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Is It Pork Roll Or Taylor Ham? New Jersey’s Great Debate.

It only takes two words to know whether someone is from North Jersey or South Jersey. Those two words are Pork Roll OR Taylor Ham. What you call this delicious breakfast (lunch, and dinner) staple is one of the most accurate measures of your geographical location within the state. That’s a scientific fact, but don’t quote me on it. Recent polls show that Taylor Ham is most popular in Bergen, Essex, Sussex, Passaic, Morris, Union and northern Warren County, while Pork Roll rules in the rest. Still, Monmouth County is fairly divided.

It is a major point of contention and is certainly responsible for a fair share of fights. How much blood must be shed? Can we amicably settle the debate? It seems like a cut and dry answer – it clearly says Pork Roll on the label. BUT, there are lots of things that have one name on their label, yet are called something else.

Many people would call this Chapstick. But Chap-Stick is actually the brand, lip balm is the product. Not all permanent markers are Sharpie, not all adhesive bandages are Band-Aid brand, not all tissues are Kleenex, but those words are commonly accepted. So I suppose it’s a matter of preference, right? Well, here are the facts:

The scrumptious spiced ham was developed in 1856 by John Taylor of Trenton, New Jersey. It was originally sold as “Taylor Ham,” but after other producers entered the market, USDA food labeling regulations required Taylor to designate it as a “pork roll” alongside their competitors. In 1906, packaging was adjusted to reflect this change.

Taylor is not the only brand of “Pork Roll”, Case is also a major manufacturer.

BOTH Taylor Ham And Taylor Pork Roll are registered trademarks.

So which is it? Pork Roll seems to have a bigger backing. The Taylor Ham Facebook Page has nearly 18,000 fans, but the Pork Roll Page packs in nearly 45,000. New Jersey has an annual Pork Roll Festival, and there is even a Pork Roll Queen. Where are all the Taylor Ham lovers out there? Share this post and show your support! Pork Roll lovers, let everyone know that you’re coming out on top, terminology-wise. Let’s all weigh in and finally settle this debate! Or, we could always call it Regional Breakfast Meat… Whatever you call it, it’s not the same without egg and cheese.

Kristen Koennemann
Kristen is a freelance writer, editor and social-media manager who really loves her state. She's here to share all that New Jersey has to offer with residents and the rest of the world.