One of the best summer activities is the backyard party—playing music until it echoes down the street, the smell of meat and veggies smoking on the grill, refreshing drinks and merrymaking until the sun goes down. Offering all this in single package is newcomer Pig&Rig—a London- and Norwich-based company started by two artistic friends that brings a custom-built soundsystem and a roasting oven—complete with a 135-pound hog—to your next event.
Graphic designer Jacob Read and photographer Will Walker met at school in Norwich seven years ago. Read has firsthand experience in quality mobile catering—after graduating last summer, he worked as a chef at the Breakfast Club (a group of independent cafés around London) and traveled with them around the UK festival circuit (along with Walker). After leaving the catering life for jobs in the art world, the two missed the unique atmosphere that was created when good music merged with tasty eats, and the way that can bring a diverse group of people together.
"We always discussed how good it would be to combine music and food and eventually came up with the idea for Pig&Rig," says Read, who almost decided to go to music school himself. "We saw a gap in the market for our unique combination." Having artistic backgrounds has helped distinguish themselves from the now-common food truck scene; their mobile operation offers delicious grub as well as indie music pumped through high-quality speakers and friends designing posters and logos. "We want to uphold a reputation for the visual side of the project and maintain a high quality of art throughout building a collective of artists involved."
Pig&Rig's sound system was custom-built by Nottingham-based Martin Colt of Audiocabs—who they happened to meet through online forums. Spending a month designing the system together—based on their needs and Colt's expertise—the team has ended up with a 4500 kilowatt sound system with an unusual natural wood finish: two USB bass bins (with two 18" Fane Colossus drivers), two ported mid-tops and two Crown XLS2500 amplifiers to power the system. In short, they've invested a lot of money into it because they're quite serious about bringing the jams (and bass) to the party—this isn't just a little portable speaker. "Due to the fact that we play a lot of reggae music, the bass is one of the most important aspects," Read says.
As for the song selections, Pig&Rig is good friends with London-based Wizard Sleeve Collective (who also have their own custom sound system) and hope to collaborate with them regularly. "At our launch party a lot of the boys from Wizard Sleeve were on the decks playing everything from funk, hip-hop, reggae and Afro beat," recalls Read.
The duo is serious about the food, too. Following the traditional Cuban method of roasting pigs in an aluminum box—which is a more efficient way to roast a pig, taking 40% less time—the crew uses a La Caja China roasting oven. Though arguably a little less appealing than a hog turning over an open flame, the oven's box-like structure locks in the flavors and also produces "incredible crackling" (the crisp skin of roast pork). The oven is capable of roasting a 135-pound pig (enough to feed 100 people) in less than five hours.
Pig&Rig's menu highlight is slow-roasted pork marinated in their special combination of spices and juices, served on a ciabatta roll topped with apple sauce, stuffing, fresh arugula and, of course, crackling. And don't let the name deter you—it's not all just swine. "We're keen to experiment with different types of meat," says Read, noting that at their next event, they will be roasting a whole lamb in the oven. They also bring along an interesting vegetarian option: a Turkish pasta salad, and "Gettin' Lemon," their homemade lemonade.
"We can travel anywhere in the UK in our Pig&Rig van, which can take us and all of our equipment wherever we please," says Read, though they predominantly serve in London, Greater London and Norfolk. Next summer, they're hoping to take Pig&Rig from festival to festival all over Europe.
Illustrations courtesy of Russell Taysom, images courtesy of Pig & Rig