Thursday, July 18, 2019

What's A Taylor Pork Roll?

     It's kind of Spam's ancestor, dating back to the 19th Century, invented by John Taylor of Hamilton Square, New Jersey and originally sold as "Taylor's Prepared Ham," a lunchmeat-diameter roll of, well, finely diced ham, or at least smoked pork and some spices.

     In 1906, Uncle Sam promulgated an official definition of ham, and Mr. Taylor's product wasn't included.  So it became, officially at least, "pork roll," and in New Jersey, they argue over which of the two names is right.  Of course they do; there's no fight like as family fight, after all.

     But whatever they call it, they eat it, often as a breakfast meat.  Some Taylor Pork Roll showed up in the "grab & go" presliced meats at our local grocer's deli counter and, being me, I bought it to find out what it was.

     Last night, casting about for something for a light dinner for Tam and me, I fried up four slices -- two just about cover a slice of rye bread with a little overlap in the middle -- melted a dab of butter in the pan, layered two slices of pork roll with a slice of Pepper Jack cheese on each side and slices of rye outside that, and fried the resulting sandwiches in the butter.

     Yum!  They might be onto something in New Jersey.  Those were just about the best fried ham & cheese sandwiches I've had!  Okay, fine, it's not legally "ham;" but it'll do, pig, it'll do.

     (Served it with cauliflower pickled with beets and garlic, which is another very fine treat from the grocery.  I'm going to have to use that, and maybe some regular pickled beets, to make purple pickled eggs, a rare but treasured treat from my youth.)


Paul said...

It's never Taylor pork roll. In Philadelphia and South Jersey it's just pork roll; in North Jersey, if they have it, it's Taylor ham. Next, you should learn about scrapple...

JayNola said...

I'm sorry Ms. Ecks but I must protest the lack of photos of said pork roll!! This sounds very good!

Roberta X said...

Paul, I was just quoting the label the grocer put on it. It did seem...temporizing.

Rich in NC said...

I'm from Jerzee actually from North Jerzee and up there (I moved out of the Free and Democratic Peoples Republic of New Jersey in 2010) it's called by us natives as Taylor Ham. It's labeled Taylor's Ham or John Taylor's Ham and there are less appetizing knock offs available from supermarkets around the greater NJ NY PA DE CT metropolitan area. If you are from South Jerzee or Philly, it's called pork roll. Taylor Ham is pork roll (all of it) But not all pork roll is Taylor Ham. There have been martial conversations about it. However, people from my home town ate Taylor Ham egg and cheese on a hard roll for breakfast back when I was a pup.
I'm glad you found it and like it. [resistance is futile - the domination of the world by jerzee food standards continues apace]

Rich in NC said...

Anyone can get Taylor Ham from these people. It doesn't last long around our house.