A recent question posted by TAP Editor Roselle/Roselle Park – Kathy Lloyd began the debate of Taylor Ham or Pork Roll? This article is dedicated to the primarily New Jersey delicacy.
So you ask, “What is the difference between Taylor Ham and Taylor Pork Roll”?
Think of it as Coke is to Cola, Taylor Ham is to Pork Roll.
The name debate seems to be between North Jersey locals calling it Taylor Ham, and South Jersey and Philadelphians calling it “Pork Roll.”
From Wikipedia: Taylor is the brand name for pork roll made by Taylor Provisions, Inc., of Trenton. Taylor also manufactures pork roll under the Trenton brand. Trenton by Taylor has been an advertiser on the outfield wall at Mercer County Waterfront Park in Trenton since it opened in 1994. Other companies making pork roll include Case Pork Roll, Kohler Provisions and Loeffler Gourmet. (The Case Pork Roll manufacturing facility recently had a fire (2012) but plans to reopen soon.)
Taylor kept the recipe for the product he created in 1856 secret. Taylor originally called his product “Taylor’s Prepared Ham”, but was forced to change the name after the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed, since the product did not meet the new legal definition of “ham”. The new name was “Pork Roll” and it was marketed as both “Taylor’s Pork Roll” and “Trenton Pork Roll”. Competitors marketed products with similar names like “Rolled Pork” and “Trenton style Pork Roll” and were sued by Taylor. A 1910 legal case ruled that the words “Pork Roll” could not be trademarked.
In 1910 it was described as “a food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag in such form that it could be quickly prepared for cooking by slicing without removal from the bag.”The product is generally eaten sliced and grilled, like Canadian bacon. A slice fits neatly on a round roll, and it is frequently eaten as part of a breakfast sandwich, most often also including egg and cheese.
I have many New Jersey friends who now live in other states that miss Taylor Ham/Pork roll immensely. Just post a picture of the standard Taylor Ham, egg and cheese on a hard roll to get the juices and Face book comments flowing. For me, this type of sandwich has become a rare treat usually enjoyed as a Sunday brunch at one of New Jersey’s local diners. A treat as rare and unique as the state of New Jersey itself!