When I was tasked with finding out how to make New Jersey’s signature Taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwich, I had to admit I’d never heard of it. Sorry—I’m a Wisconsin native! I can tell you about hot dish or why the main ingredient in Midwest “fruit salad” is not actually fruit.
But Taylor ham would take some serious investigative reporting.
What Is Taylor Ham?
It’s a processed pork product, similar to scrapple or goetta. I asked around for New Jerseyans to weigh in, and accidentally started a debate of epic proportions.
“It’s PORK ROLL,” one person said. (Yep—all caps.)
“It’s more like ‘porkrahl,'” wrote another.
“It’s Taylor Ham,” said yet another.
It turns out that Taylor ham vs pork roll is like the soda vs pop debate. North Jersey knows it as Taylor ham, while pork roll is the preferred term in South Jersey… I think. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule.
I was instructed to call Millburn Deli in Millburn, New Jersey to ask for instructions on how to make the sandwich. I told the woman who answered the phone who I was and who I wrote for. She was adequately impressed. (Just kidding.) She replied, “We’re very busy,” in a way that made me believe she was under the impression I had called to sell her a magazine subscription.
I hurriedly spit out my request: “I hear you make pork roll there and I wanted to know if someone could tell me how it’s made.”
Her reply was instant. “We don’t make pork roll.”
“We do serve a Taylor ham though.”
But the Millburn Deli was too busy to walk me through the Taylor ham process. Either that or the recipe was proprietary, which I could understand. So I went back to my new friends in New Jersey.
How to Make a Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese Sandwich
I put together a recipe based on insight from my New Jersey experts, along with some help from JerseyPorkRoll.com, which will happily ship you Taylor ham.
- Taylor ham, wrapped in burlap, not pre-sliced
- Cheese (a slice of American cheese seems to be your best bet)
- Bread, bagel or hard roll
Step 1: Slice the Taylor ham
The Taylor ham (or pork roll) should be paper thin. Cut slits around the edges so it doesn’t curl up.
Step 2: Fry the Taylor ham and eggs
It should get brown and crispy in a frying pan. Taylor ham comes precooked, so technically, you’re reheating it. Then, fry your eggs.
Step 3: Add the cheese
Put a few slices of American cheese on top of the Taylor ham while it’s in the pan and wait for it to melt.
Step 4: Assemble
Toast your bread, bun or bagel and top with Taylor ham and melty cheese. Add the egg. Top with more bread. Dive in!