Spam curds named best new CCF food
By KAREN SCHWALLER
SPENCER – Spam Curds were officially named the “World’s Greatest County Fair Food” Sept. 10, opening day of the 2016 Clay County Fair.
The food was tasted and voted upon by a group of local celebrities.
The “curds” consist of bite-sized chunks of Spam, dipped in homemade breading and deep fried.
Though the snack is new to the CCF, they have been around for more than a decade. Tim Duren and sons, Matt Duran and John Duran, of Austin, Minn. own the food stand that travels the Midwest, giving people a taste of something unusual.
“Fairs like unusual foods, so a few years ago we had this idea,” said Tim Duren. “I went to the Hormel Foods Corp. and pitched the idea, and they said, ‘Let’s do it.’ “
That was 15 years ago, and after two years of waiting to get into the Minnesota State Fair, they found that their newly-discovered treat was a big success.
“That first year at the Minnesota State Fair we opened 7,200 cans of Spam,” said Duren.
Duren said the name of the breaded treat was an issue, with people thinking they should be called “Spam Dunkers” or “Spam Nuggets,” but the Durens held their own, and the name they wanted was the name they got.
“People know what cheese curds are,” he said, adding that they wanted people to at least be able to imagine what they could be if they had not heard of them before. “Besides, curiosity killed the cat – we wanted people to come and try them.”
There are six flavors of Spam that they make into Spam Curds – hot and spicy, bacon, black pepper, original, jalapeno and hickory smoke.Ryan Oorlog, 34 of Sioux Falls, S.D. tried them when he came to the CCF.
“They’re surprisingly good,” he said, adding that the dipping sauce really “makes” them. “I think these are a close second to cheese curds. They’re addicting, kind of like potato chips.”
The Durans first cracked into the Minnesota State Fair 13 years ago. They have worked the Wisconsin State Fair as well, and are hoping to get into the Iowa State Fair eventually.
This is their first year at the CCF.
Other “World’s Greatest Fair Foods” finalists included “Mini-Choco Pie,” (deep fried chocolate pie, the original ‘Minneapple Pie); “Terranza,” (like a Runza) from the Spencer Dream Center; “Jumbo Stuffed Crab Tots” from McLellan’s Concessions, and the “Breakfast Bowl” from Julie’s Diner.
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