Is Bacon Grill the Same as Spam? A Definitive Answer

A lot of different kinds of cured pork are available, such as pancetta, lomo, sausage, and dry-cured ham. But two of the most beloved — and divisive — members of the category are Spam and bacon. And even though both were made to make pork last longer, they couldn’t be more different.

Bacon has a long, illustrious history, with some tracing its origins back to 1500 B. C. when people in China began salting and curing pork belly to preserve meat. Soon, the process was adopted by Greeks and Romans. These days, youll find bacon the world over. Spam, meanwhile, is a canned lunch meat that was invented by Hormel Foods in Austin, Minnesota, in 1937. The product became very popular during hard times because it was cheap and could be kept for a long time. It was a cheap source of protein during both the Great Depression and World War II. These days you can get it in 15 different kinds, some with maple flavor, teriyaki sauce, or spicy jalapeño peppers.

Bacon and Spam are both tasty, salty, and made from pork, but they are also very different from one another. Heres everything you need to understand about the differences between these two products.

Bacon grill and spam are both canned meat products that have been dietary staples for generations, but there’s an ongoing debate about whether they’re actually the same thing. While they share some similarities, there are also distinct differences between these two canned meat classics in terms of their ingredients textures, flavors and ideal culinary uses.

A Brief History of Canned Meats

To understand the relationship between bacon grill and spam, it helps to know the history behind canned meats. Canning was developed in the early 1800s as a food preservation method that allowed meat, fish, fruits and vegetables to be stored for long periods without refrigeration. This enabled wider distribution of foods and stabilized supply.

Canned corned beef was one of the first major canned meats, gaining popularity during World War I as a compact protein source for soldiers. Spam, a canned pork product, was introduced in 1937 and became a dietary mainstay during WWII due to its affordability, convenience and shelf stability. Regional canned meats like bacon grill emerged as well.

The post-war economic boom made fresh meats more accessible for many, but canned meats remained popular especially among those looking for an inexpensive source of protein. They still occupy grocery store shelves today as budget-friendly pantry items.

What is Bacon Grill?

Bacon grill is a type of canned, precooked bacon sold in the UK and Ireland. The name refers to it being pre-grilled or fried before canning. Brands like Olde English Bacon Grill consist of chopped and formed bacon in a gelatin casing. When cooked, the gelatin melts into the meat, resulting in a tender, bacon-flavored gel.

Bacon grill is sold in flat cans and often sliced before eating. It has a soft but meaty texture when cooked, with smoky, salty bacon flavor. The gelatin gives it a unique mouthfeel. Bacon grill has been produced since at least the 1960s and remains popular today as an ingredient in sandwiches, wraps and breakfasts.

What is Spam?

Spam is a brand name for a widely available canned precooked pork product first produced in 1937 by Hormel Foods Corporation in the United States. It consists primarily of chopped pork and ham with Potato starch flour, water, salt, and sodium nitrite as a preservative.

Unlike bacon grill, Spam does not contain gelatin. It has a firm, meaty texture when cooked. The pork flavor is milder with less smokiness compared to bacon grill.

Spam is formed into a rectangular block shape within its can. It is commonly sliced and pan-fried before eating, though it can also be grilled, baked or used in recipes. Over 8 billion cans have been sold since its debut. It remains popular around the world today as an affordable source of protein.

How Do They Compare?

So what’s the verdict – is bacon grill the same as spam or not? Here’s a comparison of their key characteristics:

Meat content

  • Bacon grill: Made from chopped and formed bacon
  • Spam: Made from chopped pork and ham

Key ingredients

  • Bacon grill: Bacon, gelatin
  • Spam: Pork, ham, potato starch, salt, sodium nitrite


  • Bacon grill: Tender and soft from the gelatin
  • Spam: Firm, sliceable


  • Bacon grill: Smoky bacon flavor
  • Spam: Milder pork and ham flavor


  • Bacon grill: Flat can
  • Spam: Rectangular block

Ideal uses

  • Bacon grill: Breakfast sandwiches, wraps
  • Spam: Fried rice, sandwiches, snacks

So while both are canned precooked meat products, bacon grill and spam have distinct differences when it comes to ingredients, texture, flavor profile and best uses. They are similar in concept but different in execution.

Why the Confusion?

If bacon grill and spam are clearly different products, why is there an ongoing debate about whether they’re the same thing? There are a few factors that contribute to the confusion:

  • Organoleptics: They share general qualities like saltiness, savoriness and chewiness.

  • Accessibility: Both appeal as budget-friendly canned protein options.

  • Regionalism: Bacon grill is more common in the UK and Ireland while spam is widely available elsewhere. People may be unfamiliar with one product.

  • Terminology: The broad name “bacon grill” doesn’t convey that it’s a distinct canned meat, leading to assumptions it could be the same as other grilled bacon-like products.

  • Marketing: Some brands market their canned pork products as having a “bacon taste” which may blur lines for consumers.

  • Nostalgia: People often ate them together growing up so there’s nostalgic association.

With the above factors, it’s understandable how the “is it the same?” question persists! But a direct comparison of ingredients, textures and flavors makes it clear bacon grill and spam are different.

Buying and Preparing Bacon Grill and Spam

Both bacon grill and spam can be found in the tinned meat aisle at many grocery retailers. Popular brands of bacon grill include Olde English and Birchwood. Hormel is the biggest producer of spam. Prices range from $1-3 per can or tin.

Bacon grill is typically eaten as-is straight from the can, but can also be sliced and fried or grilled for a crispy texture. It adds great bacon flavor to sandwiches, breakfasts, wraps, and more. Spam is best pan fried until browned, then enjoyed in fried rice, sandwiches, omelets or as a snack.

Neither requires refrigeration before opening, and leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to a week. Make sure to thoroughly cook both products before eating.

Creative Ways to Enjoy Bacon Grill and Spam

Looking for tasty ways to enjoy these classic canned meats? Here are some recipe ideas:

Bacon Grill

  • BLT sandwich with mayo on toasted bread
  • Bacon grill and egg breakfast tacos
  • Loaded bacon grill potato skins
  • Macaroni and cheese with crispy bacon grill bits
  • Bacon grill Caesar salad wrap


  • Spam musubi: pan fried spam over rice wrapped with seaweed
  • Spam fried rice with egg, peas and carrots
  • Grilled cheese with sliced spam
  • Spam kimbap: pan fried spam in seaweed rice rolls
  • Spam frittata with veggies and cheese

The Verdict: Similar but Distinct

Bacon grill and spam share similarities as canned, precooked meat products with nostalgic appeal and budget-friendly pricing. However, they contain different types of meat, ingredients, textures and flavors. Bacon grill is smoky and tender while spam is firmer with a milder pork taste.

So while these two canned meats may seem interchangeable at first glance, a direct comparison makes it clear that bacon grill and spam are indeed different products. Though both have their merits, bacon grill and spam each have unique characteristics that distinguish them in the canned meat world. The debate lives on for bacon grill and spam enthusiasts, but the evidence leaves little room for confusion!

is bacon grill the same as spam

Spam is more shelf-stable than bacon

Curing bacon and other pork products began as a method of extending the shelf life of perishable pork. Curing bacon takes advantage of the preservation properties of salt and nitrates to keep it fresher longer. Smoking it over wood increases its shelf life it even further. For comparison, cured bacon that hasn’t been opened can stay in the fridge for up to two weeks. On the other hand, pork belly that hasn’t been cured should be cooked and eaten within two days.

But while bacon was designed to last, that ability is nothing when compared with shelf-stable Spam. Spam tins usually have a “best-by” date of about three years based on when they were made, but they don’t have an “expiration” date. This means that as long as they’re stored properly, they can be eaten without any problems. (Safely doesnt mean deliciously, however, as one former resident of Sarajevo found. People there got Spam as part of the humanitarian aid, and they were eating it even though it was more than 20 years past its best-by date. ).

Bacon contains more fat than Spam

Speaking of which, both Spam and bacon taste great, but let’s be clear: neither is the healthiest choice. The original Spam has 180 calories and only a few micronutrients, such as zinc, potassium, iron, and copper, per 2-ounce serving. It also boasts 16 grams of fat.

Bacon, on the other hand, has about 263 calories in a 2-ounce portion with an estimated 19. 6 grams of fat. Even though potassium, selenium, phosphorous, and essential B vitamins are all found in bacon, you won’t hear many cardiologists calling it a health food.

Still, people on the keto diet like both bacon and Spam because they are low in carbs and high in fat. It’s important to look for high-quality bacon that doesn’t have any added carbs like sugars if you want to enjoy this high-fat snack while controlling your blood sugar. And if you want something lower in fat that still tastes like bacon, turkey bacon is an option. Some brands have half as much fat as pork bacon.

Bacon Grill Is It Better Than Spam? – Outside Cooking

What is a Bacon Grill?

Bacon grill is a canned meat product available in the U.K. that contains mostly mechanically recovered pork, as well as a small amount of chicken. It is available in cans of either 170 grams or 300 grams. It can be thought of as similar to Spam in many ways, being a canned food made from a mixture of meats.

Who invented bacon & spam?

Soon, the process was adopted by Greeks and Romans. These days, you’ll find bacon the world over. Spam, meanwhile, is a canned lunch meat that was invented by Hormel Foods in Austin, Minnesota, in 1937.

Which Bacon is best for grilling?

For grilling, thick-cut bacon is the best choice. Thick-cut bacon is more substantial and holds up better to the direct heat of the grill, reducing the risk of it falling through the grates. This type of bacon gets crispy without becoming overly dry or burning easily. Thick-cut bacon also soaks up that smoky grill taste really well.

Can you cook bacon on a grill?

Bacon has fat that can drip and cause flare-ups. Keep an eye on the grill and adjust the heat or move the bacon if there are too many flames. Remember, grilling bacon can be a bit more hands-on than cooking it in a pan due to the potential for flare-ups. Always keep a watchful eye on it.

What is a Bacon Grill made of?

Bacon grill is predominantly made from mechanically recovered pork meat. A can of bacon grill is 43 percent mechanically recovered meat and 16 percent actual chicken. The rest of the food is made up of water, pepper, smoke flavoring, pork fat, salt, milk protein and wheat starch.

Is grilled bacon healthy?

Healthier Option: Cooking bacon directly on the grates allows excess fat to drip away, resulting in a leaner, slightly healthier version of your favorite breakfast meat. Versatility: Grilled bacon can be a star on its own or added to other grilled dishes like burgers, salads, or even grilled pizzas.

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