirring often until cooked and golden brown
  • Remove the onions from the pan, increase the heat and add your Spam
  • Fry the Spam until golden brown
  • Remove Spam and cook 4 eggs to desired doneness
  • Toast 4 burger buns
  • Return your Spam to the pan, top with cheese and let it start to melt
  • While the cheese is melting, spread your sauce on your toasted buns
  • Assemble your cheesy spam slices, caramelized onions, and eggs into your buns and enjoy

Spam Breakfast Burritos

Who doesn’t love a good breakfast burrito? In this recipe from Jason Bolt, Spam plays center stage to an otherwise Southwestern breakfast. One tip for this is if you are camping, you can dice or chop your vegetables at home, as well as drain and rinse your beans, so they are all ready to go when the time comes. Since he made his recipe at home, I’ve made some adjustments to his recipe to be more suitable for camping. This recipe makes 5 burritos.

How To Make Spam Breakfast Burritos

  • Dice one onion, one red pepper, one can of Spam, and about 2 cups of potatoes
  • Drain and rinse one can of black beans
  • Heat 1Tbsp of oil in a cast iron pan then sautee your onions and peppers
  • When cooked, remove them from the pan
  • Add more oil and your potatoes, when they are about done add the spam to the pan.
  • Mix up 8-10 eggs with some salt and pepper
  • When your potatoes and Spam are browned, add your eggs to the pan
  • Cook your eggs, stirring until they are done
  • To start assembling your burritos lay them out and spread sour cream on each
  • Evenly portion out your egg, potato, and Spam mix among your burritos
  • Then portion out your onions and peppers
  • Top with about 1/4c of each shredded cheese
  • Roll tightly and enjoy!

Spam Quesadillas

The dictionary defines a quesadilla as ” a tortilla filled with cheese and often a savory mixture (as of meat and vegetables), folded, and usually fried“. That being the case, that makes this Spam quesadilla legit. About as easy as it can get, all you need is a pan, some tortillas, a bag of cheese, and a can of Spam and you have a pretty much all purpose meal. In the video, he makes this recipe with two pans, I’ve modified it to use just one pan.

How To Make Spam Quesadillas

  • Dice or finely chop one can of Spam
  • Heat a pan with a little oil and brown your Spam
  • Remove the Spam the pan and reduce the heat
  • Add one tortilla, top with a handful of shredded cheese
  • Add a reasonable helping of Spam
  • Top with another tortilla and cook
  • When one side is brown, flip and repeat
  • After cooking, cut it up and enjoy

Spam ‘Steaks’ With Mushroom Gravy

Treat this spam like you would a bunch of roasted beef and whip up a batch of fried Spam and some mushroom gravy. People thing gravy is some mystical thing that is hard to create. Amazing gravy is an art, but a good gravy isn’t that hard and if you are cooking it while camping, it gets bonus points. The video uses a can of evaporated milk and a can of mushroom. The canned milk I can be ok with, but the mushrooms to me need to be fresh and sauteed, not canned. If you don’t have canned milk, you can also use half and half. They also add a dash of soy sauce at the end. This is a great time to put one of those soy sauce packets that come with your takeout food to good use!

How To Make Spam With Mushroom Gravy

  • Slice your Spam into 1/4″ thick steaks
  • Slice your mushrooms if needed
  • Heat a firing pan with a generous amount of cooking oil (not olive oil)
  • Fry your Spam in batches until they are brown and crispy on the outside
  • Dump the cooking oil out of your pan and add 3-4 Tbsp of butter
  • Once melted, add in ~1 cup of sliced mushrooms and cook until soft
  • Remove the mushrooms, and add 2 Tbsp of flour and stir
  • Cook for 1-2 minutes but don’t brown your flour
  • Reduce your heat and add one can of evaporated milk or 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • Return your mushrooms to the pan and cook until smooth stirring often
  • Arrange your Spam on a plate and pour your gravy over the top to serve

Spam Kebabs

This is an easy recipe that you is a snap to make. You could prep your Spam at home and coat it with seasoning so it is easier to assemble when it is time to cook.

How To Make Spam Breakfast Burritos

  • Cut up two cans of Spam into large chunks ~12/block
  • Place Spam in a container or bag
  • Add 2-3 tsp paprika or taco seasoning to bag/container
  • Close the container and shake to coat
  • Place your Spam on skewers with a little space between them
  • Cook over a grill/fire
  • While your kebabs are cooking, make your sauce
  • Combine 1/3c honey with 2/3c Heinz57 sauce
  • Brush your sauce onto your kebabs and let the sauce cook in
  • Serve up your kebabs

Spam Sandwich Spread

Most Spam sandwiches are just a couple slabs of Spam between two pieces of bread. This is another recipe that you can make mostly ahead of time.

How To Make Spam Sandwich Spread

  • Using a fork, break up a block of Spam and put it in a bowl
  • Add 1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Mix to combine and spread on sandwich bread

Spam Fried Rice

I would be greatly remiss if I didn’t include a Spam fried rice recipe in this list of camping Spam recipes. While fried rice might seem complicated for a camping recipe, it is actually very easy. The trick to good fried rice is to use enough oil and to keep your pan very hot. This will help to keep your food from sticking.

How To Make Spam Fried Rice

  • Dice one can of Spam into small cubes
  • Preheat a pan to high heat
  • While your pan is heating, beat 2 eggs
  • When your pan is hot, add some cooking oil and the eggs
  • Stir constantly breaking the eggs up, remove from pan when done
  • Add more oil and the Spam
  • Stir constantly until the Spam is browned
  • Add ~3 handfuls of mixed frozen vegetables
  • Crush or mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and add to the pan
  • When the vegetables are approaching being soft add 2 cups pre-cooked rice
  • Stir constantly, breaking up the rice
  • Add in 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • To finish, add in the cooked eggs, and stir to combine

Spam Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Get all your calories and salt back after a long morning hike with these Spam grilled cheese sandwiches. A great easy lunch for when you are camping, these are a snap to make and will be perfect before that afternoon nap in the hammock.

How To Make Spam Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

  • Slice a can of Spam thin and fry them until browned
  • Spread butter on two pieces of bread
  • Place the bread butter side down in your hot pan
  • Add a slice of American cheese, two slices of Spam, and top with one slice of cheese
  • Close the sandwich, brown and turn until nicely toasted and serve
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