Spam Breakfast Pie Gets No Respect

Spam & Fig Jam Breakfast Pie

We knew it was a hard-sell entering the big pie contest with an entry called “Fig Jam & Spam Breakfast Pie.”

The use of Spam was not a quirky, retro decision.  I’d made several test pies using bacon, ham and even chorizo as the meat in the filling.  But in every instance, the meat inside was overshadowed by our distinctive spicy, candied bacon crumble topping.

Test Pies

Test Pies: Preparing For The Big Day

We’d gone camping the previous weekend and had campfire sandwiches made from the portable meat, so I happened to have an extra can of Spam on hand.  I gave it a shot in a test pie.  It worked.  It provided a flavor that contrasted but still paired with the bacon topping.  It not only worked, but it provided an umami element… a taste you remembered growing up but had almost locked away forever.

For our official entry in the savory category, we made a flaky herbed crust and lined the bottom with onions caramelized with a gorgeous homemade fig jam.  We mixed our quiche base with a combination of Gruyère and Cheddar cheese, to which we added the Spam and seasonings.  Once almost fully baked, we topped the pie with crumbled bacon that had been rubbed with brown sugar, smoked paprika and crushed cumin seeds.

The Pie Contest Begins

The Pie Contest Begins

As instructed, we made one pie for the judges and one for mass consumption.

It was a real blast serving the pie to the public.  As people read the name of our entry, we were greeted with either huge smiles or looks of complete dismay.  Fig Jam and Spam.  It was a risk.

I was very surprised that a handful of people asked us what Spam was.  When we told them that it was basically processed ham preserved in a can.  They seemed intrigued.

I had no real expectation of winning, but I found myself suddenly hopeful as people who tried our concoction returned to tell us that our pie was the best they tried.  In many instances, they said it quietly as if to say, “… but don’t tell any one that I like Spam.”

Mr Breakfast At The Pie Contest

Mr Breakfast At The Pie Contest

Things would be so different if Spam was a product of France or Italy.  Why does a preserved meat like prosciutto bring culinary experts to their drooling knees, while a canned American meat product makes them roll their eyes?

A Prosciutto And Gruyère Quiche would have been an easy win. I threw my apron in the ring with a Spam pie.  What was I thinking?  It’s like I sent a lovable donkey to a purebred horse show.

One tent over, a Savory Korean Short Rib pie gleamed in the sun.

What if the Spam pie won?  It would be a victory for the underdog!  All the hoity-toity pies with their expensive ingredients would bow their crusts as the crowd erupted in Rocky-like cheers!

The judges approached the stage.  Host and Radio Food Phenom Evan Kleiman thanked a group of children for making pies, but said they were all winners and wouldn’t be judged, per say.  Lucky for them.  I was starting to feel confident.  My Spam Pie would have destroyed them.

Mrs Breakfast At The Big Pie Contest

Mrs Breakfast At The Big Pie Contest

Former musician turned professional vegan enthusiast, Moby announced the winners of the vegan category.  He seemed like a high-brow hippy, too good for Spam.

Then it was our turn… the savory category.  Famed Los Angeles Chef Susan Feniger announced the results.  Third place… a summer tomato pie.  Second place… an onion quiche.

And the winner is…

My spirits were low as we walked to judges room to pick up our pie plate.  We were foiled by a Chicken Curry Pie.  It was probably great.  I didn’t try it because it sounded disgusting.  Oh fate, put down your wretched mirror! I see the parallels.

We lost fair and square… or did we…

As we entered the judges room, I saw pie after pie with only a single forkful taken out.  Yards and yards of pie in exactly the same condition.  And then there was our pie, two-thirds gone.  The judges didn’t vote for my pie, but it was the only one they had made a meal out of.

Decimated Spam And Fig Jam Breakfast Pie

Decimated Spam And Fig Jam Breakfast Pie

Actions speak louder than words.  By devouring my pie, they proclaimed my pie to be the king of all pies!  That was good enough for me!  (However, I still retain the option to file a legal appeal based on this astounding new evidence.)


This article is a companion piece to the following recipe on

Fig Jam & Spam Breakfast Pie

The pie contest described here took place on September 7, 2013.  It was the 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest sponsored by KCRW.  It took place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

You Might Also Like:


  • I bet it tasted good! But they didn’t want to admit liked Spam! LOL!

  • I tried this pie and many others.. it was my favorite! I also got some other people to taste it.. and they loved it!

  • Bill Sharp (team breakfast member CreepysFan)

    What’s not to like about Spam, it’s great. The pie looks good, and the ingredients sound good. Apparently from the amount missing, everyone else thinks so too.

  • I’m from Hawaii and we LOVE spam, we eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s nothing wrong with it, some people think eating escargot is disgusting while others think it’s the best thing ever. Can’t judge a food by it’s description, this pie sounds awesome and I’d love to try it out. You sir could sell that in Hawaii and people would probably love it, however hot too many people here know what figs are. Shame on those judges for being biased.

  • spam or “spiced ham” perhaps a more pleasing name would be spiced ham & fig jam with bacon parleans like trying to get a kid to eat squash yuk offer them some butternut well now that sounds good

Leave a Reply to Kristi Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *