Despite what the supermarket aisle may lead you to believe, there's more to an animal than neatly wrapped styrofoam trays of meat. From tongue to tail, offal (pronounced awful) encompasses all those taboo edibles that don't make the cut at your local grocer. Just Offal is here to explore these oft-neglected byproducts of butchering, featuring different offal meals from establishments across the Valley.
The Ick Factor: SPAM. The potted meat product that has graced many an unwilling plate as the mystery meat o' the day. Hormel claims it's just pork, but as you've seen in this blog, "just pork" can mean anything from buche (tasty intestines!) to pig knuckles (hairs and all!).
SPAM-- yes, the trademark is in all caps-- is a purported acronym, although we're not quite sure what it stands for. There's the boring SP-iced h-AM theory, and then there are the more creative options. Scientifically Processed Animal Matter? Solidified Plastic Ankle Meat? Sorta Putrid, Always Mealy? Take your pick. Or better yet, submit your own SPAM acronym in the comments section!
One thing's certain, island destinations love this shelf-stable, gelatinous blob of purported meat product. All thorough Southeast Asia, Japan and Hawaii, spam is one helluva salt pork superstar. Stateside, it's just another ghetto fab meat selection that's kind of shameful to purchase, like vienna sausages and scrapple.
(bite into all the juicy details after the jump)
The Offal Choice: A trio of SPAM sliders grilled up by Maui Dog. Don't be afraid to get them Maui Style with spicy garlic mayo, Maui mustard, coconut and pineapple. Only something as strange as SPAM could support such an odd combination of unexpected and delicious ingredients.
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The taste of SPAM isn't too foreign, and should have the familiar cheap lunch meat flavor most folks know well. (Boarshead is money, after all.) The marketing geniuses over at Hormel realize that as a general rule, it's a good idea to make sure that lips and assholes don't end up tasting like lips and assholes. Even in blob-like mystery meat form.
SPAM takes on this challenge by salting the ever living bejeezus out of this square meat blob, and your face might pucker a bit if you like munching your SPAM solo (you freak, you). Little known fact, the evil inherent in mystery meat whithers like a slug when exposed to industrial levels of sodium and potassium sorbate (for that fresh from the can taste, even after nuclear winter).
You Know It's Cooked Improperly When: It's SPAM. What can you possibly do to it that will make it any less appetizing than a box-shaped blob of meat with giggly aspic juices?
Always been a DIY-er? Get hog wild with your SPAM! It comes in a variety of interesting flavors, like Hot & Spicy or Hickory Smoke flavor. Raid your couch for change and go pick up a can of this mystery meat. Then try your hand at making a variety of SPAM sliders, like the BSLT (bacon, spam, lettuce and tomato). It's best to leave the odd (but delicious!) fruity sliders to the pros over at Maui Dog.
Know of some offal that we just have to try? Let us know in the comment section.