The Story Behind Taylor Ham/Pork Roll


Jason DeMicco, Writer

Have you ever heard someone say they want a Taylor ham sandwich or pork roll sandwich? Well those two are the same type of meat. There has been a debate for many years about what to call the delicious meat. Here is the story behind this dilemma.

The history of the meat begins in 1865 Trenton, NJ and it starts with a guy called John Taylor. John Taylor was born on October 6th, 1836. He made the meat by mixing a blend of spices, salt, a sugar cure, preservatives, and meat. Then he smoked it and the Taylor ham or Pork Roll was born. He named the meat Taylor ham after himself and began selling it in Trenton.


Now how did the meat get the name Pork Roll? Even though Taylor made it first, that doesn’t mean others weren’t doing it themselves. In 1870, a farmer and butcher named George Washington Case was making his own meat. He sold the meat on the boardwalks and branched out to other retailers eventually. Then came the Pure Food and Drug Act which made Taylor change the name because it didn’t match the legal regulations. This caused the name to become Pork Roll.

Now a debate has existed since then for New Jersey. People that live in North Jersey still call it by its original name Taylor ham. However South Jersey-ans call it Pork Roll. It is predicted that the people will never agree on one. Even with the disagreement, New Jersey-ans are proud of their breakfast meat. It’s a New Jersey icon!