Spiedies (pronounced “speedies”) are a regional treat I discovered on a recent trip to Binghamton, NY. They’re essentially shish kebabs without the vegetables—cubes of lamb, pork, chicken or beef marinated and grilled on a spit or skewer (“spiedi” is Italian for “skewers” and “spiedini” is meat cooked on skewers). The classic way to serve them is bare, no condiments, on a puffy Italian bun, with maybe a little bit of the marinade poured on. (Some online spiedie commenters say they put mayo or Miracle Whip on the bun.)
I had pork spiedies at the Spiedie and Rib Pit and took an immediate liking to this moist, tender meat. Investigation led to some recipe experimentation as well as purchase of two popular commercial spiedie marinades from Amazon to conduct my spiedies taste test.
You can see from the picture how different they are: Lupo’s is heavy on the oil with a red tinge from paprika, while Salamanca’s “State Fair” marinade resembles a classic vinaigrette with lots of herbs. My own concoction was a more traditional (if you believe Wikipedia, which has a very good backgrounder) mix of white vinegar, lemon juice, oil and a few spices but with more vinegar than a dressing you’d put on a salad.
For my taste test, I used boneless chicken thighs and marinated them for 20 hours in the three different sauces, then grilled and served on appropriate Italian rolls. (Long marinating times are another key: if it was pork or lamb I’d give it a couple of days.)
The envelope please: though Lupo’s seemed a bit oily and bland when I tasted it out of the bottle, it scored first with all three tasters. My own sauce was second, with State Fair last. The differences were slight—all preps were delicious and the meat wonderfully tender after its long bath in the marinade.
There is an annual Spiedie and Balloon Festival in Binghamton, and many natives who have moved away go to considerable lengths to get bottled spiedie sauce, the State Fair apparently being most popular. (It is sold in half gallon jugs on Amazon.) But I recommend you get the Lupo’s, or else make your own. (My recipe was subsequently corrected as a tribute to Lupo’s victory, adding in some paprika.)