Or is it pork roll ice cream? Talk amongst yourselves.
Join me, for a moment, in one of my fondest memories: During my first or second visit to New Jersey, I stopped by a bagel shop to pick up a breakfast sandwich. Being from New York (by way of Seattle originally), I intended to order a classic—sausage, egg, and American cheese on a toasted bagel. It seemed like an obvious choice at the time, but of course, that was a time of ignorance. You see, I was about to be introduced to a staple of life in New Jersey (and also Philadelphia and New York, but mostly New Jersey, let’s be honest): Taylor ham—otherwise known as pork roll. Taking a cue from my companion, I eschewed my traditional order and tried out this quintessential New Jersey breakfast sandwich ingredient, and was immediately hooked on its salty, greasy, slightly burnt goodness. Usually, it’s served on a bagel (or a roll) with ketchup, salt, and pepper, but now New Jersey Taylor ham fanatics can try it out in a totally different form: ice cream.
That’s right, Taylor ham ice cream is very much a reality. A creamery in the Garden State called Windy Brow Farms recently released what it claims is the only breakfast sandwich meat-flavored ice cream in the state (a claim I believe). As one of the shop’s managers Jake Hunt rightfully pointed out, ice cream flavored with Taylor ham alone would be “gross” so he added maple and French toast flavors to create a balance between sweet and salty.
Actual Taylor ham is used in the ice cream—around 2 pounds of it per 2 ½ gallon tub. The Taylor ham is both baked and pan-fried and then tossed with cinnamon and sugar before it’s added to the ice cream.
Before you get all worked up about terminology, Taylor ham is a brand of pork roll. Not all pork roll is Taylor ham, but all Taylor ham is pork roll. The producers of Taylor ham, John Taylor’s Original Pork Roll, are, however, the originators of the product, and most people in New Jersey simply use the two terms interchangeably. Furthermore, Taylor ham is not actually ham, and in the early 1900s, the company had to change the name of the product to Taylor Pork Roll to reflect that distinction. Taylor ham, while widely used, isn't even the iconic meat's correct name—technically, Windy Brow should be calling its invention Taylor Pork Roll ice cream. But I digress.
Windy Brow’s Taylor ham ice cream will be available until at least the end of July. If that's not enough to sate your pork-flavored ice cream appetite, Salt and Straw unveiled smoked ham soft serve at its Wiz Bang Bar in 2016, and we've got a recipe for maple bacon ice cream sandwiches you can enjoy at home.