The History of Pork Roll

Although several manufacturers make a generic product named “Pork Roll,” John Taylor’s Original Pork Roll is what most New Jerseyeans ask for by name.  Made since 1856, it is a main staple of diners, kitchens, holiday tables, and boardwalks in the Garden State.

John Taylor Colonial Inn Atlantic City NJ | 1607 Boardwalk T… | Flickr

How long does pork roll last out of a refrigerator? It has been made since 1856. It is still made the same way, pre-cooked, smoked, made with preservatives the same way our ancestors (and John Taylor) made it for almost 170 years. It was a staple on New Jersey Boardwalks at least since the turn of the century. The last century, not the current one!

What is the difference between Taylor Ham and Taylor Pork Roll?  The proper name according to the manufacturer, Taylor Provisions of Trenton NJ, is John Taylor’s “Taylor Pork Roll.” It was originally called “Taylor Ham” and although the name was changed in 1906 many of us in North Jersey still call it simply, “Taylor Ham.”   Think of it as Kleenex is to tissues, Taylor Ham is to Pork Roll.  This great debate, taylor ham vs pork roll,  has even been mentioned by several Governors of New Jersey as well as a former President of the US.

The name debate seems to be between North Jersey locals calling it Taylor Ham, and South Jersey and Philadelphians calling it “Pork Roll.”

Maybe Middletown, NJ is the dividing line? We hear from people all over the country telling us they never hear it called “pork roll” while just as many insist they’ve never heard of “Taylor Ham.”

According to a sales representative at Taylor Provisions, people continue to use the two names interchangeably. We also asked him about Taystrips, or Tastystrips, he said they have not been manufactured for many years and have no plans at this time to do so in the future.

Shop around the internet for the lowest prices on Taylor Ham, pork roll AND shipping. Watch out for those sites that appear to charge less but make their profits on shipping. will charge you only what it costs to arrive at your door without adding handling charges.

“Jersey Pork Roll” is the registered, copyrighted name of this company, it is NOT the name of a particular brand of pork roll.  The  name was registered and copyrighted in 2004. NJPorkRoll is also a name registered to this company.  Neither were ever in use as generic names for pork roll prior to 2005.


From Wikipedia:

Taylor ham is the common name for pork roll, a food developed by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey, late in the 19th century.

Taylor is the brand name for pork roll made by Taylor Provisions, Inc., of Trenton. Taylor also manufactures pork roll under the Trenton brand. Trenton by Taylor has been an advertiser on the outfield wall at Mercer County Waterfront Park in Trenton since it opened in 1994.

Taylor kept the recipe for the product he created in 1856 secret. Taylor originally called his product “Taylor’s Prepared Ham”, but was forced to change the name after the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed, since the product did not meet the new legal definition of “ham”. The new name was “Pork Roll” and it was marketed as both “Taylor’s Pork Roll” and “Trenton Pork Roll”. Competitors marketed products with similar names like “Rolled Pork” and “Trenton style Pork Roll” and were sued by Taylor. A 1910 legal case ruled that the words “Pork Roll” could not be trademarked.

In 1910 it was described as “a food article made of pork, packed in a cylindrical cotton sack or bag in such form that it could be quickly prepared for cooking by slicing without removal from the bag.”

Pork roll is generally sold in 1, 1.5, and 3 lb. unsliced rolls packed in a cotton bag, as well as 6 oz. boxes containing 4, 6, or 8 slices. Larger rolls and packages are available for food service customers. It is also sold at delicatessens, diners, lunch stands and foodtrucks in the region.It has also been a staple in public school cafeterias in New Jersey.

The product is generally eaten sliced and grilled, like Canadian bacon. A slice fits neatly on a round roll, and it is frequently eaten as part of a breakfast sandwich, most often also including egg and cheese.

Pork roll generally comes in one-, three-, and six-pound sizes, as well as six-ounce boxes containing eight single-thickness slices or four double-thickness slices.