The 28th annual Spiedie Fest begins Friday. But what is it that makes the festival's namesake so popular? Our Melissa Kakareka spoke with some wpiedie experts to find out more the history of the spiedie.
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BROOME COUNTY, N.Y. -- The types of meat and marinades may have evolved over time, but the spiedie is a dish that has been enjoyed in Broome County for several decades.
The spiedie recipe is one of the most popular dishes in Broome County.
"The easiest way to describe it is it’s a shish kabob without vegetables. Te way the history was, it was originally lamb, lamb cut into bite size cubes," said Lip’s co-owner Sam Lupo.
"A spiedie is basically chunks of marinated meat on a skewer and charbroiled and served on bread. The basic marinade has always been an Italian based marinade, but some people like to put their own concoctions in," said Rob Salamida, owner of the Rob Salamida Company.
Its origins date back to the 1920s. Credit for the spiedie is usually given to two Italian immigrants who lived in Endicott.
"We usually give the Yachavelli brothers, two brothers who immigrated from Italy and lived on North side on Endicott, and one, they argued about who it was, brought a dish that had been popular in their family of marinated meat, in this case, lamb," Broome County Historian Gerald Smith said.
And its popularity continued to spread from there as residents shared their heritage and recipes with one another.
Salamida said, "There were an awful lot of outdoor celebrations and ethnic groups bring whatever they liked to cook. Maybe they didn't cook hamburgers and hot dogs so spiedies were something that people doing."
A trend that's only grown since the start of the Spiedie Fest 28 years ago.
"I think the explosion of the Spiedie Fest and Balloon Rally, now they are bringing in around 40,000 to 50,000 people for an event that’s all based on marinated meat on a stick," Smith said.
And one that is here to stay.
Now if you're one of the few who hasn't experience the Spiedie craze, those who make the dish say there are a few things you should know. They say it’s all about marinating the meat days ahead of time as well as making sure that your meat of choice isn't overcooked. And the number one tip is to eat it plain without any toppings or extra sauces.
Those are just some tips to keep in mind if you are planning on cooking or eating spiedies at Spiedie Fest this weekend.
And motorists traveling through Broome County this weekend should expect some delays to accommodate an increase in traffic coming to the area for Spiedie Fest.
The on ramp to Interstate 81 northbound from Route 11 at Interchange 5 will be closed from noon Friday, August 3rd to 11 a.m. on Monday, August 6th.
Interstate 81 northbound can be accessed by traveling northbound on Route 11/ Front Street to Interchange 6.
Southbound Front Street between Bevier Street and Prospect Street will have one lane of travel open to traffic.