Taylor Pork Roll (or Taylor Ham)

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Dave in AZ

Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Oct 2, 2022
Phx, AZ
I posted all this elsewhere on internet. Owner doesn't want links to info outside his forum, making it hard to refer to stuff already written and posted elsewhere. So I'm gonna copy paste my thread here rather than spam it all into someone else's.

I've made this 4 or 5 times now, refining recipe, all based off nutrition label and taste memory.
It tastes like a cross between formed ham, baloney, and bacon. Spam is probably the closest thing, but spam has more gel and less sausage texture.

This is a cured and fermented ground pork loaf, about 4" diameter. It is a local food to New Jersey and Philadelphia area, originally from Trenton NJ. I grew up in the area, and everyone knows this and eats it as the meat on a breakfast sandwich.

It is pretty tangy due to ferment from lactic acid bacteria forming lactic acid. I guestimate 4.4 to 4.8 for pH, quite tangy, but this varies across pork roll brands. Citric acid doesn't give the same flavor and tang as lactic, so it is a poor substitute to use ECA. But they do ship this around vac sealed as shelf stable, and it is not dried, so 2.5% salt needs that low pH and in-bag pasteurization cooking to achieve that. Once bag is opened, it is too moist for shelf stable I'd say.

I have been waiting for some Encapsulated Lactic Acid, ELA, to run some ferment vs ELA vs ECA tests, but it hasn't shown up so Balchem has to ship me more... I gave up waiting as my son wants some pork roll ;) So I made this batch with an ELA/ECA blend called Smooth Acid Blend I found online. It is waay smoother than straight ECA. I didn't have time today to do the fermented version, 1 or 2 days ferment. So just using the ELA blend.

Nutrition label says 2.5% salt, 1.5% sugar. As it is fermented to shelf stable, we know it is 4.4 to 4.8 ph or so. I used 1.2% acid blend which gave farce 4.7 pH. Tasting gives me white pepper, and visually there aren't black specks, so went with white pepper. The grind is 4.5mm. Taylor version is not smoked, but other versions are.

My first version with salt, sugar, white pepper, cure1, and hickory smoke powder was extremely close to Taylor, it was within the middle of the 5 or so producers. But...it turns out I want more flavor than Taylor has. So I've been tweaking flavor using small amounts of bologna flavors to get something like one of the smaller producers makes.
I will post recipe later, trying to get this up before Ieave for deer camp tonight ;)
I made a 2.5kg batch, 6lb, so it filled a 4"x22" fibrous casing. But here is a 1kg standardized recipe. 1kg will fit in 2.5" x 22" casing, all the Walton's 2.9" casings I ordered are actually 2.5" diameter...

4.5mm grind all meats, 3 mm grind fat (4.5mm to large for fat, they need to be smaller for correct texture. But 3mm on meat seemed too fine... if you want to go lazy and just do 1 grind, do 3mm, but not as good...)
750g pork butt
125g very smoked bacon (buckboard)
125g pork fat from shoulder
-----equals 1000g, 1kg-----
10% ice water, 100ml
Salt 2.5%
Sugar 2.0%
1.2% ELA/ECA smooth acid blend
0.1% hickory smoke powder
White pepper 0.3 to 0.4%
Cure1 0.25%
Sodium Erythorbate 0.06% i.e. 0.6g per kg
÷÷÷÷÷for classic Taylor flavor, just use above. All below is my own more flavorful version----
0.05% each mace, black pepper, allspice
0.1% each paprika, coriander, msg
1% potato starch (not needed but keeps get liquid inside meat matrix)÷÷÷÷÷÷÷÷
Hard mix meats, water,all spices but acid, strong extraction. Mix half water w spices.
I use Kitchenaid, 6 min almost frozen meat.
Add fat, mix 1 min to blend but not smear it.

Add acid, goal is eveness with minimum mixing:
Add encapsulated acid spread evenly across all meat... I rmove meat, spread it up sides of mixer bowl, spread acid powder. I then add remaining half water and swirl it all around on acid and meat in bowl to spread it all evenly. Then I mix it with wooden spoon gently. Then 40 seconds in mixer.

Stuff into 3.5 to 4" fibrous casing or textile casing. Poke holes so air escapes, twist to very firm pack!

Seal in vacuum bag, then into 155f sous vide water. Or directly into water, as desired. Cook to IT of 141 to 145, you will pan fry these later. Should be about 1.5min per mm diameter at the 100mm range, so 150 min. I went 2 + 45, 165min.
The time recommendation for SV Ive seen at 170f is 1min per mm. But this is thicker, and I'm using 155f to prevent any fat melting, so using 1.6min per mm.
Cool down, place in fridge.

Slice 1/4 to 3/8" thick, cut notches so it doesn't cup up, pan fry. Eat on breakfast sandwich or instead of bacon/sausage.
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Recipe source info: primarily nutrition label and tasting.
There aren’t many recipes or videos around. 2 videos, neither of which I agree with recipe. There is a 5 brand taste showdown that more complex flavored ones than Taylors won, so used those taste comments as spice source. A guy at smokedmeat foru ms says he originated a recipe posted at lenpoli, a sausage recipe site, that is really the only recipe I saw posted anywhere. One or two guys at that foru m, DougE DougE is one, made it from that recipe but used ECA. DougE has a very good thread showing particle definition and color red/pink ratios, and I did use his info for grind size. I’ve looked at that, and it is about what I came up with from nutrition label, but I’d rather match nutrition label for salt, sugar, fat amount, and just take a pH reading, so I didnt use his recipe but again GREAT thread for pics and taste comments, you should read it also.
I don’t really agree with using bacon in the recipe… bacon is just cured pork with 2% salt and sugar and smoke, almost exactly what you’re making! No reason to add bacon, when you’re basically making bacon roll. Also, Taylor ham isn’t smoked and I detect no smoke flavor. Case’s pork roll is smoked, but Taylor is like 90% of the market. So my prior versions don’t use bacon, and I believe they are accurate to taste.
However, I had about 1 lb of buckboard bacon slice ends from my last batch, so decided to use them here and see if it gives me a smoke flavor I like, without having to smoke the roll. While I don’t think bacon is in actual pork roll, I’ve read a few posts from guys who did it and liked, and I had these pieces sitting around, so what the heck. Again, this version with additional spices Ive indicated and bacon, is an attempt to improve pork roll to my own tastes, read my notes to replicate Taylor.

All the NJ locals talk up Taylor. But in the blind taste tests, the other 5 or 6 brands that just share 10% of market, seem to win. I kinda felt the same thing-- the white pepper only version is extremely close to Taylor, in a side by side. But I kept thinking I wanted a bit more flavor, so maybe I’m not a 150% Taylor fan lol. I think this version with spices is pretty close to Alderfers Pork Roll.

In any case, both are in correct ballpark, I’m just talking Oscar Mayer all beef franks vs. Nathan’s here 1f609.png My spices are like 1/4 the amount in bologna, I’m just adding hints.
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Concerning the acidity, I want to make clear that the best method is to use a lactic acid bacteria strain to do a fast strong ferment. I recommend F-LC. Target is 4.5 to 4.8 pH, so add dextrose for that. indaswamp indaswamp has some great posts to calculate correct amounts, I need to look at my calcs to not get decimal wrong, but will post that later so sugars are correct for FLC.

This is an ABSOLUTELY GREAT recipe to try a ferment for the 1st time, if you haven't done one! Why? Because you can't overferment this almost, it's super tangy; you go straight from ferment to sous vide cook, so no aging chamber needed; you mix it up and leave it on counter 1 to 2 days to ferment, easy!

Encapsulated Lactic Acid is 2nd best, but haaard to get, no one sells in retail amounts.
Encapsulated Citric Acid is easy to get, makes an acceptable product but noticeable difference in tang, still good.
Smooth Acid Blend is an ELA ECA mix, sold by spokanespice company. Call them for real shipping price, it's not as bad as website says.
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