taylor pork roll

At the White Rose Diner in Linden, N.J., owner Rich Belfer tosses a dozen round, thick slices of processed pork to sizzle on the grill. To Belfer, it’s beyond dispute that those are slices of Taylor Ham.

“It’s pork, it’s spices, it’s salt, it’s water. It’s common ingredients,” Belfer says.

But the flavor is more difficult to explain. “I don’t know if anybody can really describe it,” he says. “It has a little smoky flavor. It has a little spice. It has a little original Jersey flavor in it.”

Whatever you call this product, it’s ubiquitous on diner menus from Cape May to the George Washington Bridge. The two main companies that make it — Taylor Provisions and Case’s Pork Roll — are both based in Trenton.

As much as New Jerseyans might love this homegrown product, they simply cannot agree about what to call it. In North Jersey, it’s called Taylor Ham; in South Jersey, it’s known as pork roll.

New Jerseyans Chew Over What To Call Their Favorite Pork Product

Photo: Joel Rose/NPR