Is this love of pork roll in the very DNA of Jersey girls and guys? After all if you go to almost any other state and order pork roll they’ll have no idea what you’re taking about. In younger years my wife tried ordering pork roll in Key West, FL and got slices of chopped ham. Are we born with something innate?

My two older children were born in Michigan but moved here at 3 and 5. They don’t like pork roll. My not quite yet 4 year old boy Atticus, born in New Brunswick, discovered his mom eating a pork roll egg and cheese on Labor Day and he got interested. She broke off a piece, he put it in his mouth and forever cemented his status as a Jersey guy.

He. Loves. It.

She basically ended up forfeiting her entire breakfast to him as he devoured piece after piece of this Garden State classic.

I’m sure he was derisively thinking in his Jersey voice, “I got your Cheerios right here! Know what I’m sayin’? Fuggetaboutit!”

To make this truly a Jersey boy coming of age moment, one of the last pieces she ripped off to feed him called out to her. With absolutely no tinkering or manipulation or trimming of any kind, the piece she tore off looked like the shape of New Jersey. We have the pic to prove it. My mother-in-law jokes that we should offer it up on EBay.

Jeff Deminski photo
Jeff Deminski photo

Pork roll fun facts:

In 1856 a Jersey politician named John Taylor came up with pork roll in the form of Taylor’s Prepared Ham. In 1906 the Pure Food and Drug Act forced him to drop the word ham from the label and his efforts to trademark “pork roll” failed. To this day the debate rages in Jersey whether to call it pork roll or Taylor ham.

A 6 ounce roll costs about $4.00 at a grocery store. A pork roll sandwich costs roughly between $3.50 and $4.00 at delis, bagels or diners.

Always sliced thin before frying or grilling, at least four cuts are made from the outer edge in so as to keep it from curling up while cooking.

Rumor has it Union soldiers carried pork roll among their provisions onto Civil War battlefields.

- all fun facts from

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