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Monday, August 15, 2016

If You're From NJ . . .

Then you know about Pork Roll. If not, you probably won't understand (or appreciate) the saying on this T-shirt Grenville bought at a local thrift store this week.

Because "pork roll" is definitely "a Jersey thing " and as NJ natives we really know that.

Never heard of Pork Roll?

This combination of miscellaneous pork product, sugar, spices, and salt is unlike any other processed meat product in the U.S. and it's processed, smoked, packaged, and sold in NJ and almost nowhere else. 

John Taylor created his secret recipe for the product in 1856 in Trenton, NJ, selling it as Taylor Ham. Competitors like George Washington Case, a farmer and butcher from Belle Mead, NJ, created a own recipe for pork roll in 1870. Other producers entered the market and subsequent food labeling regulations required Taylor to designate his product as a "pork roll" alongside its competitors. A 1910 legal case ruled that the words "pork roll" could not be trademarked. 

Known as Taylor Pork Roll or Taylor Ham, this product is most commonly available in regional areas of several East Coast states: NJ, NY, DE, parts of PA and MD. Luckily, we were able to find it on the VA eastern shore — but not here in NH. 
It's a favorite NJ breakfast meat eaten as part of a sandwich called a Jersey Breakfast or Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese. In these combos, pork roll is fried and served with a fried egg and cheese on a hard roll (or bagel). On a grilled burger, it's a Trenton Burger in northern NJ; a Jersey Burger in southern and central NJ.

Pork roll is almost always sliced and pan-fried or grilled with one to four cuts made along its outer edge to prevent slices from curling in the middle and cooking unevenly. 

In grocery stores, it comes packed in a cotton bag in 1, 1.5, and 3 lb. unsliced rolls or packaged in boxes containing 4, 6, or 8 slices. It's also sold at delicatessensdiners, lunch stands and food trucks and it's a basic food group in many NJ public school cafeterias.

It's probably a very good thing that we can't find it locally in NH — there isn't anything nutritious or healthy in pork roll . . . but it really tastes good !

Anyone have a regional food favorite that's harder to find elsewhere?

10 comments:

Sandra said...

I am sure i would like it... i had never heard of sweet Lebanon until i married bob, seems it is a PA thing. so now i know two things i did not kow about

Emma Springfield said...

Sounds interesting. I am not big on pork for some reason. I would certainly try it though.

L. D. said...

Being that we raise so much pork in out state and many processing plants, I am surprised that we don't have pork roll. Maybe our Amana Colonies area sell a similar product in their German community.

William Kendall said...

I've never heard of it, but it sounds tasty.

Michelle said...

Never heard of this, but I would like to try it!

Connie said...

Pork roll is new to me. I've never heard of it.

Anvilcloud said...

And I say to myself what a wonderful world.

diane b said...

Its interesting how some areas of the same country have their food specialities.

Lynn said...

Sounds a little like Spam! I have never heard of that.

They sell something called Liver Mush in the north Georgia / western North Carolina mountains. It looks just the way it reads. I would not eat it, but someone must like it, because you see in the grocery stores up there.

Mildred said...

Very interesting; I had not heard of this before. I know John would especially love it with eggs/bagel!

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