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Product Review: SPAM® Portuguese Sausage

I may have missed the Waikiki SPAM JAM® this past weekend, however I’m fortunate in not having to wait any longer to try Hormel’s brand new SPAM® Portuguese Sausage Seasoning flavor, which officially debuted at the event.

While driving into downtown Honolulu today to take care of some business, I dropped by Times Supermarket on Beretania Street, where much to my delight after finding the shelf empty, as it turned out, they had a couple of cases in back that the clerk busted out just for me. I was like, “Whoah brah, what? Stashing out on us?!” lol

At the moment, Times Supermarket is the only retailer I could find on Oahu that’s carrying the new flavor, and today I was told by one of their grocery managers at the South King Street location that Hormel initially only gave them 2 cases per store in the initial shipment.

What’s funny is, as I stood in the aisle at Times where the SPAM products are, right after the clerk restocked the shelves with this new flavor, an older local Japanese guy showed up interested in the product as well, so I started talking to him about it, and he said he has a couple of relatives on the mainland that had already asked him to ship them some. So he ended up buying like about 10 cans I seen in his basket. I bought 2 cans just for this review, plus to share with the guys back at the office tomorrow.

The South King Street Times location was completely sold out, however their grocery manager told me he’s getting more in this Wednesday, and it should be on the shelves by  about 10 in the morning. So there’s your tip if you’re on Oahu and really anxious to try it… Check out Times Supermarket!

Other than Times Supermarket where it’s already for sale, over the course of May, the SPAM van will be making stops at various retailers around Oahu where you can try the new flavor, plus enter for your chance to win a trip for two to San Diego to see Ed Sheeran live in concert. For more information, please visit HawaiiSpamCan.com.

One last, yet important note to make regarding availability, is the new Hormel SPAM Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor is initially available EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE HAWAII MARKET ONLY, and is currently not available for retail sales anywhere else but in the islands.

That said, it’s no surprise they’re already showing up for sale online on sites such as eBay at some at pretty outrageous prices. $10 to $12.50 per can? Seriously?

At least those selling them online won’t have to worry about expiration date anytime soon, with these cans having a stamped-on shelf life of 3 years. That’s scary, yet awesome all at the same time! lol

The ingredients for SPAM Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor are: Pork, mechanically separated chicken, water, salt, modified potato starch, sugar, flavoring, sodium phosphates, spices, paprika, sodium diacetate, palm oil, sodium nitrite, and oleoresin of paprika.

Mmm-mmm-mmm, doesn’t that all sound absolutely delicious!!!? They really should include HBP pills with every can. lol

Removing the SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor from the can, it clearly has a distinctive reddish tinge to it, just like the real deal. Suprisingly it had almost no “mystery goo”, that slippery slimy stuff that some other SPAM flavors have. There was just enough coating the brick of meat to slip it out the tightly-fitted rectangular can, and that’s it, with no extra drips.

I bought a Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage to compare this SPAM flavor with, where in the photo above, you can see that other than their shape, the SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning flavor is strikingly similar to Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage both in color and coarseness of its ground meat chop.

It also has similar fat marbling.

Being the ingredients lists sugar, I was concerned it would burn easily, as did the SPAM Tocino flavor, however that wasn’t a problem at all, and it fried nice ‘n crisp with little worries about burning, but you definitely need to keep an eye on it. I always use a little oil, even in my non-stick pan, as the oil helps give it a nicer, more even, golden-brown crisp. And with that, it seeped out its Paprika spice into the oil just like actual Portuguese Sausage does, which is a good sign!

Above we have Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage, along with SPAM® Portuguese Sausage flavor, both pan-fried and ready for sampling.

So my first way to sample this is how they suggested serving it on the back of the can, simply with rice and eggs. Of course I put my own finishing touches, adding my usual Beni Shoga and Maui Takuan, along with Shoyu on da’ rice, and a sprinkling of chopped green onion for added color. Very pretty!

And? Oh. My. God. OMG! Dude, Hormel NAILED IT. I swear, this tastes EXACTLY as advertised! Cliche as this analogy goes, if Hormel SPAM and Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage had a baby, this would be the result. The spices are ON-POINT with Hawaii style Portuguese Sausage. It has just the right amount of Paprika, with just a hint of spicy heat, but not overbearing.

Above is the Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage stacked on top of the SPAM Portuguese Sausage, so I was going back and forth, nibbling one, then the other, chasing it with a glass of milk between bites, and I swear, I could barely tell the difference between the two. Amazing! I mean, yeah, SPAM is SPAM, no matter what, but the spices are so similar in flavor profile to Redondo’s Mild Portuguese Sausage, that there isn’t much to discern between the two.

Best of all, the TEXTURE is fantastic. Unlike the SPAM Teriyaki, that has this unpleasant mushiness to it, the SPAM Portuguese Sausage’s texture has a nice ‘n fibrous mouth feel to it, just like the original SPAM Classic and 25% Less Sodium flavors.

Like I said in my review of SPAM Tocino, no can of SPAM passed through my kitchen without becoming “Musubi-fied”, as has been done to SPAM Portuguese Sausage today. Which of course if you visit most gas stations in Hawaii, you’ll often find Portuguese Sausage Musubi being sold alongside the SPAM Musubi. So now with this hybrid flavor, we kill two pigs with one stone!

And? Winnahz! If I were to make another SPAM PS musubi, I would definitely add Beni Shoga and Takuan in there for added pizazz, but even in plain form, with just the rice and nori, as expected, the combination totally works. I really don’t think addition of Teriyaki sauce would be good with this flavor of SPAM, but hey, go knock yourself out and try it.

Again, and even more noticeable in Musubi form, the TEXTURE is one of its biggest virtues here. That, along with the incredible accuracy to Hawaii style Portuguese Sausage seasoning is what hits this new flavor out the grandstands.

Just keep in mind when you try this that it’s still SPAM. So don’t expect it be Portuguese Sausage in a can, because it’s not. They just happened to nail the flavor and texture to one of the islands most recognized brands.

Hormel, you gave Hawaii a winnah with the new Portuguese Sausage flavah! Mahalo!

What? All new Hormel SPAM® Portuguese Sausage seasoning
Where did you buy it and how much was it? Times Supermarket S. Beretania Street location (next to Safeway); $2.98 each (very limited supply as of this writing)
What else should we know about it? This flavor is made exclusively for the Hawaii market, and currently not available for retails sales anywhere else outside the islands.
Big shaka to: Strikingly accurate spices, overall flavor and texture to Hawaii’s own Redondo’s (mild) Portuguese Sausage, ’nuff said.
No shaka to: The usual health concerns regarding canned meat products
The Tasty Island rating: 5 SPAM Musubi

P.S. Times Supermarket Beretania photos:

P.P.S. Future Hormel SPAM® Hawaii honorary flavor suggestions:

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Puerto Rican PASTELES! Suggested serving shown with the requisite Gandules Rice and Bacalau Salad. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Korean KIM CHEE! Suggested serving shown as expected: Kim Chee Fried Rice! Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Flipino PORK ADOBO! Suggested serving shown with Pancit Filipino style noodles, as well as Bay Leaves (to the left) as indicator of the key flavoring ingredient. There also should be peppercorns shown in the final label design. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Chinese CHARSIU! Suggested serving shown in the form of Charsiu Bao (steamed bun). Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Chinese LUP CHEONG! Suggested serving shown the classic way us locals eat Lup Cheong: with shoyu and rice! Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Pomai’s proposed new Hawaii SPAM® flavor: Hawaiian style PANIOLO SMOKED! Suggested serving shown with Poi, my boy. Roughly rendered label design by Pomai.

Finally for good measure, why not? Hawaii SPAM® Rainbow Shave Ice! LOL! Rough (‘n tough) rendering by Pomai.


18 thoughts on “Product Review: SPAM® Portuguese Sausage

  • May 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    SPAM® Portuguese Sausage mimics Redondo’s mild Portuguese Sausage plus it got chicken in it!!
    What is the matching saltiness to contrast with the rice and what happens when you use terry sauce for musubi which most everyone does??
    I personally don’t like Redondo’s because it is plain Jane and has no punch to it. I like Rego’s Purity Portuguese Sausage for the kicked up taste which is closer to mainland old-world Portuguese made linguica sausage and not even close to old-world Portuguese hot spicy chourico sausage which I grew up eating all my life. The Hawaii version of Portuguese sausage is a milder and finer grind than real Portuguese sausage. It doesn’t even look like the same fat content that Rego’s Purity Portuguese Sausage has and remember fat is flavor!
    Hormel created this to appease the Hawaii market and add sales volume to the Hawaii market. I applaud Hormel for their marketing tenacity and timed public release during Hawaii’s annual Spam Jam festival but I personally would want something that tasted closer to the real ethnic product profile not middle of the road to fill corporate coffers with my hard earned dollar.
    Thank you for being first out of the gate to taste test this product and blog about it!

    • May 5, 2015 at 2:58 am


      Well, first of all, I’ll have to back Hormel on appeasing the Hawaii market, as even when I watch food shows, to this day, I notice mainland folks in general still  scoff at even the mention of the name “SPAM”. So why should they go “middle road”, to appease who, then? Just you and a few others in an otherwise very small demographic, and shun Hawaii’s taste and love for SPAM, as well as our own huge market for Portuguese Sausage? When I see a SPAM JAM being held in the New England area, then we can bring up this discussion again.

      I chose the Redondo’s mild Portuguese Sausage to compare it with exactly for the reasons you stated. While “the best” is of course a matter of personal opinion, in my own “Great Portuguese Sausage Shootout”, Redondo’s stood about the middle ground, taking 5th place out of the original 10 contenders. And yes, while Redondo’s is rather “plain” as far as Portuguese Sausage goes, it’s the “status quo” of Hawaii brands, and probably the most recognized brand in Hawaii over any other island-specific brand. Anyone who’s lived in or even visited Hawaii has seen or heard of Redondo’s.

      In other words, in a very loose analogy, I’d say this new SPAM flavor is the totally awesome new Chevy Corvette, not “this is our company’s history statement” LaFerrari: both supercars that otherwise can’t be fairly compared to side-by-side for numerous reasons beyond their price tags. So I compared it with a standard Porche 911 instead. ;-)

      As for fat content, I was very surprised how this SPAM PS flavor actually has at th e least, little globs of marbling in it, giving it a extra bursts of flavor in each bite, just like the real sausage. The folks in Hormel’s kitchen lab really did their homework on formulating this one.

      As for saltiness, oh yes, it is SALTY, however as the numbers suggest, it was about on-par with the Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage at 520mg per 2 oz. serving, as compared to 590mg per 2 oz. serving for the SPAM PS flavor. Which actually is a good thing, as you need very little to compliment the rice this will most like be eaten with. Honestly, personally I could only handle eating about a one and a half 1/4″ slices for this review before hitting my own sodium limit, as I’m very sensitive to it. Surely when I was younger, I could probably scarf  half the can. lol

      Ultimately, it’s still SPAM, and nobody should expect it to be Portuguese Sausage in a can, because, while pretty dang close, it’s not. Hormel just happened to have gotten the seasoning flavor and texture on-point with one of Hawaii’s most recognized brand.

  • May 5, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Pomai, when you present your photos in your entries they look so delicious.  I am like

    that at home would take the time to set up the dish nicely to take to the table.  It for the

    eyes and as well your palate to enjoy.  My brother just not into that why his dish look

    like stew everytime all mixed up looking.  Family not too happy told him to take time

    to serve dish nicely .  Oh well some guys just rather eat.

    • May 5, 2015 at 3:49 am


      I look at food as much for its artistry from both a visual and conceptual aspect, than just something to eat. That’s half the reason why I’m a food blogger. ;-)

  • May 5, 2015 at 3:19 am

    Pomai:  Tried the samples of PS Spam at Spamfest  this Saturday, and I was a little disappointed by the product. (maybe my expectations were too high) I thought it was softer than regular Spam, but that might have been the way the samples were cooked… they could have been browned a bit more. What surprised me was the salt level that masked the PS flavor in the samples. But I was willing to give it another chance. As we were flying back to the Mainland on Sunday, my son and I made a special trip to Don Quixote to see if the PS Spam was on the shelf, but no dice… guess they didnt stock it until Monday… :( We did grab several cans of the chorizo Spam, as we liked it and thought that it would be an accepable substitute for PS Spam. Maybe you should do a comparison between the two?

    • May 5, 2015 at 3:40 am


      I’m willing to bet it was indeed that they had undercooked it at the SPAM JAM, probably because of rushing for the feeding frenzy. I too thought that for sure it was going to be mushy, but in the samples I pan-fried up for this review, they were just as fibrous and “meaty” as the original. I mean, as much as you can even use that description for canned processed meat.

      The salty factor could have been because of what else you ate that evening, so your palate was already acclimated to other things. When I tried it, I hadn’t eaten anything else the whole day (and was actually quite hungry). And while it was salty, it wasn’t unexpected or unbearable, where I was like, “Dang! Did someone drop the salt shaker in this can?” It was pretty much just as salty as the Redondo’s Portuguese Sausage I compared it side-by-side with.

      You know, I have a can of SPAM Chourizo on-hand, and I was thinking about doing that for this review, but I just could not handle more than opening one can of SPAM at a time, plus the Redondo’s. I’d go into sodium shock. lol I’ll save that comparo’ for later.

      Being a store that carries so many local products, I’m really surprised how much later Don Quijote is expected to get the new flavor, which their buyer said won’t be until the end of May. Again, if you want first dibs, tell your ohana check the neighborhood Times Supermarket for the next shipment this Wednesday. ;-)

      There’s definitely going to be mixed reactions, depending who and what they’re comparing it to. I think my review in comparing it to Hawaii’s Redondo’s brand was a fair one, and at least with the can I sampled and prepared myself at home, using my own “cooking abilities” (lol), I’m very happy with it! :-)

      • May 5, 2015 at 5:18 am

        Hey thanks Pomai for the  heads up about Times on Beretania.   I had called Times on S. King yesterday afternoon and they told me that they had gotten 2 cases last week but were sold out as soon as people found out they had it.

        So when I got your post in my mail after 8pm, I called the store  on S. King and they said they were “fully stocked.”   I went and bought for “mainland son and granddaughter” who  want to try it!  They normally never eat Spam but decided to try this PS version!  Of course I also bought for me – I gotta try this!   I never eat Spam but give me a good spam musubi and I will eat it.

        I agree with Keith that the PS Spam samples given out at Spam Jam on Saturday were not too great and (as you noted)  the slices were being cooked too quickly to feed the crowd.   The mac/cheese PS Spam was a great mac/cheese dish but was like,”where’s the spam?”  The other booth with  the PS Spam waffle dog ran out of PS Spam EARLY on so I passed on a regular Spam dog – I don’t like hot dogs anyway but was willing to try it if it was the PS Spam.

        Did not open my can yet as (like you) a slice or two is all I can/should handle at once with 590mg of sodium/1-2 oz. slice.  I think the best thing about this product is the back of the can (your 3rd picture posted above) where Hormel has a picture of a “Tropical Breakfast Classic” and suggests “seasoning until browned and crisp.  Serve with sticky rice and scrambled eggs.”   Hormel DEFINITELY produced this for the Hawaii market.  Those who can, should ENJOY, and those who can’t, “no drool too much.”

        BTW, for the past few years, I only eat a “Linguica Portuguese Sausage” made by the Silva company out of San Jose, CA.  I used to buy it in a bulk package of 7 sausages at COSTCO there but it’s been a year since I was there.  Safeway (on Beretania) also used to sell it (i think 2 in a package) but I just called them and the meat department is closed so will find out later today if they still carry it.   To me, this Silva brand Linguica PS beats all our local brands by far.

        Hope everyone enjoys their PS Spam soon!

        • April 12, 2016 at 8:41 am

          I just saw Portuguese sausage by the Silva Company at the Waipio Gentry Costco.  Had to try it since a Tasty Island reader mentioned it.  Tasty Islander got good taste.

  • May 5, 2015 at 6:46 am


    Good morning. Portugese sausage SPAM.

    Don’t forget to bring to the mainland in August.

    As well as regular portugese sausage.Mahalo.

    See you guys in August.   Aloha!

  • May 5, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    @ DCOhana – Guaranz.

    @ Donna – Howzit, cousin. I’m surprised being originally from the Big Island, you’re not in total support of Frank’s Foods, Kulana and Miko Brand Portuguese Sausage. As noted in my “GPS”, Frank’s Foods Portuguese Sausage was the grand winner in that epic taste test of local brands. And Frank’s brand is very hard if not impossible to get on Oahu. Marukai will bring it in only once in a while. Of course, Kulana makes the best Portuguese Hawaiian style Blood Sausage. IIRC, that’s the brand Granny used to serve us. Unless, was it from the Yagi’s?

    Sounds like there’s now thousands of people who may have a less-than-great 1st impression of the new PS flavor, if they undercooked it at the SPAM JAM, as you and KeithF. seem to have experienced. The can I bought from Times and pan-fried myself at home until golden-crispy had just as good ‘n “meaty”, fibrous texture as SPAM Classic, and not soggy/mushy at all.

    We were talking about the marketing of this product in the office today, where Diner A made a good point about Hawaii already having immediate access to REAL Portuguese Sausage. So why would any of us buy the SPAM version, when we can get the real deal, and at a much cheaper price?

    Still, I think Hormel is smart to initially keep this exclusive to Hawaii, just to get our feedback first, and also to build “hype”. Hopefully sales will prove it successful, so that they expand its distribution to the mainland, especially where there are high population of Portuguese, such as in the New England area where Ken is from. Those folks will just have to accept that Hormel is matching the unique Hawaii style flavor, not the somewhat different mainland style Portuguese Linquica. That said, if they do expand distribution, they’ll need to remind consumers that this was originally a made-for-Hawaii product, which of course will give it even more marketing appeal!

    I did a “Mainland vs. Hawaii Portuguese Sausage Shootout“, including both the Gaspar’s and Silva’s brand vs. several local brands, which you can check out here.


    • May 6, 2015 at 1:45 am

      OMG Pomai, guess I should have been reading this BLOG a few years ago!!!  I just read thru the 2013 “contest” you created  and wow, I can’t believe all the work you went thru then!

      Yes, I do know that we are related to the Gouvea’s.   When I first discovered Gouvea’s sausage in COSTCO, I used to like it and bought it UNTIL I tried Silva’s when I was in San Jose several years ago.   Actually, my Chinese daughter in law was buying Silva’s Linguica from COSTCO in San Jose and I have bought it ever since.  To me SILVA’s is #1.  (Actually it is #1 only after a home-made sausage my son in Kona used to buy from a guy who made them in Kona.) You CANNOT beat a GOOD home-made sausage if properly made (with pork butts and NOT wild pig).

      I liked Silva’s so much, I found out from that company in CA that they sold their sausage in Safeway and eventually found out it was sold in Safeway in Hawaii. I tried to get COSTCO in Hawaii to order the SILVA brand,  but they said it was not available (maybe due to the number of Hawaii sausages they sell in the store here).  Too bad cause Silva’s in CA is pkg of 7 sausages for about $12.00 (used to be 7 for $10 before).  Safeway sells it 2 for almost $6.00.

      As far as Hilo sausages go, Miko is one of the worst ever. I never bought their products even when I lived in Hilo.   Franks Foods used to be good but many years ago, something changed and it is pretty bad now too.

      Kulana Foods only makes blood sausage – by far #1, the best in the state.  Kulana Foods is owned by the Yagi Family in Hilo, who my Grandmother (on my dad’s side) worked for  – about 60++ years.   In fact, I will tell you the secret: the Yagi’s learned to make their blood sausage from my grandmother’s sister who was an excellent cook.  This grand-aunty cooked almost all the food for my dad’s family.  Everyone in my family ate/eats blood sausage except me (I hate it) , but I still try to buy for your mother when I go to Hilo!!

      Actually, I don’t think people were thinking the spam at the Jam was bad as they were certainly buying up a storm and scooping up the free samples of the PS Spam!  I have not opened up my can yet but even tho I don’t eat spam (unless it’s a GOOD musubi, I do want to experience the taste of the PS can and believe me, i will make sure it is CRISPY!!

      • May 6, 2015 at 11:44 am


        Last year my friend from Kona brought me some Mountain Apple brand Portuguese Sausage to try, a house brand made exclusively for KTA stores on the Big Island. He says these are the closest he remembers to tasting like the original Miko brand Portuguese Sausage when it used to be made in Hilo. However now Miko brand is manufactured in California, same for Rego’s Purity.

        Check out the full review of Mountain Apple Portuguese Sausage here.

        • May 6, 2015 at 12:57 pm

          OMG over and over again Pomai!   You shock me at how much time you devote to testing out all these products!   Hey just ask me about the Big Island – no lengthy taste test – one try and I can tell you junk or not!  Big Island good for MANY MANY things but not so good for other things too!

          Mountain Apple Brand sausage – lousy taste – I will never buy it again!  Some of the MA Brand stuff at KTA = not so good but there is one product  I did think was good but have dementia right now and can’t remember what it is!  :))

          I always go to KTA when I am in Hilo or Kona!   Habit.   I croak when I see the prices compared to HNL though because everything is way more $$$$$ now.  I like to see if any of the Asian things (dried shrimp or codfish, shiofuki konbu (salted seaweed),  or similar items are on sale. I also like to buy Donna’s cookies there.  (ha – I always told my kids I made those cookies!  (“Yeah sure mommy!”)

          The other thing that for 15 years that I still buy in Hilo is CLUB SHOYU.   No matter what anyone says, this is the BEST.   Next time I go to the Big Island, I will bring you a bottle.  In fact, I can bring you that Frank Foods sausage too and maybe a Kulan blood sausage if Kona has any.   I just have to put it all on my list!   (I have to go to the Big Island at least 2 times in May).

          Thanks for sharing all the info on stuff you have already tasted!   Lucky you stay slim with all that taste testing!!!


  • May 15, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Pomai-san… the Spam with Podagee sausage flavor is now available for sale at the Spam store online. $3.50 a 12-oz. can plus shipping.

    • May 15, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Forgot to add, brah… I gotta make spam musubi for our mission potluck dinner… all us ex-Kwajies are already salivating here in Huntsville! :) (Dey get regular spam… th Podagee sausage one won’t make it in time

      • May 15, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        Howzit Chuck,

        So what type of drafting work are you doing in Alabama? I take it more civil engineering projects. Surprised you didn’t transfer to Hawaii.

        Regarding the Podagee sausage SPAM, I believe Times Supermarket is still the only store chain carrying it on Oahu, as my friend said Foodland still doesn’t have it, nor does Safeway, and I know for a fact Don Quijote won’t get it until the end of May some time. Not sure about Tamura’s. What’s weird is, I forget where I seen the comment, but someone said they spotted the new SPAM Portuguese Sausage flavor in IIRC, KMart in Alaska. something like that. However supposedly this is only being distributed for retail sales in Hawaii, so maybe that was just an errant shipment.

        Whatever you do, don’t try eBay, as those crazy folks are asking $12 and up per can! I paid $2.99 at Times for the two cans I got, however SPAM goes on sale for as little as $1.70 per can at the grocery stores here, any flavor.

  • May 16, 2017 at 7:34 am

    DOH!!! Don’t know how I missed it! I AM getting to that age though… :D Looks really good. I’ve never seen this version here on the mainland (My local Wally World sells: Classic, Low Sodium, Smoked (good stuff), Turkey, Jalapeno, Chorizo, and Possum.) Definitely going to have to ship some home on my next trip. It would go GREAT in the morning with the usual breakfast suspects… :D Arigato!

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