Wednesday Food: Home is Where the Spiedies Are

Everybody knows Philadelphia's specialty is cheese steak, San Francisco's sourdough bread, New York's pizza, Maine has all of the lobster and I could go on. But very few are aware of my hometown's famous specialty. Spiedies are very specific to Endicott,NY and many who live outside of the central New York area are not aware of their greatness. I'm sure many who did not grow up with them, probably don't get why they are so freakin awesome!

They even have their own annual festival, The Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, and it is coming up this weekend! Hot air balloons, throwback rock bands (I saw Cheap Trick there one year) and a spiedie marinade contest. A whole weekend of eating spiedies!! Also, at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, spiedies are a popular item among other state favorites.

For some reason, they sell spiedie marinade at our local (Portland, ME) grocery store, Hannaford's. I'm positive most people walk by it and have no idea what the hell it is or how dear it is to so many people's hearts! But this makes me happy because not only can I indulge in a most cherished summer grilling experience, but I can share its glory with my friends.

The marinated meat cubes (known as spiedies) are not the only important part of this equation, the bread is too. Soft italian bread, specifically Roma's sliced italian bread is essential. But that is one part I have to do without.

The method to making them is oh so simple. As for the meat you can use, chicken is good, pork is better and lamb is best. Cut the meat into cubes and marinate (Lupo's or Salamida's) anywhere from an hour up to 24 hours or more. I had a bottle of chicken BBQ marinade my mom had sent me and also the traditional state fair marinade, both from Salamida's.

After you're done marinating them, skewer them on a metal or wooden rod. If they are wooden rods, soak them in water first so that when you grill them they don't burn or start on fire.

Grill them till brown and cooked all the way through. We cooked these at our friend Chris's house, because he has a lovely grill and they taste so much better that way! Eric and Chris wanted to add peppers and onions to theirs. Some people back home serve them this way but I'm a traditionalist and keep it simple.


What defines a spiedie-eater from an non spiedie-eater is how you take those spiedies off the skewer. Take your sliced italian bread and put it in your palm. Place the skewer of delicious meat on the slice of bread, grip the meat, slide it off the skewer and scarf it down. They don't call 'em spiedies for nothing!  (For an extra-soaked spiedie, add some Italian dressing, yummy!)

Chris enjoyed his first taste of my hometown delicacy. And I enjoy spreading the word of their deliciousness. Now that Endicott is kind of a ghost town, many people that grew up there have since moved on to bigger cities and possibly greener pastures and hopefully educating the masses on this simple and most cherished sandwich.

Remember, when the kitchen gets too hot, get back in the kitchen and keep cooking!


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