John Taylor, whose creation still sparks arguments, was born on October 6th, 1836 in Hamilton Square. Legend has it that he developed the recipe that made him famous in 1856, calling it Taylor’s Prepared Ham, with a proprietary mixture of pork and spices that is cured and then smoked.

He founded his company, Taylor Provisions Company in 1888 to sell his Taylor Ham. According to Wikipedia, after the passage of the Pure Food Act in 1906, Taylor had to stop calling his meat ham since it did not meet the new definition of ham. He then changed the product’s name to Taylor Pork Roll.

Taylor Provisions still exists (headquartered in Trenton) and sells the pork roll under that name. His main competitor (then and now), Case Pork Roll, started selling their version in 1870. Both companies keep their recipes top secret. Given the debate over what it should be called (Taylor Ham in North Jersey and Pork Roll in Central/South Jersey), it should be noted that the meat hasn’t been officially named Taylor Ham since 1906. Oh, and John Taylor was also a state senator, but that’s not why he is remembered.

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