Friday, March 23, 2012

From the Canned Goods Aisle: Hamdingers

Product: Hamdingers
Company: Patrick Cudahy
Years: 1976-?

What would you say if I told you that there was once a time when you could actually have a choice when purchasing fake processed meat in a can? I know, "Who cares" was my response too. But then I realized that the magical treat I am going to tell you about comes from my home state of Wisconsin, and I felt it my duty to represent. I am sick of people always saying that the only things to come out of Wisconsin are brats, cheeseheads, and beer. It's time that they add another thing to that list: Hamdingers.

Hamdinger's Ad - 1976

Hamdingers were a short lived meat product produced by the Patrick Cudahy Company out of Cudahy, WI in the mid 70's (they trademarked the name "Hamdinger" in 1976, and that Trademark has expired and is available if you feel the need to own it).  The product was sliced ham patties, about the size of a hamburger patty, and it came in a round can. Like Spam, it became a great meat to fry up with some eggs for breafast, but the great thing about Hamdingers is that it came in individually sliced portions, so you could grab a patty and fry it up for that perfect Hamdinger sandwich.

Hamdingers became a recurring joke used on the TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the product often would be brought up by the cast. In one episode, they found an escape pod in a large box of Hamdingers. The reason nobody ever found it before was that nobody had any desire to open the box.

Hamdingers were so short lived, they have sort of become lore, in that there isn't a ton of information about them, but people definitely  do remember eating them in the late 70's. I'm not sure if it was a regional thing that pretty much kept to the central states or if it could be found in other parts of the country.

Do you remember eating Hamdingers? If so, please let us know what you thought and what memories you had of them!

The world needs more meat in a can. Patrick Cudahy, the time is now.


  1. When I was in school in the '80s, we often had a fried ham sandwich that sounds very much like these. A hamburger-sized round patty of ham that was not just a slice of ham but more like a processed food. I loved them, and wish I could buy them today. One of the lost foods of my childhood that I miss dearly.

  2. I grew up in Texas and, while we didn't have Hamdingers, we did have Hormel Ham Patties, which came in a can. Picture here:

    I loved them but my folks wouldn't buy them very often, as they felt the patties were too expensive!

  3. I still remember the jingle, word-for-word from the old commercial!

    "Ham Dingers, Ham Dingers, Ham Burgers made with ham...Ham Dingers Ham Patties, just heat 'em up in a frying pan.

    Ham Dingers, Ham Dingers, Ham Burgers made with ham... Ham Dingers, Ham Patties the best Hamburger you've ever had...Best Ham - burger you've ever had...HAM DINGERS! "

  4. I completely forgot about Hamdingers until today when I decided to make rosettes! My rosette irons (swedish cookie forms)have been stored perfectly in a Hamdinger can for over 35 years. I got online to see what year they were around. Mid-70's sound about right, we lived near West Bend at the time. As I recall we enjoyed them heated with a brown sugar/mustard glaze. Thanks for the memories!

    1. I'd love to see a picture of that Hamdinger can!!!

  5. I remember them clearly growing up in New Jersey. My dad made them for us, he'd put them on a hamburger bun with mayonnaise and pineapple. I am now a vegetarian.

  6. They were a frequent on our dinner table. My mom made them with a brown sugar and crushed pineapple sauce. They were delicious. I miss them.

  7. My dad made these for my brother and I in the early 80s, in Pennsylvania.

  8. Most useful for escaping from space

  9. Yes, my mother bought Hamdingers when I was a kid, in the 1970s. This was in New York. I remember that my brothers and I liked them!