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Pineapple-Jalapeño Glazed Spam Sliders

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Sweet and spicy porky paradise.

Pineapple-jalapeño glazed spam slider topped with cabbage slaw on a wooden cutting board.

If you’ve yet to experience the joy of fried spam, these sliders are an open invitation to join the party. Crispy, golden-brown spam is glazed in sticky pineapple-jalapeño sauce, topped with crunchy slaw, and tucked inside a fluffy Hawaiian roll for a two-bite sammie that hits every spicy-sweet, salty-juicy note.


These sliders were originally inspired by my father’s fried bologna sandwiches. I was brainstorming potential riffs when Jewel, a former line cook friend, suggested throwing in a spicy fruit jam to compliment the crispy bologna. I loved this idea, but I still felt I was missing a piece of the puzzle—until I tasted fried spam for the first time on a recent video shoot. To me, it tasted just like fried bologna—but thick enough to maintain its shape in the pan and hold its own with other elements in a sandwich. So these pineapple-jalapeño spam sliders were born.


Pineapple-jalapeño spam glaze.

If making a glaze from scratch sounds tricky or fussy, I promise it’s super simple. A double dose of crushed pineapple and pineapple juice is simmered with sugar, cornstarch, and finely chopped jalapeño just until thickened, and then finished off with a dash of lime juice and more finely chopped jalapeño. Adding the jalapeño in two stages is strategic: the first dose infuses into the glaze, mellowing out as it cooks down with the pineapple to provide a subtle backdrop of spice, while the final addition brings a pop of fresh heat that perfectly balances the sweet, tangy pineapple. If you’re nervous about the spice level, you can always taste the sauce before adding the second dose at the end; just keep in mind that the spam will bring a lot of saltiness and the slaw will bump up the acidity, so this glaze needs to pack a lot of sweet heat to keep up.

Pineapple-jalapeño glazed spam sliders topped with cabbage slaw on a wooden cutting board.

Sweet and spicy, salty and crispy, these sliders are the perfect summer snack. Whether you’re serving huge trays of them at a cook-out or frying up just a few for a chill solo lunch at home, they’re sure to have you licking that pineapple-jalapeño glaze off your fingers—and reaching for a second helping.


Enjoy!

 

Pineapple-Jalapeño Glazed Spam Sliders

(Makes 16)


Pineapple-jalapeño glazed spam slider topped with cabbage slaw on a wooden cutting board.

For the glaze:


1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in 100% juice

½ cup pineapple juice

½ cup granulated sugar, plus additional as needed

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped, divided

2 tsp. cornstarch

¼ tsp. kosher salt, plus additional as needed

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

For the sliders:


3 cup thinly sliced cabbage (preferably a mix of white and red)

2 scallions, light and dark green parts sliced on a bias

¼ cup cilantro leaves, thinly sliced

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

½ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt

1 (12-oz.) can spam, sliced lengthwise into 8 strips

1 tbsp. neutral oil

16 Hawaiian rolls, split and toasted


Method


For the glaze:


In a small pot, combine crushed pineapple in its juices, pineapple juice, sugar, half of the jalapeño, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until reduced and thickened, 3-4 minutes.


Stir in lime juice and remaining jalapeño, then taste and add more sugar, salt, or lime juice as needed. Remove from heat and set aside.


A bowl of thinly sliced green cabbage, red cabbage, cilantro, and scallions.

For the sliders:


In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, scallions, and cilantro. Add lime juice and salt and toss to combine. Set aside.


Remove spam block from can and slice lengthwise into 8 oval strips. Cut each strip in half to yield 16 pieces total (they should be about the same size and dimensions as the rolls).

In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Working in batches as needed, add spam in a single layer. Cook until browned and crisp on the bottom, 2-3 minutes. Turn and continue to cook until browned on the other side, 1-2 minutes more. Remove to a plate and brush with glaze.


To assemble sliders, arrange one slice glazed spam on each of the 16 bottom buns. Mound with slaw and top with remaining toasted bread slices. Serve immediately.


Toasted Hawaiian buns beside a bowl of cabbage slaw, a plate of glazed fried spam, and a bowl of sliced jalapeno.


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