By John Ekdahl
For those unaware, there is a bit of a long-running argument between regions of New Jersey about the correct name for the sliced processed pork product found in every breakfast joint in the Garden State. In the south and central areas of the state, the name “pork roll” is preferred. In the north, a different and incorrect name is primarily used.
This intrastate disagreement is so well-known to New Jerseyans that NJ.com set to finally put it to a vote through a reader poll last summer.
Nonetheless, over the past week, we tallied more than 70,000 votes in our quest to definitively examine the breadth and depth of loyalty to the two prevailing terms for New Jersey’s most prized salted pig product. We received votes from all 565 municipalities in New Jersey
We analyzed the results in a number of ways and found that the seemingly even divide between Taylor ham and pork roll is no myth – New Jersey is almost dead evenly split on the issue.
But who won? Well it depends on how you look at it.
NJ.com’s poll results point to a pretty decisive victory for “pork roll”, which makes sense since that is the only legitimate name for the product. The publication had to employ some convoluted superdelegate math to even make a case for the other side.
The Lakewood BlueClaws are having a bit of fun with this rivalry:
Pork Roll or Taylor Ham? At the Jersey Shore, we’re all Pork Roll, and on August 18th, the BlueClaws become, for one day only, the Jersey Shore Pork Rolls for their game against the Delmarva Shorebirds.
The BlueClaws will be wearing special hats and jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off to benefit BlueClaws Charities and their Community Partners Program.
I’ve indicated the location of Lakewood on the map above with a white star. As you can see, Lakewood sits comfortably in pork roll country.
Here’s a look at the design:
NEW – BlueClaws to Become "Jersey Shore Pork Rolls" on August 18th and wear these Clawsome jerseys/hats. https://t.co/0rEMp4yfHJ pic.twitter.com/PbrhuZlktN
— Lakewood BlueClaws (@BlueClaws) August 4, 2017
As if there wasn’t enough to argue about, there is another less intense debate about the proper technique for cutting pork roll before it goes into the pan. People typically fall into two camps: four medium cuts around the outside, or one straight to the center.
There are other ways to do it, of course. Some use three or five cuts or sometimes cut in half. There are even heard whispers of some making eight microcuts.
I’ve always been a single slice to the center man myself, but as you can see, Lakewood decided to go with a design featuring the four medium cuts. I imagine that’s less about a cutting preference in Lakewood and more to make it easily identifiable as a slice of pork roll.
And for any pork roll newcomers, don’t make the rookie mistake of skipping the cut. You’ll end up with an uncooked bubble in the center like this poor sap:
Oregon State unveiled an “11 Strong” alternate uniform that will be worn against Minnesota this season.
Oregon State players thought they were watching a movie preview during a night off from fall camp in Bend.
Instead, they got a first glimpse of their “11 strong” alternate Nike uniforms, which will debut when OSU hosts Minnesota on Sept. 9.
The uniform features a black helmets with a metallic silver Beavers logo and orange stripe down the center and a dark gray jersey with silver numbers/letters and the 11 strong logo on the chest.
Debuting Sept. 9 under the lights of Reser Stadium.
See it live: https://t.co/6nopz5nBXk #11Strong pic.twitter.com/C7hYID4lKt
— Go Beavs (@BeaverAthletics) August 4, 2017
Willie Calhoun, who was traded from the Dodgers to the Texas Rangers in the Yu Darvish deal at the deadline, decided to edit the uniform in his Twitter avatar to reflect his new team. I’d say he nailed it.
The Braves are breaking out the tomahawk caps for today’s game.
7th inning stretch news update: #Braves will wear the tomahawk caps for Saturday's game vs. Miami for the first time this season. #ChopOn pic.twitter.com/g03K2aQDtY
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) August 5, 2017
Uniform changes at Ball State, via Paul from last night:
Ball State has new larger helmet logo, new pants in all 3 colors. Will wear solid-black vs. Miami OH on Nov. 21. pic.twitter.com/t2BJVcJ64L
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) August 4, 2017
Reminders from Paul: Paul here, with a few reminders about some stuff you may have missed over the past few days:
1. I have a new ESPN piece that tells the previously untold story behind the design team that created the Astros’ rainbow uniform. I’m really happy with this one, and I’ve also received a ton of positive feedback (thank you!). If you haven’t seen it already, I invited you to check it out here.
2. I’m running a new ESPN contest to redesign the Titans. Details here.
3. We’ve launched our latest limited-edition Uni Watch Artist’s Series T-shirt, designed by the great Rob Ullman. Here’s the base design (click to enlarge):
It’s available in a bunch of colors. Full details here, or just go straight to the ordering page. It’s also available in women’s sizes.
4. We’ve also launched a bunch of new Naming Wrongs shirts yesterday, all of them pertaining to Seattle. Get the full scoop here, or just go straight to the Naming Wrongs shop.
That’s it. Thanks!
A+++ to Willie Calhoun for that awesome MSPainting!!
F minus (and I think the honorable Mr Bloomquist will back me here) for the LATEST LAME MINOR LEAGUE TO CHANGE THEIR NAME FOR A DAY. Just give all these Minor League ass-hats and Shirt that reads “I JUMPED THE SHARK AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY TSHIRT”
It’s Dave. But I fully agree with you here!
Is a pork roll just fried bologna?
Absolutely not!!….sorry for my saltiness (pun intended) but TAYLOR HAM is one of if not the only great thing about growing up in NJ and I feel as if awareness must be spread
But what’s the difference? To me, it looks a like a mixture of thick bologna and kielbasa sausage.
All this fuss for something that there are 30 variations of in any good German deli. It’s not Buffalo Wings, or KC Ribs or NY Pizza or Montreal Poutine.
My dad & uncle from Roselle & then Scotch Plains alternated between pork roll and Taylor ham.
I grill them and make more than four cuts typically. I will try the Pac man style some time.
Rooting for Phil and his art today. Those are some spectacular offerings.
Says Taylor Ham right on the package.
Kleenex vs tissue
This could not have been written better, John. Pork roll or GTFO.
We don’t have it where I live, else I’d take your advice and get the fork out.
Those Brave hats are super sweet
Listen. It’s not as if northerners don’t realize the actual name of the product is “pork roll.” If anything, calling it Taylor Ham after the literal brand from TRENTON is an homage. And I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t know what you’re talking about when you mention either name (if they’re in the know). One of the dumber debates in history. Do you seriously get mad if someone says Coke instead of soda or Kleenex instead of tissue? Come on. Relax people. This state elected Chris Christie. TWICE. We have bigger issues. (Sidebar: having worked in a deli that sold Taylor ham to its customers from the age of 14 till 19, I will add that the correct way of cooking this is three cuts around the circle)
One more note from the MLS All-Star Game: Tim Howard’s goalie jersey was also a throwback to the Predator jersey:
I think they mentioned it in the ticker yesterday or Thursday.
In the spirit of compromise I’m Calling It Pork Ham.
Excellent job, Willie Calhoun.
I’m still calling it “Gross.”
Do they not sell bacon in NJ? Hold on, Gov Christie just called. Why yes, yes they do sell bacon in NJ.
Governor Christie called? Seems like he would be too busy closing bridges, enjoying the beach, auditioning for sports talk radio, taking in a baseball game…
John Taylor’s ham is the original and best (imho).
Case’s pork roll seems fattier and not as zesty or flavorful.
Right or wrong…I have, and always will, call it Taylor ham, but I am aware of my surroundings and know to call it pork roll DTS so I don’t look like a BENNY.
Going out for a Taylor ham, egg & cheese SPK right now!!
Nicely done… John Taylor’s ham is the best and most correct pronunciation!!
There’s a great deli in Denver called Materspiece Delicatessen that introduced me to the salty goodness of New Jersey’s favorite breakfast meat. They refer to it as “Taylor Pork Roll” on their menu:
…which I’m sure is enough to unite all factions in New Jersey in a great big cringe.
Rosenberg’s Deli and Tony’s Meats also use that term, as does my Jersey girl wife (originally from Union City).
Taylor is the company. Pork Roll is the product (or at least is now). Taylor Ham is the original 19th century name and what is universally printed on diner and deli menus in the northern part of NJ. I didn’t know it had another name until I was in college at Rutgers.
As for why, it’s salty, porky and a little crispy when griddled, and makes for a superior sandwich meat over bacon. Taylor ham/pork roll, egg and cheese is better breakfast sandwich by a long shot.
Perhaps they went four cut so as not to be confused with a Pac Man logo?
But the four cuts look like a Maltese cross. At first glance, I thought it was a firefighter thing. ;)
I will always call it Taylor Ham after reading this.
Taylor Ham is the brand name, pork roll is the product. If you only intending on eating the brand name, I suppose it makes sense, but even then, you are ordering Taylor Ham pork roll.
Cut wise, I am not sure why people feel the need for any cuts at all. I frequently make it, especially tailgating, and since you are flipping it while cooking, all you need to do is take a little care and press down the bubble on flipping. Since it cooks incredibly quickly its not like this is a labor intense process.