JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch: The Pork Roll, Egg and Cheese Sandwich

It is called pork roll, grow up.

Welcome to JayPo’s Penalty Boxed Lunch where we explore food from around the country! This week’s 9th official entry comes from the Garden State itself, New Jersey. New Jersey has a whole bunch of food creations it can call it’s own, but most uniquely (in sandwich-form, anyway) would be the iconic pork roll, egg and cheese on...*insert favorite carb vehicle*.

Food History!

For those of you who don’t live in the Mid-Atlantic region (essentially NYC through Delaware), pork roll is a breakfast meat that has been around for quite some time. Created all the way back in 1856 by the legendary John Taylor. Originally, Mr. Taylor adhered his name to the product calling it “Taylor’s Prepared Ham” or “taylor ham” for short. This all changed in 1906 because the government is always telling us what to do. Since then, it has been packaged as simply “pork roll”. This is the proper name and the one that makes the most sense given that many different companies produce a pork roll and not just “Taylor’s”. Those silly North Jersey people will still call it taylor ham regardless if it from Taylor, Case, or a generic store manufactured pork roll. It’s ridiculous, but we (South Jersey) let them think they are right (they are not). If you ever get in an argument, send them this disclaimer.

Anyways, the ingredients of the pork roll itself remains a mystery. Sure it is pork and assorted spices, but beyond that it remains a secret. It is traditionally prepared by slicing the pork roll log into thin slices and crisping them up in a frying pan.

How I Made It!

There is no wrong way to make a pork roll, egg and cheese. I’ve had every iteration of egg (scrambled, omelet, fried, etc), cheese (American, cheddar, pepperjack, etc) on bread (kaiser roll, bagel, croissant, etc) for the sandwich . They all work and are delicious. That said, when I made it for this challenge I had some leftover kaiser rolls and went to work. The wife and I couldn’t decide between a fried egg or an omelet, so we did both! I believe the cheese was provolone because that is what we had on hand. Over the years you’ll develop a preference to how crispy you want. I like a nice medium where it isn’t too crispy, but not too underdone.

What Does A Local Think? (thanks to our Director of Fun and Games, Bill Matz)

Do you think the pork roll, egg and cheese represents your state accurately?

I think pork roll is a tremendous representation of New Jersey.

How do you make your sandwich?

I do it on a bagel with hot sauce. I think a Kaiser can be a little dry, and definitely needs to be a fried egg (over easy), but I skip the egg a lot.

How did I do?

Yours looks like a perfectly acceptable sandwich.

Where do you order your favorite pork roll egg and cheese?

I do end up getting pork roll & cheese from Wawa quite a bit, but Harrison House Diner (Mullica Hill) and Angelo’s Diner(Glassboro) and Broad Street Diner (Philly) are my other regular spots.