17 Mar The History of Pork Roll
No matter how you slice it, pork roll is a New Jersey delicacy. Well ahead of Spam and bologna in a league of its own is pork roll in all of its salty, tangy, delicious glory. Certainly enjoyable on its own, pork roll shines brightest when sandwiched between its two favorite neighbors—egg and cheese, of course.
Pork roll, affectionately known as Taylor Ham, got its name from its originator, John Taylor. He is said to have invented the meat in Trenton in 1856 and called it “Taylor Ham.” George Washington Case, of Belle Meade, NJ, created his own original recipe shortly thereafter in 1870. Because it is not technically ham, Taylor Ham got a name change to “pork roll” in 1906 when the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 went into effect. Although its inventor, John Taylor, tried to trademark the name “Pork Roll,” he was denied in 1910, and competitors began popping up from there on out.
Like colcannon, one of the Irish food’s featured in our St. Patrick’s Day blog post, pork roll, egg, and cheese is so popular, it also has its own song, but did you know it even has its own race? The Lakewood Blueclaws minor league baseball team has a pork roll, egg, and cheese race during the fourth inning of every home game. Ask any New Jersey native that has lived in another state, and they’ll tell you—no one understands it the way we do.
The original maker, Taylor Provisions, and two other New Jersey companies, Case and Loeffler’s Gourmet, produce the majority of the pork roll in the United States. A few other small companies make the delightfully salted breakfast meat too, however, it can rarely be found outside of the tri-state area. It’s debatable whether pork roll, egg, & cheese is served best on a bagel or a hard roll, but why argue over something so great?
Stop by our deli at 245 Drum Point Road in Brick and try the unofficial state meat any way you like. On special this week is a classic pork roll, egg, & cheese sandwich and large coffee for $4.99.