Swap Pulled Pork For Canned Spam For Easy, Umami-Packed Sliders

Pulled pork sliders are delicious. However, they can take quite a bit of effort to make, and require some advanced planning — you'll need at least several hours (if not a full day) if you plan to use a slow cooker or oven, and around an hour even with an Instant Pot. And that's just to make the pulled pork, never mind the sliders or any of its toppings. For a much easier, and just as tasty alternative, try swapping out pulled pork for canned SPAM instead.

First developed in 1937 by Hormel, SPAM became popular after World War II and has since sold over 8 billion cans in 44 countries around the world. Despite its popularity, it still has a reputation for being a weird mystery meat in a can, even though SPAM is actually made from just six ingredients: pork with ham, salt, water, potato starch, sugar, and sodium nitrate. While SPAM may not be the healthiest option out there, its fatty and salty goodness delivers an umami punch that works well in a number of dishes, including sliders. SPAM sliders have found their way onto restaurant menus across the country, though they are also super easy to make at home, requiring just a few minutes of cook time and slightly more prep time.

SPAM slider variations

At Seattle's Hawaiian-Korean Marination, SPAM sliders with a slaw on Hawaiian sweet rolls became one of their best sellers within just a year, owner Kamala Saxton noted to Esquire. At B&J Bar & Grill in Austin, Minnesota (which is also known affectionately as SPAMTOWN USA), SPAM sliders are served with pineapple. Both toppings work well, and provide a sweet and tangy contrast to the salty and umami flavors of the SPAM. The SPAM website offers a slider recipe that includes caramelized onions, while the King's Hawaiian website offers its own slider version with caramelized pineapples and a fried egg. Many recipes call for Hawaiian sweet rolls, which fit a slice of SPAM cut in half just about perfectly, and provide an ideal sweet balance. Cheese is optional, as are toppings like pickles, lettuce, scallions, or other greens.

There are also more flavors of SPAM than you might expect, with more than a dozen currently available, which is another way you can customize your sliders. Try the SPAM Lite or SPAM with 25% Less Sodium for a healthier option. Or try the Hot & Spicy or Jalapeño flavors for a SPAM slider with a bit of kick.