What are Spiedies?
The Spiedie (pronounced "SPEE-dee") is arguably one of the most revered, yet at the same time, one of the most undiscovered ethnic delicacies within the United States.
Spiedies in their simplest form are cubed pieces of meat that are marinated, cooked on metal skewers over a char-grilled flame and served on Italian bread. To the uninformed, Spiedies are often compared to shish kabob as both are flame-cooked using skewers. That however, is about as close as a shish kabob could ever come to a Spiedie.
The origin of the "spiedie" name comes from the Italian spiedo meaning spit or spiedini referring to cubes or balls of meat cooked on a skewer. And while the specific origin of the Spiedies’ introduction as an ethnic delight is a topic of much debate, there is no doubt that Spiedies were introduced decades ago by Italian immigrants in the Triple Cites (Binghamton, Johnson City, and Endicott) area of upstate New York.
Spiedies have fueled a food service niche that literally spans generations in the Greater Binghamton area. The Triple Cities is home to numerous restaurants specifically dedicated to distinct varieties and presentations of Spiedies as well as to several commercially available Spiedie marinades and sauces.
The Spiedie’s popularity in the Binghamton area has spawned an annual Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally that attracts nearly 100,000 visitors and includes a Spiedie cook-off competition. The Spiedie and the Spiedie Fest were featured on an episode of The Food Network's Unwrapped.
Over the years Spiedies have also been featured in such publications as the NY Times, The Village Voice, and USA Today. Recently Spiedies received national press through a visit by President Obama to the SUNY-Binghamton campus and through an Internet follow-up published by BuzzFeed.