The Slim Jim Test Kitchen
Snap into a Slim Jim!
Upon researching my white trash recipes page, I was a little shocked to find almost no recipes incorporating that most common of convenience store meat snacks: the Slim Jim. Products like Coca-Cola and the Twinkie have volumes of recipes dedicated just to them, and yet the humble Slim Jim has been cast aside, allocated to camping trips, late night tavern fare and jr high school buses. Somewhere in history there has certainly been a Slim Jim casserole, spun out of the desperation of a nearly bare cupboard, a nearly empty wallet, and an unexpected dinner guest. Dare I say some famished woman in her second trimester has sampled the forbidden combination of a Slim Jim fry-up, with pancakes and maple syrup? I say it is indeed likely! I shall take it upon myself to go spelunking in this previously under-navigated cave.
Test Recipes and Their Outcomes:
Slim Jim Chili Mac
How U' Doin?
Test Recipe #1 Deviled Jims
1 extra large ('Monster' sized) Slim Jim, cut into chunks
1 small jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 rib celery, trimmed of top and chopped
4-6 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp yellow mustard
1/8 tsp cayenne
pepper to taste
In a food processor, mince first 4 ingredients (until tiny pieces but not pureed)
Combine minced mixture in a small bowl with remaining ingredients. Serve at once with crackers or crudités.
Prep time: about 5 minutes
The Verdict: B -
Presentable To House Guests
This is a rather tasty spread for crackers. The Slim Jim pairs nicely with the vegetables - which give a subtle crunch to the texture. The smokiness of the Slim Jim lingers on the palate quite a long time, as does the onion. In retrospect, scallions would be a better choice than onion. I would avoid salting, as the Slim Jim has plenty of salt to season the dip. If I make it again, I will probably add some parsley or red pepper for color. Also, if I had any mayonnaise in the house, I would've used it for part of the sour cream component - and I suspect this would be a good addition. Letting the mix sit overnight actually diminished the palatability - the smoky flavor was slightly overwhelming the other flavors.
Test Recipe #2: Slim Jim Chili Mac
This recipe is perfect for a camping trip or perhaps a post-apocalyptic romantic dinner, as all of the main ingredients are non-perishable and easily found at your local (American) convenience store.
1 extra large ('Monster' sized) Slim Jim, sliced lengthwise and cut into chunks
1/2 can of any beer
2 cups of cooked and drained pasta of your choice (I used shells)
1 can of Fritos Mild Cheddar cheese sauce
1 tsp chili seasoning (or 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne)
pepper to taste
(salt to taste)
optional: shredded cheddar or jack cheese
In a saucepan, heat the beer and slim jim chunks to boiling. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain off liquid. Process Slim Jim in food processor until it is a fine mince (or chop into desired small pieces when cooled). Return to saucepan, adding cheese sauce, spices, and pasta. Stir over medium to low heat until hot. Serve at once with shredded cheese.
Prep time: about 25 minutes, including 10 minute pasta cooking time
The Verdict: C -
Will suffice if you are really hungry, if you are easy to please, camping, or perhaps baked.
I cooked the Jims in beer, both to soften the meat and to remove some of the salt, grease and smoke flavor - and I believe that was a good move. Look at the stunning amount of red greasy sludge that is sucked out of the Slim Jims when you boil them:
rendered Jim grease
Now for the foodie critique: The chili mac was surprisingly bland, as the cheese sauce coats your tongue with an odd waxiness. I didn't salt it, thinking the Slim Jims and cheese sauce would be salty enough - and it could've used a bit of salt at the end. The Slim Jims were actually subtle and added a nice meaty texture and flavor. The addition of the shredded cheese greatly improved the flavor, and I recommend using it if you can procure some.
If I was to replicate this recipe, I would opt for a box of macaroni and cheese (as prepared) instead of plain pasta to increase the cheese flavor, but obviously this would drive up the cost a bit and might require some extra added dairy as well. Obviously, if you have the cash and a decent grocery store, this recipe could be improved by leaps and bounds by using quality cheese instead of or in addition to the cheese sauce - but then, you wouldn't probably be settling for Slim Jim as an ingredient if that was the case!
Test Recipe #3: Sloppy Jims
You know, the economy really sucks right now. Plus this one might also be good for camping.
1 can of rinsed and drained black beans
1 Extra Large ('Monster' sized) Slim Jim, prepared as above for Chili Mac (chopped and boiled in beer or another liquid then minced)
1/4 cup tomato sauce
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon of yellow mustard
pepper to taste
(I used a 1/2 tsp of 'soul food seasoning' as well, if you have it - or whatever savory seasoning blend you like to use)
With a fork, smash 1/2 of the can of beans until they are slightly chunky (but not completely smooth). In saucepan, add all ingredients and stir over medium heat until hot, not quite boiling, and until sugar is completely melted. Remove from heat and allow to sit 5 minutes. Serve on buns or toast as you would a "sloppy joe".
Prep time: 25 minutes, with boiling of Slim Jim
The Verdict: C +
Not Nearly as Bad as You Think
This is very reminiscent of a sloppy joe. The texture is slightly less toothsome than the classic hamburger version, but there is still a meatiness there, an umami, as the Japanese would say. It improved in flavor and texture upon sitting overnight in the fridge and being re-heated. The sauce is basically my own mom's sauce - so, for me, it is my own sloppy joe memories being tapped into. It is tomatoey and slightly sweet and spicy. If your mom used the canned, go for it and use that kind instead of the tomato sauce, mustard and brown sugar (watching the amount, however, as it could turn into black bean soup if you add too much sloppy joe mix). This is actually one I'd make again if I lived with a hot plate and no fridge. Ketchup, of course, could be substituted for the sugar and tomato sauce. (I was actually out of ketchup or I would've used it in the first place) This dish could almost be called, uh, "healthy". Well, if it wasn't for all of that mechanically separated chicken and what not. As is often the case, it's much better with a slice of cheese on buttered, grilled bread.
Test Recipe #4: Jim-rizo, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Burrito
Get it...? "chorizo"
1 regular sized Slim Jim
1 Tbsp of your favorite salsa
1/8 cup shredded cheese
1 small tortilla
Heat skillet over medium heat. Toast your tortilla in the hot skillet on both sides for about 10-20 seconds, until it is pliable and warmed through. Set it aside on your serving plate. Chop Slim Jim into very small chunks, slicing lengthwise first. Render some of the fat from the Slim Jim by frying the chunks in the hot skillet for a minute or two. If there is not enough grease there to keep your egg from sticking, add a teaspoon of butter or oil, or a big spray of nonstick spray. Either crack your egg right in the pan, or scramble it first in a small bowl and add it - depending on how you like your egg. Cook as you desire your egg, and spoon into tortilla. Top with cheese and salsa.
Prep time: 5 minutes
What's In A Slim Jim? - I love this part: "...of the eight grades of beef classified by the USDA, its 'the bottom three -- utility, cutter and canner -- [that] are typically used in processed foods and come from older steers with partially ossified vertebrae, tougher tissue and generally less reason to live.' " Poor old bull...
Planned Future Theoretical Jim Experiments:
Corndog With A Battered Deep-Fried Slim Jim Handle
Jims In a Blanket With Syrup
Slim Jim Pizza Bites
Pasta Salad with Black Olives and Slim Jims
Lady Gaga pays homage to the late '90s Slim Jim "Eat me!!" guy.
Have a Slim Jim recipe to share? Email me at scarystory @ weirdness .com
I really don't even like Slim Jims. Never have. ~White Trash Peg