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SPAM I am: Head to the Minnesota town famous for this classic cuisine

By Erica Wacker

Head to Austin in southern Minnesota to learn about this locally produced meat that’s a household name around the world.

Spam Museum in Auston, MN
Credit: Explore Minnesota

SPAM, the most famous brand produced by Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods, is a household name around the world. Learn about the beloved product’s history and SPAMple it for yourself at the namesake museum in this charming southern Minnesota town.

Visiting the SPAM Museum

Located in charming downtown Austin, the first thing you notice about the SPAM Museum is its tasteful, old-meets-new exterior. On one side of the building, red brickwork matches the rest of downtown’s historic aesthetic; around the corner, bright blue siding and a glass entryway bring the design’s modern leanings to the forefront. In many ways, this design mirrors the history of SPAM—a staple of mid-century America kitchens that continues to evolve and remain a mainstay in our pantries to this day.

Step inside the museum, and you’re greeted by a variety of exhibits chronicling the history of SPAM through the years. Exhibit topics range from the ways SPAM packaging has changed over the years, to its role in winning World War II, a colorful “SPAM Around the World” exhibit showcasing the far-reaching culinary and cultural influence SPAM has throughout the globe, and a handful of interactive exhibits younger visitors adore.

As you wander through the museum, you’ll almost certainly be approached by a SPAMbassadors handing out tasty SPAMples—lightly pan-fried cubes of SPAM served on pretzel-rod skewers—and we highly recommend indulging. These tasty treats come in hard-to-find flavors you may not have eaten before like teriyaki, hickory smoke, black pepper, hot & spicy and more. All 15 flavors are available for purchase in the gift shop, along with any number of fun, SPAM-themed gifts and memorabilia.

Brush up on your SPAM facts

  • Since relocating to its current location in April 2016, the SPAM Museum in downtown Austin has welcomed visitors from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.
  • 780 cans of SPAM travel around the museum on a conveyor belt, and it takes one can 18 minutes to make the full loop.
  • The Austin production facility makes 350 cans per minute.
  • 17 restaurants in Austin serve SPAM in various forms, from quesadillas to sliders to grilled SPAM and cheese sandwiches.
  • SPAM comes in 15 flavors, including black pepper, garlic, hickory smoke, jalapeno and chorizo, all available at the museum gift shop for $3 per can.
  • 133 million cans fed soldiers during World War II.
  • SPAM is sold in 44 countries around the world.
  • In Hawaii, which consumes 7 million cans of SPAM per year, a convenience store goes through 70,000 musubi per week, a popular, sushi-like dish made with SPAM.
  • It would take 92,933,068 cans of SPAM to cover the length of the Great Wall of China.
  • The shelf life of a can of SPAM is 3 years.