Sandwiches never get old.
Many folks are more than content to gobble the same ’loney ‘n’ cheese or turk ‘n’ mustard sandwich for lunch every day.
Sandwiches are a comforting constant in the lives of Americans. Because of that, people are hesitant to experiment with their meat.
In Oklahoma, ham and turkey dominate the sandwich market with a soggy bland fist. And none of the locals seem to be throwing a fit about it.
In the mystical land of New Jersey, the kindly but timid dwellers of the state enjoy life a little differently. They don’t eat the same kind of meats the rest of us do. When they want a sandwich, they open their refrigerators and pull out a cotton bag full of pork roll.
Pork roll, sometimes called Taylor ham, is not ham at all. It is not bologna and it is not salami. The consistency is that of a massive hot dog, but the taste could not be more different.
Pork roll has a powerful taste, especially in the spicy variety.
Its sweet saltiness is so formidable that a tiny squirt of mustard would be a taste overkill. Instead of adding condiments, experienced pork roll eaters know to only add bland toppings like lettuce, cheese, and eggs.
Of course, it isn’t just tossed onto the bread like a meat prostitute.
It must be fried in a pan, which blackens the edges and gives the meat a deliciously delicate rind of ash.
The flavor explodes on the tongue, which is helpfully diluted by a well-placed slice of tomato. Pork roll can also be microwaved, which sounds disgusting.
This is a high maintenance meat, to be sure.
It cannot be put on run-of-the-mill Wonder Bread. Its raw power (not to mention its grease) will soak it straight through. Pork roll is to be eaten the New England way, on a good thick, hard bread.
New Jersey is too far away to go for lunch every day, but that is no reason to panic.
The delectable mystery meat can be ordered online at jerseyporkroll.com. No matter how much you buy, you always wish you had bought more.
While you’re ordering, get some real bread.
To contact Jack McMahon, email firstname.lastname@example.org