For me, this ingredient will always be better than bacon

Great little recipe has the smallest ingredient list possible and everything in between: flavor, creativity, wow factor. That means five or less ingredients, not including water, salt, black pepper, and some fats (like oil and butter), because we’re assuming you’ve got them covered. Psst, have you heard that we are releasing a cookbook? We go out with a cookbook!

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Depending on the New Jersey you ask, the most magical pork product of all time is called either “Taylor ham” or “pork roll”. The first is more common in the upstate (that’s me). The latter, more popular in the center and the south. Either way, the full name isn’t either – as a 1908 advertisement said, “WATCH OUT for imitators … SEE you get the real TAYLOR pork roll”.

The omission of the ham was no accident. Because technically speaking, Taylor ham is not ham. The Pure Food and Drugs Act 1906 nipped it in the bud. Made with salt, sugar and spices, it has a salami flavor and spam-like texture – so irresistible that soon after it was created my great-grandmother couldn’t stop cooking it. for breakfast, in defiance of her. kosher parents.

Taylor ham was invented by John taylor, born 1836, in Hamilton Square, New Jersey. After working in a brickyard as a teenager, he became the owner of a grocery store, chaired a finance committee, founded an opera house and became a senator, while fishing in his spare time. But the pork roll is his heritage.

In New Jersey, this ingredient can be found in just about any supermarket – in a log or, more commonly, pre-sliced ​​packaging. It’s also a no-brainer in just about any restaurant. Which means something in a state with more guests than any other state. Like bacon, Taylor ham pairs well with fried eggs and hash browns. It’s even better on a Kaiser Roll with gooey eggs and more gooey cheese. ( even ranked the top 20 “Taylor ham / pork sandwiches” – a sort of agreement on the honor of being named.)

Still, limiting Taylor ham to breakfast would be like caging a seagull on shore. He is at home, yes, but he cannot fly away as he wishes. Taylor Ham is a smart swap pretty much anywhere you’d use real ham, bacon, or sausage. Think: fried rice, carbonara, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, baked beans. Or a BLT.

Like bacon, Taylor ham only needs a few minutes in a pan to become cracked around the edges and shiny with melted fat. The trick is to mark the slice, so that instead of puffing, it stays flat in the pan, becoming crisp, then crispier, then crispier. His salty, porky umami is the soul mate of juicy tomatoes, watery lettuce, spongy bread and so much mayonnaise.

And before you say it, I know. I know this can no longer be called a BLT without the B. And I agree neither THLT nor PRLT have quite the same ringtone. But none of those technical details matter after you’ve taken a bite.


Recipe: Taylor ham, lettuce and tomato sandwich

Preparation time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 sandwich


  • 1 to 2 thick tomato slices
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of Taylor ham
  • 2 to 3 leaves of iceberg lettuce or butter
  • Mayonnaise, for brushing
  • 2 slices of toasted sandwich bread


  1. Slice the tomato into thick slices and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Mark the perimeter of the Taylor ham at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock. (This helps it to be crisp.) Add the ham slices to the hot pan. Cook for a total of 3 to 4 minutes, turning as needed, until edges are crisp.
  3. Spread the two toasts with mayonnaise. Build the sandwich in this order: bread, Taylor ham, lettuce, tomatoes, bread.
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