Taylor Pork Roll History
The history of Taylor pork roll is somewhat obscure. There are reports of pork roll being made during the revolutionary war and is believed to be carried my the troops of the Continental Army at the Battle of Trenton.
However, it wasn’t until 1856 when Mr. John Taylor of Hamilton Square, NJ began producing a meat product that he called Taylor’s Prepared Ham. He used chopped pork and spices, sugar curing and then hickory smoked. Taylor was a state senator as well as a businessman and there are still streets and buildings in Trenton that bear his name to this day.
Taylor was not the only company selling this pork product in the early days. George Washington Case began selling Case’s Pork Pack in 1870 from his farm in Bell Meade. His product’s original packaging consisted of his pork product wrapped in corn husks.
In 1906, the government determined that Taylor’s Peppered Ham did not meet the definition of “ham” and so the name was changed to Taylor pork roll. In the following years, other companies began selling their own versions of pork roll.
Of course, people are slow to adapt to change and fans of Taylor’s Peppered Ham stubbornly held on to the original name. The term “Taylor Ham” is still in use more than 100 years after the official name change.
Today, the terms pork roll and taylor ham both mean the same thing but depending on where you are in New Jersey, you could get some strange looks. There is a definite North Jersey/South Jersey divide when it comes to what you call your favorite breakfast meat.
Northern New Jersey is the home of taylor ham. Central and Southern New Jersey is where you eat pork roll for breakfast. Of course, there are many exceptions and crossover areas but you can expect to get some flack if you order a taylor ham, egg and cheese in Cherry Hill!
Taylor Provisions still produces Taylor pork roll. Case’s Pork Roll Company is still producing pork roll from their facilities in Trenton, NJ.