To New Yorkers, the consummate breakfast sandwich is a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll, but across the Hudson, Jerseyites know that pork roll is where it’s at. But what exactly is it? We answer your burning pork roll questions and tell you the best sandwich shops and delis to chow down on the Garden State’s porkiest, meltiest pork roll sandwiches. Because who needs Williamsburg when you have Jersey City?
What is a pork roll?
Taylor ham—colloquially known as pork roll—is the king of breakfast meats in New Jersey, Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania. It’s made from cured, smoked and minced pork stuffed inside a bag then cut into thick slices. It’s sold at most supermarkets, or it’s served griddled and stacked inside sandwiches or on bagels at delis all over the state—bonus points if you get it at a 24-hour diner, easily one of the best things to do in NJ.
Where did it come from?
It was born in Trenton in 1856, when state senator John Taylor created the meat and named it after himself (#notsohumblebrag). He later had to remove “ham” from the name because it isn’t technically ham, but North Jersey residents still use the moniker. South Jersey is where you’re more likely to find pork roll on a menu.
How it is famous?
There’s an official pork roll festival in Trenton every year, and it’s the star of New Jersey songs like Ween’s "Pork Roll Egg and Cheese."
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