If you’re from New Jersey, you’ve probably ordered taylorhameggncheeseonasesameseedbun.
If you’re not from New Jersey, you probably don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.
Taylor Ham is in between spam and Canadian bacon, firmer than spam, but saltier than bacon. It has all the flavors you want from a processed meat: salty, fatty, and smoky. And you can only find it in New Jersey
While this meat has a special place in most New Jersian hearts, this New Jersey specialty causes its fair share of controversy. You might guess the controversy stems from its strong flavor (is it too salty?) or from its potential negative health effects (how bad for you is processed meat anyway?), but no, New Jersians don’t care to argue about these things. Instead they ponder over the question: now that we have invented this luxury breakfast meat, suitable for the gods themselves, what the hell do we call it?
North Jersians call it Taylor Ham while South Jersians refer to it as Pork Roll, and people from North Jersey think people from South Jersey call it by the wrong name and vice versa, but really it’s just name brand (Taylor Ham) vs product (Pork Roll). As negligible as this might seem, you wouldn’t be caught dead referring to it as Taylor Ham in South Jersey territory unless you wanted to start a fight.
I’m not going to pick sides or anything (*cough* Taylor Ham *cough*), but I’m a North Jersey girl, and I grew up calling it Taylor Ham. My dad used to fry up this Jersey staple and put it right into scrambled eggs, but it’s mostly known for its inclusion in breakfast sandwiches, specifically the aforementioned taylorhameggncheeseonasesameseedbun.
I have yet to find a vegan version, and so I have graced the internet with this VEGAN TAYLOR HAM.
It’s SMOKY, SALTY, and (once it’s fried up) FATTY, just like the Taylor Ham I grew up with.
Put it in some tofu scramble, put it on a sandwich, eat it by itself like it’s sausage. Do whatever the hell you want with it, but, whatever you do, you have to do it with a Jersey attitude.
Makes 1 large log, approximately 15 slices
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes, Active Time: 30 minutes
1 cup prepared lima beans or other large white beans*
1/2 cup soy sauce**
1/2 cup ketchup
1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika****
1 teaspoon salt
neutral flavored oil, for frying
- In a medium sized bowl, mash the lima beans until they are all mashed up. If the skins fall off, remove them.
- Add the soy sauce and ketchup to the lima bean mush and mash it all together.
- In a large bowl, mix the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, and salt.
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and slowly add in the lima bean mixture. Mix with a fork until it becomes firm. Then, knead with your hands to form a log. The kneading process will take 5-10 minutes. The longer you knead, the firmed the dough will be, so take your time if you want the dough to be firm.
- Wrap the log in aluminum foil (wrap the ends like a tootsie roll), and boil water in a pot with a steamer basket.
- Place your log in the steamer basket, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook like this for 45 minutes-1 hour, until the log is firm.
- Allow your Taylor Ham to cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into it (cut little indents in it to make it look authentic). Like with most Seitan, use a SHARP knife if you want the slices to be thin. Otherwise, the slices will be thick and might fall apart (still tasty though). Once it’s cool and cut up, you can fry it on medium heat in a generously oiled pan, about two minutes each side. You want it to be crisp on the edges and slightly blackened.
- Serve on a bagel with tofu scramble and vegan cheese (I used the cheese from my Mac and Seeds recipe), or chop it up and put it right in the scramble, or do whatever you want with it!
*I used lima beans the first time I made this recipe because they were the only beans in the store. No really, they were the only beans on the self, and there was only 1 packet left. As an ode to inventing these during quarantine, I kept the lima beans in the recipe, but other large white beans will work.
**You might be thinking, holy bologna, that’s too much soy sauce! When trying to recreate Taylor Ham, no it is not. Trust me.
***If you don’t use the whole log at once, wrap in the aluminum foil and store in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.
****I (finally) had some fellow New Jersians taste test this, and they said it was a little spicier than Taylor Ham. I tend to cook on the spicier side, so I am not surprised! If you want to calm down the spice, cut down the smoked paprika to 2 or even 1.5 tablespoons. To keep the red color, replace the smoked paprika that you took out with sweet paprika.