Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll: The True Difference Between The Two

Taylor Ham vs Pork Roll

Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll: The True Difference Between The Two

Across New Jersey, Taylor Ham is a popular breakfast item. It can be found in homes and diners alike. The favorite way to prepare Taylor ham is by slicing it into thin and round pieces and then frying or grilling this delicious meat on the stove. You may not know what Taylor ham is if you are not from New Jersey. Maybe you are thinking that it's similar to a pork roll. What exactly is the difference between Taylor ham and pork roll? Pork roll and Taylor ham are actually the same things. Taylor ham refers to the first and most popular manufacturer of this meat. Other manufacturers process and produce pork rolls. So, a Taylor ham is, in fact, a pork roll, but not all pork rolls are Taylor Ham. To clear up any confusion between the two, let's take a look at this popular meat below. This article will discuss Taylor Ham and pork rolls' differences, history, and popularity.

Taylor Ham vs. Pork Roll: What are the Differences?

The difference between Taylor ham and pork roll lies in who manufactures the product. Taylor Provisions, Inc. was the first manufacturer of the pork roll. It was initially named Taylor's Prepared Ham. However, in 1906, the company was forced to drop the name because it no longer met the requirements to be labeled a ham. Thus, the name pork roll came about. 

Both of these types of meat are a long cylinder roll of pork full of flavor. Additionally, it is a popular breakfast dish in New Jersey. 

Although this meat is great as a breakfast food, it is also delicious on a sandwich. There is actually a story that says Revolutionary War soldiers would carry this product out onto the fields with them during battle. Talk about a rich history!

Taylor ham, pork roll, egg, and a cheese breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll with salt pepper, and ketchup from New Jersey
Taylor Ham is popular in New Jersey. This delicious meat got its start in the 1800s as a flavorful breakfast food. Today, it is still popular in diners and homes.

©Ezume Images/Shutterstock.com

The Flavor of Taylor Ham and Pork Roll

The taste of Taylor ham is exceptionally flavorful. Some describe it as a party for your taste buds. Not just one flavor is present. As a matter of fact, a bite of Taylor ham will present you with sweet, spicey, smokey, and salty simultaneously! 

Some describe pork rolls as tangy and porky; it is pork, after all. If you are a unique and flavorful meat fan, trying a pork roll is worth it! 

Pork rolls are exactly what the name suggests. It is a roll of pork that has been processed, smoked, and packaged. The pork is covered in spices, preservatives, sugar, and spices. 

The History of Taylor Ham and Pork Roll

We know that Taylor Ham and Pork Roll are essentially the same things. How are two separate names responsible for the same product? What is the history there? 

To understand the history, we must go back to the very beginning. In 1856, a popular businessman named John Taylor started to produce Taylor ham. Essentially, it was a roll of meat, originally called Taylor's Ham. 

Everything was going well until 1906. This was when the Pure Food and Drug Act went into effect. This act caused Taylor to change the packaging name on his Taylor Ham because it did not meet the label ham requirements. 

Therefore, the Taylor Ham was renamed pork roll. This was all great until Taylor tried to trademark the name pork roll. However, he was denied the trademark. Of course, when this happened, competitors started coming out of the woodwork. Now, several manufacturers produce pork rolls, but Taylor Ham will always be the original. 

Some say no one can come close to the flavor of the original pork roll, Taylor Ham. However, many have tried.

Nutritional Profile

Regarding the nutritional profile, these two types of meat have so much! It is high in protein and also carries vitamins A and C. Aside from those vitamins, it also contains iron. Conversely, pork roll is also higher in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. It even carries sodium. 

Although this meat is full of vitamins and protein, it's important to remember that it is a highly processed product. Therefore, watching the sodium intake and cholesterol is essential for overall health. Enjoying a pork roll for breakfast can be a hearty and filling way to start the day!

Taylor Ham vs Pork Roll Nutritional Facts

What is Taylor Ham and Pork Roll?

We have established that Taylor ham and pork roll are really the same product. The only difference is who the manufacturer is. So, let's discuss what the product actually entails. 

It is a pork roll with spices, salt, and sugar added to the preserved meat. The pork is then smoked and packaged. 

Taylor Provisions Inc. was the first place to officially produce the pork roll under the name Taylor's Prepared Ham. When it no longer met the requirements to be labeled ham in 1906, the name changed to pork roll.

Taylor Ham goes by John Taylor's Original Pork Roll in New Jersey. However, many still call it Taylor Ham, especially in the Northern part of New Jersey. Taylor Provisions, Inc. also produces another pork roll that goes by Trenton Pork Roll. It's similar to the original Taylor Ham but carries a gentler flavor. 

After processing, the pork roll is put into packaging that looks like a log shape. From there, it can be sliced into thin or thicker slices to be fried, smoked, or grilled.

Can You Substitute Taylor Ham for Pork Roll?

Taylor Ham and pork roll are essentially the same things. The only difference is in who manufactures them. Therefore it is entirely possible to substitute one for the other. Who produces the best pork roll? That will be up to you to decide! 

Taylor ham, pork roll, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll with salt pepper and ketchup from New Jersey
Taylor Ham and pork roll are essentially the same things. The one difference is in who manufactures the meat. Some prefer to go with the original pork roll, the Taylor Ham. Others like to experiment with brands.

©Ezume Images/Shutterstock.com

One Final Note

There may be more similarities than differences regarding Taylor ham and pork rolls, but they're not exactly the same. Let's do a recap of the subtle differences between the two meats:

  • The biggest difference is pork rolls are made by multiple manufacturers, while Taylor ham is just made by one.
  • While they have nearly the same nutritional profile, pork rolls are slightly higher in fat and saturated fat.
  • Their taste profile is almost identical; however, pork rolls are tangier, and Taylor ham is sweeter.

There can be confusion between these two types of meats. After all, they sound like two separate products. However, Taylor Ham was simply the original pork roll. It was produced by Taylor Provisions, Inc. in 1856. It is still a popular breakfast meat in New Jersey! 

Pork roll is often served alongside bacon, ham, and sausage for breakfast. It can be similarly equated to frying a slice of bologna. Although, Taylor Ham is stronger and richer in flavor than bologna is. If you enjoy smokey, salty, and savory flavors for breakfast, frying up a pork roll next to a slice of toast and scrambled eggs is a great way to start the day.

Pork roll refers to the competitors that also produce the same product. A pork roll is a delicious and flavorful cut of processed meat. It has a solid and rich flavor due to the spices and sugar added during processing. Whether or not you enjoy the original pork roll, Taylor Ham, or another version, depends on your preferences. One thing is sure; this product has a rich history and delicious flavor! 

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Taylor ham, pork roll, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a kaiser roll with salt pepper and ketchup from New Jersey

Pork Roll

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com


  • 4 slices of pork roll (Taylor ham)
  • 4 slices of American cheese (or your preferred cheese)
  • 4 hamburger buns or rolls
  • Butter or oil for frying
  • Optional toppings: fried eggs, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onions


  1. Remove the pork roll slices from their packaging. If they have a plastic casing, make a small slit on the edges to prevent curling while cooking. Some people prefer to leave the casing on, while others remove it.
  2. Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. You can add a small amount of butter or oil to prevent sticking, but it's not necessary as pork roll has its own fat.
  3. Place the pork roll slices in the hot skillet. Fry them for about 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are slightly crispy and browned. Pork roll cooks quickly, so keep an eye on it to prevent burning.
  4. About a minute before the pork roll is done, place a slice of American cheese on top of each slice. Cover the skillet with a lid to allow the cheese to melt.
  5. While the pork roll and cheese are cooking, lightly toast the hamburger buns or rolls in a toaster or on another skillet until they are golden brown.
  6. Place a slice of pork roll with melted cheese onto the bottom half of each bun.
  7. If desired, add additional toppings such as fried eggs, ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onions.
  8. Place the top halves of the buns on the assembled ingredients to create sandwiches.
  9. Serve the pork roll and cheese sandwiches hot.

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