How to Make Spiedies

I told Malcolm that I once went to a spiedie festival and was therefore the resident expert to write a little intro to this recipe. But now as I sit here typing, reclined on my bed, I cannot recall a single detail of such an event, which leads me to believe I was lying.

Spiedies are a specialty of upstate New York, near Binghamton. We used to visit my mother’s sister there every summer of my childhood, until she got divorced and moved home to Connecticut. My father would drive the minivan up Route 17, past places with names like Fishkill and Fishs Eddy. We’d stop at the Liberty Diner, an uneven country restaurant filled with denim-suited locals throwing shade, then on to Endwell, where my aunt’s family lived. We’d go to the town pool and shuck corn in her backyard and every afternoon the skies would darken into a bruised shade of bitter purple and thunder would rumble in long, low crescendos, shattering the humidity with lightning.

How to Make Spiedies

I hate that kind of weather. I’m frightened of August. Maybe that’s why I have no memory of a summer fair featuring herbed cubes of meat cooked over open flame and served with a bun. I almost remember that there were hot air balloons hovering in the spaces between mountains. Spiedies are the the kind of food you crave when you go to college, and want to recreate when your adulthood ends up keeping you away from home longer than you meant to be. They are indivisible from a specific place and time. Which makes them one of the things we love. A food that connects one to memory, even if that memory is mostly made up.

How to Make Spiedies
 
Author:
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1½ lb. trimmed pork loin, cut into 1¼″ cubes
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 5 tbsp. finely chopped mint
  • 5 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf, finely crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 2 10″-long Italian hoagie rolls, split, toasted, and halved
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Method
  1. In a large bowl, toss together pork, ¼ cup oil, vinegar, half of the fresh herbs, lemon juice, bay leaf, and salt and pepper; cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. In a small bowl, whisk remaining oil, and herbs with chile flakes, and season with salt and pepper; set sauce aside.
  2. Place oven rack about 4" below broiler, and set to high. Thread four or five pork cubes onto metal skewers, and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Cook, turning once, until charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Place skewers on rolls; drizzle with sauce and serve with lemon wedges.
Notes
Adapted from a recipe by Saveur.
 

 

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.

3 Comments

  1. Lovely story, including the great recipe. I look forward to your Sunday posts and have contributed to your start-up – best of luck! My family lived for a time in the Southern Tier area of New York (Vestal) in the early 80’s; our first culinary memory of the area was a trip to Sharkey’s in Binghamton for Spiedies; I thought at the time they were a funny combination of a somewhat dry but flavorful combination of meats served on a piece of Italian bread. Spiedies are a staple at all outdoor events along with grilled Italian sausages and rectangular shaped pizzas (baked in 1/2 sheet pans with little more than sauce and some sort of melty cheese). When my friend from the area comes to visit me in Louisville she always brings a bottle Salamadia’s State Fair Spiedie Sauce and a pizza from the Vestal Bakery toted in her checked baggage. Wonderful memories to re-visit, made-up or otherwise! Thanks

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  2. So, I’m from Endicott, living in central Maine. And I bet one of the few folks that follows your site who knows what a proper spiedie is. And this is certainly a good start over salamida’s marinade. Given the state of Italian bread in Maine, I can understand wanting to substitute . But this needs to be served on bread, not a roll. My family has always used marble rye, which you can get ok around here. The only problem is no decent spiedie skewers. In Binghamton you can get a proper skewer that fits two at a time in the grill. With corn it is the perfect utensil free meal…

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  3. I live in Binghamton, NY, we make speidies with venison, chicken or lamb. I think lamb & pork were the originals. With venison you start marinating on Wednesday for grilling on the weekend. The Speidie Fest Balloon Rally is held at Otsinigo Park in Binghamton at the beginning of August each year. There are balloon launches at 6am & 6 pm for 3 days. Lots of music, kiddie rides, craft fair & “made in New York “ tent featuring products produced in New York State. A great event. Speidi cooking contests featuring home cooks, as well as celebrities & chefs. Nice recipe.

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