It is a round roll of pork that has been cured, smoked, and spiced. It has a slight sour tang and is salty. Spiciness and tanginess vary by brand. The rolls are sold wrapped in cloth then in plastic.
It comes in 1, 3 and 6 pound (450g, 1 1/3 kg and 2 3/4 kg) rolls. You can also buy it already sliced in boxes, sliced either regular thickness or double-thick. The slices come out round.
It is already cooked, but tastes better heated / further cooked. The slices can be fried or griddled (some people in New Jersey say “grilled” to mean “griddled”,) Make a few small cuts in the sides of a slice before frying to stop it from curling up. A whole roll can be glazed and baked like a ham.
It is popular at breakfast, either as the meat on a breakfast plate, or in a breakfast sandwich with egg, or a put in a bun for a lunch sandwich.
The most well-known brand is “John Taylor’s Original Taylor Ham.” It is made by Taylor Provisions, Inc. in Trenton, New Jersey. Other brands include Kohler and Loeffler.
In the north of New Jersey, people tend to use “Taylor Ham” as a generic name for it, no matter what the brand. In the south of New Jersey, it is referred to more correctly by its generic name of “pork roll.”
Outside of New Jersey, it is generally only available in Philadelphia, though it may occasionally be spotted at some stores elsewhere across America.
Just needs a minute per side when frying. You can also zap the slices in a microwave.
To freeze, wrap in tin foil then seal in a plastic freezer bag.
The Taylor company was founded by John Taylor (1837-1909.) The Taylor Opera House and Taylor Street in Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey are named after him. He was also responsible as well for eradicating street markets in New Jersey. He is buried at Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, New Jersey.