Canned meats have been a staple in many households for decades, providing quick and easy meal solutions for busy families. Two of the most popular canned meats are Spam and Vienna sausage.
But are they the same thing?
While they may look similar and both come in cans, there are some key differences between the two. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of these canned meats, their ingredients, and how they’re typically prepared.
We’ll also share some creative ways to elevate these childhood favorites into delicious and satisfying meals.
So, let’s dive in and find out if Spam and Vienna sausage are really the same thing!
Is Spam And Vienna Sausage The Same Thing?
Spam and Vienna sausage may look similar, but they are not the same thing. Spam is made from cooked meat that has been salted and may or may not be smoked. It is typically made from pork, but can also be made from other meats like chicken or turkey. On the other hand, Vienna sausage is made from fermented or salted meat, which is typically pork, beef, or even venison. It can be smoked or unsmoked.
Another key difference between the two is their texture. Spam has a firmer texture and can be sliced and fried, while Vienna sausage has a softer texture and is often eaten straight out of the can.
The Origins Of Spam And Vienna Sausage
Sausage, in general, was developed to prevent food waste. It was a way to use up the scraps of meat that would otherwise go to waste. Every country has their versions of sausage, and it has become a staple food in many cultures. Vienna sausage, in particular, burst onto the scene in America in 1903. These short lengths of forcemeat were smoked and canned in aspic or chicken broth. They had almost nothing in common with European Vienna sausages which were long, thin hotdog-like creatures. American Vienna sausages were made of beef, pork, and chicken, and they became a phenomenon.
Spam, on the other hand, was developed during World War II by Hormel Foods. It was introduced into the islands of the South Pacific and quickly became popular for its high protein content, salty essence, and low cost. Spam is made from cooked meat that has been salted and may or may not be smoked. It is typically made from pork but can also be made from other meats like chicken or turkey.
While both Spam and Vienna sausage have their origins in using up scraps of meat, they are different products with different textures and tastes. Spam has become a staple food in Hawaii, where it is often stockpiled during disasters along with toilet paper. Vienna sausage has spread through conquest, colonialism, and war and is now part of the rich tapestry of preserved meats.
Ingredients: What’s Inside The Can?
The ingredients of Vienna sausage vary depending on the manufacturer and the market. In North America, Vienna sausages are made from finely ground meats such as chicken, beef, turkey, and pork (or mixtures thereof). The meat is then mixed with salt and spices, particularly mustard, to create a paste. The paste is then stuffed into a long casing, occasionally smoked, and always cooked thoroughly. The casings are then cut off like hot dogs, and the sausages are further cooked before being divided into small pieces for canning.
The canned Vienna sausages that are commonly found in supermarkets and convenience stores usually contain mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, and corn syrup. They may also contain 2% or less of beef, pork, dextrose, natural flavors, sodium nitrite, and garlic powder. The broth used in the canning process is typically chicken broth.
It is worth noting that Vienna sausages sold in Europe are often pre-cooked and smoked wieners that resemble hot dogs or frankfurters in taste and texture. They are typically longer and thinner than North American Vienna sausages and have a very light, edible casing. The word “Vienna” in the name of the sausage refers to the city of Vienna in Austria where a Frankfurt butcher who had relocated there is credited with creating it.
Preparation: How To Cook And Serve Spam And Vienna Sausage
If you’re looking to prepare Spam and Vienna sausage, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are some steps to follow:
Nutritional Value: Are They Healthy?
When it comes to nutritional value, both spam and Vienna sausage are high in calories, potassium, protein, and saturated fat. However, they also have some differences in terms of their nutrient content.
For instance, sausage has more pantothenic acid compared to spam. On the other hand, spam is an excellent source of vitamin C. When it comes to omega-3 fatty acids, sausage has more dpa than spam.
It’s worth noting that both spam and Vienna sausage are high in sodium, which can be problematic for individuals with high blood pressure or other health concerns. Additionally, canned Vienna sausages contain a significant amount of fat and cholesterol per serving.
While these foods can provide a quick and easy source of protein, they should not be relied upon as a primary source of nutrition. It’s important to balance your diet with a variety of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
If you do choose to consume spam or Vienna sausage, be mindful of portion sizes and consider pairing them with healthier options like fresh veggies or whole grain bread. As with any food, moderation is key.
Creative Recipes: Elevating Canned Meats Into Delicious Meals
Canned meats like Spam, Treet, Vienna sausages, tuna, salmon, mackerel, and corned beef are often viewed as low-class or “trashy” foods. However, with a little creativity and some elevated ingredients, these canned meats can be transformed into delicious and impressive meals.
One idea is to use canned meat as a protein in a pasta dish. For example, try adding canned tuna or salmon to a creamy alfredo sauce with fettuccine noodles. Or mix canned corned beef with sautéed onions and peppers and toss with penne pasta and a spicy tomato sauce.
Another option is to use canned meat as a topping for pizza. Top a pre-made pizza crust with Vienna sausages or sliced Spam, along with your favorite vegetables and cheese. Bake in the oven until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted.
For a party appetizer, wrap Vienna sausages in bacon and sprinkle with brown sugar before baking until crispy. Or try using canned corned beef as a filling for savory hand pies or empanadas.
Finally, consider using canned meat in a creative twist on a classic dish. For example, swap out the traditional ham for sliced Spam in a Hawaiian-style fried rice or use Vienna sausages instead of hot dogs in a chili cheese dog casserole.
With a little imagination and experimentation, canned meats can be transformed into delicious and impressive meals that will surprise and delight your taste buds.