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Pork Roll Or Taylor Ham? The Debate Lives On

By Cleve Bryan

TRENTON, Nj. (CBS) -- Is it Pork Roll, or Taylor Ham? Maybe you aren't familiar with the debate about this popular breakfast meat treat.

Now, the New Jersey State Legislature wants resolution.

It's a special type of sizzle that you're likely to hear coming from frying pans and grills throughout New Jersey. Depending on where you're from, the salted meat product, making that sound, may be known as Pork roll or Taylor ham.

In the mid 1800's, the Taylor Provisions Company of Trenton, New Jersey, started making the product Taylor's Prepared Ham.

Soon after, another Trenton business, the Case Company started making a rival brand. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act caused Taylor to rename their meat, Taylor's Pork Roll, but in many places, ham stuck.

Scott Miller and T.C. Nelson both hold Pork Roll festivals in Trenton. They say New Brunswick is about the dividing line for the name difference in the state.

"If you're at the beach, or you're in North Jersey, the name is always Taylor, even if the brand is not Taylor. They just want to refer to Pork Roll as Taylor Ham," Nelson explained.

"Around New Brunswick, to Cape May and the Philly area, we call it by Pork Roll," said Miller.

They say appropriately, it looks like the name debate will be settled in Trenton. Assemblyman Tim Eustace is conducting an online survey in hopes of passing a bill to designate the official state sandwich as egg, cheese and either Pork Roll or Taylor Ham.

"It should be Pork Roll," said Nelson. "Because Taylor is a brand."

"We hope, at the end of the day, they'll call the official New Jersey sandwich a Pork Roll sandwich, but we understand why people in the north may want to call it Taylor Ham," Miller said.

Chef Reggie Hallat from 1911 Smokehouse in Trenton said that whatever people want to call the meat, do not debate it on an empty stomach.

"If you never had Pork Roll, you need to come get some," the chef said.

Not only can you weigh in on the Pork Roll vs. Taylor Ham debate online, Assemblyman Eustace is expected to be a judge at the Pork Roll Festival in Trenton on May 28 so you can give him some food for thought to chew on, in between bites of Pork Roll of course.

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