Why Spam And Melted Cheese Will Forever Be A Dynamic Duo

Spam and cheese could serve as two cornerstones of a grocery budget because they're cheap and relatively easy to find. That being said, these two ingredients are still a dynamic duo whose flavor combination can be appreciated by anyone in need of some indulgent comfort food. From hot sandwiches to cheesy pasta to pizza (surely somewhere in the world they're doing this), Spam and cheese work well in so many ways. But what is it about Spam and melty cheese that makes them a match made in food heaven?

Just like when you think of the pantheon of great meat-and-cheese hot sandwiches, such as Philly cheesesteaks, cheeseburgers, and croque monsieurs, Spam and cheese complement each other perfectly. For one, melty cheese has a saucing effect that can keep cooked meat moist. Spam loses a lot of its oil when grilled, which can dry it out. So combining it with melted cheese is an easy and delicious way to counteract that. What qualities help Spam and cheese work so well together? Both have salt and fat, but putting them together bolsters each other's flavors. Spam contains both salt and the preservative sodium nitrite, which lends that savory punch to plain cheese. The high fat content in cheese lends more complexity and unctuousness to Spam.

The best ways to pair Spam and melted cheese

There are some easy recipes that really showcase the combination of Spam and cheese, none more accessible than the classic macaroni and cheese. Whether you're making it from a package or whipping it up from scratch, a fresh pot of mac and cheese would benefit from some protein. Crispy bacon, grilled ham steak, and sliced-up hot dogs are worthy choices, but Spam edges each one out in its own way. It's less fussy to cook than bacon, it's more tender than ham or steak, and is less overpowering than franks. Spam also gives the mac and cheese a boost of umami that you don't get from melted cheese alone. Just make sure to brown the diced Spam sufficiently and drain it of its excess oil before chucking it in.

Another easy-to-cook showcase of Spam and melted cheese is the humble grilled cheese. For this dish, the Spam can be cooked in a way that allows it to bring more than one texture to the sandwich. Slice the Spam into semi-thick pieces — maybe 50% thicker than you would for Spam musubi — and then brown the slices on both sides. When you cut them thicker, they retain their springiness in the center much better, which gives the grilled cheese a more satisfying chew. As for what cheese to use, that's really up to you, but uber-melty American cheese should definitely be in there somewhere.