Some things are just sacred…


Like the NJ Buttered Hard Roll. As innocuous as the concoction may seem… there’s no beating it. I don’t know why, but I have yet to find another hard roll that even comes close to matching the NJ version of this breakfast staple.

This “Hard Roll with butter” is a standard central NJ breakfast. All deli’s, convenience stores and even gas station markets carry these things! In fact, this beauty was purchased at a gas station mart just up the street from my brother’s house… and damn, it was good!

dsc00369 Some things are just sacred...
Can someone please explain to me WHY I cannot find hard rolls like this in MA (or anywhere else I’ve been for that matter)??? The outside is crusty and dotted with cornmeal and the inside soft and airy.

Anyone out there know what the origin of the NJ Hard Roll is? I thought maybe they were related to the “Portuguese Rolls” I can get here in Boston… but alas, they are not the same (not even remotely). And most other bread I find here in the Baystate has a soft exterior… ::SIGH::

Hence the reason I was sure to eat one every morning over our visit last weekend. GREAT way to start a diet, huh?!

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23 Comments to “Some things are just sacred…”

  1. Rhea says:

    I grew up in NJ on rolls like that. My dad used to bring home a whole bunch each week in a brown paper bag. Yum!

  2. Anonymous says:

    You need to find a spuckie! We had them in Chelsea when I was growing up and you should be able to find them in any good (not chain) sandwich place.

  3. Anonymous says:

    These are found in Westchester COunty, NY too where I grew up – I lament the fact that they are nowhere to be found here. They also make the best bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. yummm.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Yeah my wife is from NJ. I understand. The bread does not cut it up here or really anywhere else except maybe NY or Philly.
    On a positive note there is a little place across from the State House in Beacon Hill on Bowdoin St that has the best Meatball Sub that I have ever tasted. It is the guy’s wife’s recipe. She makes the sauce the night before everyday. It’s ridiculous.

  5. BFW (Tammy) says:

    A Spuckie?? I’m intrigued!!! I will definitely need to check that out!

    And not only does a bacon, egg and cheese taste amazing on this roll.. but so does the NJ standard: PORKROLL, egg and cheese. A MUST try for any meat eater.

    Lastly, I will definitely check out the little place on Bowdoin St. I have struggled with finding a good sandwhich since moving here 10 years ago… and the main thing is the bread!

  6. Life On Planet Patricia says:

    Congratulations. You got a front/home page citation on boston.com this morning.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If you’re really from NJ you put Taylor Ham, Egg and Cheese on these rolls.

  8. BFW (Tammy) says:

    Hey thanks Patricia! I hadn’t been on Boston.com yet today… cool!

    And… Taylor Ham is also known as Porkroll in different areas. See my comment earliers… but I still think that certain types of Taylor Ham and Pork Roll are a little different. For more info: http://www.jerseyporkroll.com

  9. John says:

    I spent the first 25 years of my life in NJ. Most of us would order Taylor Ham (obviously a brand) with egg and cheese on a hard roll. Taylor has a distinctive flavor and pork roll is just the generic of Taylor. This is still one NJ delicacy (if i may be so bold) that I still crave. White Castle hamburgers run a close second.

  10. BFW (Tammy) says:

    Well John… I beleive you can buy frozen White Castle burgers in some grocery stores! They are my mom’s all time favorite.

    Hey, I’m down in NJ a few times a year… let me know if you want me to drag back a roll for you!

  11. Anonymous says:

    It is pretty hard to find a decent hard roll even in NJ these days. It’s all bagels. Last time I ordered a hard roll (in a diner just over the CT/NY border), a couploe weeks ago, what was delivered was an anemic puffy thing kind of like an overgrown hamburger roll. If any of you find a bakery north of Boston that makes the real thing please post the info so all us NJ transplants can go get some!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I grew up in NY and the everyday quick breakfast was a hard roll with margarine wrapped in plastic at the same place you bought your gas, cigs and beer. Delicious, know as a long time chef I have never found one that anyone could recreate. I liken it to the best pizza, only in NY

  13. Anonymous says:

    I lived in Princeton, NJ back in high school. I remember these rolls, and they were really good with just butter, or egg and cheese; don’t remember the pork roll. The closest I’ve come to these rolls in Boston is at certain corner markets, mainly in Dorchester. These were Spukie rolls. You could buy the rolls, but also usually the place would have a small deli and fill the roll with your choice of italian meats, etc. The sandwich is also called a spukie. Someone once told me that the rolls, hard crust, soft inside, vaguely torpedo shaped, fairly small, were called spuccinato rolls, hence the name.
    A pretty good contender is the hard rolls made from pizza dough that most pizzeria’s, at least in the north end and east boston, have. Bertucci’s does a good job with these, and gives them away for the asking with a take-out order.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I grew up in Westchester as well. Hard roll and a cup of coffee was breakfast forever. MOved up here and Wammo. Nothing. Nada. Even close.

    Even converted my Masshole wife to liking them when we go back to visit.

    Stewarts in upstate NY has good ones too.

  15. Melissa says:

    Closest thing I can think of is the bulkie roll they make at Widoff’s Bakery in Worcester.

    The small meat shop I worked in as a teen got 2 large cardboard boxes of them every Sunday and we would sell out every sunday. My personal favorite was a Bulkie with a little mustard and a slice of American cheese.

  16. BFW (Tammy) says:

    I’m missing them even more… now that I know the rest of you haven’t had any luck finding them up here either!!!!

    I think I’m going to buy them in bulk when I return and freeze them. Anyone want in?

  17. BFW (Tammy) says:

    Oh… and BTW… funny thing that pizza was mentioned. I bring back a NJ pie almost everytime we go to visit. Nothing beats it.

  18. Bruce says:

    You try Panera’s? Don’t remember seeing hard rolls but have been impressed with their European style breads – like eating a solid beer.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I grew up on Long Island…had them there too. Lived in NJ, and the hard rolls were the same. We always called them kaiser rolls on LI though. Weirdly enough, I could get a decent kaiser/hard roll when I lived in San Francisco…non existent here in MA though. I always liked them best with butter and “regular” coffee (w/ milk and sugar)…still only a buck or buck fifty at NY area delis (coffee included). Sometimes I’d splurge and get the egg, ham, and cheese….2.50 or 3 bucks….my mouth is watering thinking about it!

  20. DW says:

    Yep, those hard rolls are hard to find outside of the NY Metro area.
    And its historical. No other than Vince Lombardi of football fame griped upon living in Green Bay for awhile that he couldn’t find a decent hard roll, anywhere!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I grew up in Fairfield Co., CT, and for the longest time my standard breakfast was a buttered hard roll, or if I felt like a little change, a fried egg and bacon on a hard roll, and a hot coffee. When I moved up to NH a few years ago, one of the first items I noticed missing up here was the hard roll. None anywhere. When I asked for one, I got the two heads look. Now, my brother in law brings a bagful up to us whenever he comes up for a visit from Danbury. I heard that the deli he gets them from gets frequent deliveies from Arthur Ave, but I can’t substantiate that claim. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if it were truly so. Likewise, when we go down to visit him and the family, a trip to the deli for a bag of hard rolls is SOP. BTW, andother one that seems to be tough to find around here is a salted bagel. My wife loves them but can’t get them around here. What’s up with this? Anyhow, I don’t care what people in Boston call their rolls. If it ain’t a hard roll, it ain’t a hard roll!!! Period!!!

  22. Dawn says:

    I am doing a posting on my food blog about the hard roll with butter, and in research for more info about hard rolls found your post. LOVE the hard roll, cold butter. Hard to explain to people who don’t understand it’s basic lusciousness. Thanks for the posting, you’re my hero!

  23. Joyce says:

    We moved from NY to the Midwest in 1980. Haven’t had a decent hard roll ever here. One of my big treats is going to a deli in Westchester and
    getting a hard roll with butter when we visit NY.

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