TRENTON, NJ – In 1856, John Taylor created his secret recipe for his special brand of minced pork and spices that we have all come to know as pork roll…or is it, Taylor Ham? That’s been the debate in New Jersey since 1906 when “Taylor’s Prepared Ham” was forced to change its name because it failed to meet the new legal requirement by the Pure Food and Drug Act. Taylor’s Prepared Ham could no longer be called ham. The company, which is headquartered in Trenton, New Jersey claims to be the inventor of the Jersey “pork roll“, meat so unique to the Garden State that most Americans have only read about it, let alone know of the century-long feud over what to call it.
Even though it dropped the “Taylor Ham” moniker officially 114 years ago, Taylor Pork Roll is still called Taylor Ham in many parts of the state. In the far northern reaches of New Jersey, Taylor’s Pork Roll is still referred to as Taylor Ham. Technically, nowadays, all of New Jersey’s brands of “pork roll” are called pork roll, by law. During the product’s heyday, it operated eight sandwich shops along the Jersey Shore including restaurants in Cape May, Atlantic City, Wildwood, Seaside Heights and Asbury Park. The stores closed in the early 1980’s, but now, you can find a pork roll egg and cheese sandwich on a hard roll or a bagel at pretty much any breakfast restaurant at the shore…and in most parts of New Jersey.
One of Taylor’s main competitors is Case’s Pork Roll, also a Trenton made product. The company also claims it’s New Jersey’s original “Jersey Ham”.
Pork roll egg and cheese has achieved stardom status in New Jersey and in 2014, it was designated as the official sandwich of the Garden State.