If you’ve ever visiting the great state of New Jersey, or even the nearby cities such as New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, you’ve probably heard of pork roll, or Taylor ham. What exactly is this cult-like meat, and is it a Paleo option at your local diner?
What is Pork Roll?
It looks a lot like Canadian bacon, or salami, but the texture is a bit different. Pork roll is a pork-based processed meat, which is similar to packed minced ham. It is stuffed in a cylindrical sac, and generally sliced and fried for serving, generally on a Jersey Kaiser roll, often made into a sandwich with egg and cheese. You can find it at any Jersey deli, diner, or grocery store.
John Taylor is believed to have invented this specific recipe, despite its similarity to canned ham, or packed minced ham, and originally named it Taylor (Prepared) Ham. After a few years, he was required to change the name to Taylor Pork Roll, since pork roll was the general term. Taylor Ham and Pork Roll are the same, but Taylor Ham is a brand of Pork Roll.
It sounds a whole lot like Spam, Canned Ham, and quite a few other processed meat products. So is Pork Roll Paleo?
Is Pork Roll Paleo?
Ehh…we’re going to give this one a no. It’s a little too similar to spam, plus it contains sugar, the vague “spices,” lactic acid (hello dairy), and the darling of the processed meat industry: sodium nitrate/nitrite. Sure, it might be a better choice than the processed white roll or fake “cheese” it is served with, but it is not very nutritious, and it is highly processed. We’d definitely avoid this one!
If you’re looking for something for your breakfast meat, we’ve included a few delicious options instead, including homemade “sausage” and pork loin.
Image Source: Serious Eats