Have you ever noticed that Spam meat and scrapple are remarkably similar? Both have a loaf-like, meaty texture, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that they are in fact the same thing.
So, when it comes to Spam vs scrapple, what is the difference? The main differences between Spam and scrapple are in the meats used, cooking method, and flavoring ingredients. Spam is a canned, cooked meat that is very salty. Scrapple is traditionally made from a mix of pork trimmings and offal that has been set in loaf form and has a richer, meatier flavor.
Whether you’re a lover or hater of Spam and scrapple, there is more to these meaty products than meets the eye! Let’s find out everything you need to know about Spam and scrapple, including a full comparison between the two.
What Is Scrapple?
Scrapple is a savory meat product made from scraps of leftover pork. It was traditionally made by the Pennsylvanian Dutch, who called it “Pannhaas.”
The aim of making scrapple was to avoid food waste, so pork trimmings were used to make this dish.
If you come across a recipe for scrapple it will normally suggest using pork butt, but true scrapple is made with a wide range of pork cuts, such as rib ends and trimmings from pork joints.
Scrapple may also include pieces of offal, such as the liver and heart, as well as any other pork pieces collected after the pig was butchered.
If you buy ready-made scrapple from the store, it could contain any number of different parts of the pig. Purists say that scrapple should always contain liver, as this gives it an intensely rich flavor.
How Is Scrapple Made?
Traditionally, when a pig was butchered, all the left-over bones and meat were cooked in a pan for many hours to create a rich broth. The meat would then be picked off the bones, and the liquid used as stock.
The meat stock should be made from leftover bones to give the liquid a high collagen content. Next, the meat mixture is well-seasoned with spices and should have a slurry-like texture.
The traditional method of cooking scrabble involves cooking this gruel slowly for many hours, allowing the flavors to infuse and blend together. It is then poured into greased loaf tins and left to cool.
When completely chilled, the scrapple mix will set into a firm loaf. This is thanks to the collagen in the stock, as well as the cornmeal and flour.
This recipe not only makes great use of leftover pieces of meat, but also has a long storage life. A loaf of scrapple will stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator, and any leftovers can be frozen.
How Is Scrapple Eaten?
Traditionally, scrapple was eaten as a breakfast food, in the same way as many of us enjoy sausages or bacon for the first meal of the day.
The loaf of scrapple is cut into slices around half an inch thick and pan-fried to form a sizzling, brown crust. Some people prefer to coat it in flour first, and it can be either shallow fried or deep fried.
The aim is to create a crisp exterior, with soft, juicy meat in the middle.
While scrapple can be eaten alone, it is normally served with sweet or savory condiments. These are intended to complement the often tangy flavors of liver and other offal used in scrapple.
Favorite condiments include maple syrup, honey, mustard, apple butter, or ketchup.
The flavor of scrapple will vary widely according to the cuts of meat used. Scrapple should traditionally include some pig liver, giving it a flavor similar to French country pâté.
Offal-free scrapple will taste more like a rich pork breakfast sausage.
What Is Spam?
Spam is one of those brand names that has come to be known in households around the world, and has now become part of popular language.
Spam is a type of luncheon meat, and the name is now so widely known that we tend to call most luncheon meats by this brand name!
Spam was first developed by Hormel Food Corporation in 1937. It is a canned, cooked pork product that is shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature.
Spam gained huge popularity during World War II, as it could be shipped and stored easily without the need for a refrigerator.
The name Spam also has some negative connotations, and is the word we use to describe unsolicited marketing emails!
People often think of Spam as budget food, but it actually has some positive aspects. Being able to store and transport meat at room temperature is a great way to ensure that people in all areas have access to the nutrition they need.
With its handy ring-pull tin, all you need to eat Spam is some cutlery! This makes Spam and other luncheon meats an important food product in poverty-stricken areas or food deserts.
In terms of nutrition, Spam is not as bad as many of us assume. It contains just six ingredients — pork, salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrite.
The pork in Spam is a mix of cooked pork and ham meat. It is fairly safe to assume that these are offcuts from the meat processing industry, which some people feel a bit squeamish about.
However, only meat that is fit for human consumption can go into canned meat products, and you’re very likely to come across the same types of meat in your breakfast sausages!
Another ingredient on the “naughty” list is sodium nitrite. This is a preservative used to keep the meat mix shelf stable.
While sodium nitrite is incredibly useful in making foods such as Spam, bacon, and sausages, it is also the reason we are all being advised to cut down on our processed food intake.
But overall, Spam is a great way to get the nutritional benefits of meat on a low budget.
How Is Spam Made?
Once the cans have been vacuum sealed, they are cooked and then cooled. And that’s it — a very simple process! If you’ve ever made your own canned meat at home, you’ve most likely followed a very similar process.
So, love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Spam has a place in popular culture, and thoroughly deserves to be a household name.
How Is Spam Eaten?
The tricky part when it comes to eating Spam is getting the loaf of meat out of the can intact! The perfect loaf of Spam should slide easily out of the tin onto a plate, but it sometimes requires some gentle coaxing with a knife.
As Spam is pre-cooked, you can eat it just as it is without any additional preparation.
Many people enjoy the flavor of cold Spam, and it can be served sliced or gently mashed. It can be cubed to add to salads or other cold dishes, or used as a sandwich filling.
However, as Spam has been a household favorite for so many years, there are a myriad of fun ways that it is consumed all around the world!
In the United Kingdom, you will find deep-fried battered Spam fritters, Spam potato hash, and even a Spam-ish omelet!
Spam is even hugely popular in Asian and Pacific Island countries, which may seem slightly incongruous since we normally associate these cultures with finely-crafted cuisines.
It just goes to show that an easily-transportable meat product really can travel a long way!
Spam is hugely popular in Hawaii, where you will even find it on the menu of certain global fast-food restaurant chains. Spam musubi is a now-traditional Hawaiian dish that consists of Spam and rice wrapped in seaweed!
In the United States, you will find Spam used as the meat component for many regular family meals. Spam can be added to noodles, pasta, rice, eggs, and a myriad of other ingredients — you should definitely try a Spam slider!
Are Spam And Scrapple The Same?
Although there are many similarities between Spam and scrapple, some key differences do exist.
The main ingredient in both Spam and scrapple is pork meat, but Spam has ham meat as well, while scrapple is more likely to include offal such as the liver and heart of the pig.
Scrapple is also bulked out with buckwheat flour and cornstarch, while Spam contains potato starch. Both are used to add volume to the product, but you will find them in larger quantities in scrapple.
The other main difference between Spam and scrapple is the seasonings used. Spam is very salty, but contains very little else in terms of flavorings. Scrapple includes onions, garlic, and a mix of dried spices.
While scrapple and Spam are both meatloaf-style food items, they are cooked in very different ways. Scrapple is slowly cooked for many hours and then sets in a loaf tin as it cools, whereas Spam is canned first and then cooked inside the can.
This means that Spam is shelf-stable, and can be stored on the pantry shelves for many months. Scrapple needs to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and will deteriorate much faster as it does not contain any preservatives.
Nutritionally, scrapple is probably higher quality than Spam — it does not contain any preservatives, and is not as highly processed as Spam. Spam also contains high levels of salt and sugar.
Spam Vs Scrapple – Taste Comparison
The main difference in flavor between Spam and scrapple lies in the type of meat used and the seasonings used to imbue extra flavor.
Spam is based on a mix of pork and ham meat, and has a flavor similar to a pork breakfast sausage.
Scrapple contains offal, which gives it a much richer, more intense flavor — more like a rustic French pâté. It is also highly seasoned with warm spices, such as ground pepper and allspice and contains both onion and garlic.
The only seasoning in Spam is salt, so the flavor is meatier than scrapple. And talking of salt, Spam is incredibly salty!
It also contains sugar, and the combination of these two ingredients along with the fat content of the meat is what makes Spam so delicious.
Scrapple is seasoned with enough salt to bring out the great flavors, without becoming overly salty.
So, which one is better? We’ll leave that one up to you to decide — we’re sitting firmly on the fence on this one!