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Spam curds named best new CCF food

By Staff | Sep 16, 2016

TIM DUREN FILLS AN ORDER of the newest sensation to hit the Clay County Fairgrounds this year. Spam Curds is something he and his family dreamed up 15 years ago. Its first year at the Clay County Fair, it was named the “World’s Best County Fair Food.”

By KAREN SCHWALLER

“mailto:kschwaller@evertek.net”>kschwaller@evertek.net

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.

SPAM CURDS was voted Sept. 10 as the best new food at the 2016 Clay County Fair. The fair continues through Sunday.

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.

RYAN OORLOG of Sioux Falls, left, and Bill Dickey, of Brandon, S.D. try out Spam Curds, new to this year’s Clay County Fair. Oorig said the curds were “a close second to cheese curds,” and said the dipping sauces really “made them.”

“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.

TIM DUREN, left, and son Matt Duren are shown in front of their food stand that has brought a new awareness to the uses for Spam. Their “Spam Curds” were named the “World’s Best County Fair Food” in its first year at the Clay County Fair. The stand is also owned by another one of Tim Duren’s sons, John Duren.

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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SPAM CURDS HAS BROUGHT a whole new use to the product, as well as a new food to the Clay County Fair. Co-owner Tim Duren said during their first year at the Minnesota State Fair 13 years ago, they opened 7,200 cans of Spam.