Pork roll is a processed meat commonly available in New Jersey and neighboring states. It was developed in 1856 by John Taylor of Trenton, and sold as “Taylor’s Prepared Ham” until 1906. Though since then food labeling regulations require Taylor and all other manufacturers to label it “pork roll”, people in northern New Jersey still call it “Taylor ham”. The “Is it pork roll or Taylor ham?” question is a notable element of New Jersey culture, and the division over what name one uses divides the state along roughly north–south geographic lines.
How to Cook With Pork Roll
While pork roll is fully cooked in the production process, it isn’t served cold on sandwiches the way other deli meats typically are. Instead, it’s griddled on both sides and served hot, similar to Canadian bacon.
Pork roll must be sliced into thin rounds before it’s fried, grilled, or seared. It’s either sold in cylinders to be sliced at home or may be sold in pre-sliced packages.
To cook pork roll, make several shallow cuts half an inch to one inch deep around the edges of each slice before cooking to keep the meat from curling while it cooks, allowing it to maintain contact with the cooking surface.
Heat butter in a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat, then add the slices in a single layer. Cook for a few minutes on each side until browned. Serve the hot pork roll on a bagel, roll, or English muffin with scrambled or fried eggs and cheese, or serve it as part of a breakfast platter with eggs, toast, and home fries.
Pork Roll Recipes
Easy Bacon Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
Christmas Breakfast Casserole
Where to Buy Pork Roll
Pork roll can be found in the breakfast meat section of supermarkets, grocery stores, butcher shops, delis, and corner stores throughout New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland and Delaware. It’s typically served on breakfast sandwiches at diners, brunch restaurants, gas stations, and food carts around the Mid-Atlantic.
Store pork roll in its original packaging in your refrigerator. Refrigerate any remaining pork roll in airtight packaging, such as a plastic zip-top bag or layers of plastic wrap. Unopened pork roll’s shelf life should last through the use-by date on the package. After opening, pork roll can be used for up to five days.
Pork roll can be frozen in its original packaging or in an airtight plastic bag or container for up to two months for best quality. Thaw frozen pork roll overnight in the refrigerator.
Nutrition and Benefits
Pork roll is high in protein, with nine grams in a two-ounce serving of Taylor brand, and contains Vitamins A and C as well as iron. It’s also high in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol and moderately high in sodium.1