About Have Pig Will Travel: We started as an on-site pig roast and catering business somewhere around 1997. We have changed somewhat over the years and in other ways we have stayed the same. When I say "we" I refer to my awesome wife and the wonderful helpers that have worked for me over the years. But the main core of the business is me Richard G Smith Jr. I am the guy on the phone, the webmaster, the photographer, planner, cook, sauce maker, equipment welder, firewood cutter and all the other things that make this little business work. I have personally catered well over 1000 events in the last 20 years. I rest on my accolades.
History: I purchased Have Pig Will Travel from a man in Ringoes, NJ back around 1997 (honestly I can't remember the year). I moved the business forward with the addition of what I call "Real BBQ". More about that later. I moved from the back yard affairs to company picnic, events, festival vending, cook-offs, sauce making and more. I have cooked all over NJ, Eastern PA and NYC area.
Born in Hunterdon County New Jersey my family moved to the Southwestern part of Virginia during my high school years. While there I observed many pig roasts and seen how to cook pigs. I always thought it was rather easy. After high school I returned to NJ and years later out of necessity (got laid off) I was at the helm of this little business.
Real BBQ: This is the focus of my business for a long time now. What Is "Real BBQ"? Meat cooked over wood. Propane stole the flavor from America's backyard years ago and most people didn't even realize what happened. I say most people meaning here in the Northeast. In the South and other rural areas folks know their BBQ. Around here there is so much flat out fake bbq it is a crying shame. All the corporate restaurants have their way of engineering food to taste like something it is not. Engineer and food should not even be used in the same sentence. Smaller restaurants have various ways to make you think you ate something you thought was bbq. Aroma machines producing a smoky smell as soon as you come through the door, is just one of many techniques they use.
A 20 year old New Jersey college kid more than likely knows squat about real bbq. But he is the guy manning the bbq pit at your local restaurant, yes he needs a job and that is great. If there is not a pile of wood out back, there is not real bbq coming out of the pit.
Lately I have noticed some BBQ shops popping up here in Hunterdon County. Some are using smokers that use a "digital brain" to add wood pellets or wafers to the smoker. Why a digital brain you may ask? Because they can not use their own. Cooking with wood is an art. It is being able to tell the difference between cherry wood or white oak, red oak, hickory and so on, and know the flavor each wood produces. True BBQ is not putting pellets in a hopper and using a digital box to operate your equipment. Learning about rubs & spices, this is an art of it's own that also finds it's way into the spectrum of true BBQ. Sauce making: this is where you really create your own signature in BBQ. You must have your own sauce. And we have 6 of them at last count.
I remember competing in my first KCBS cook-off in North Wildwood, NJ back in 1999. What fun it was to meet all the competitors from all across the country and see all the different styles and techniques. What fun I had that weekend. We did not win but we placed in the top 10 with brisket & chicken and that was awesome.
Look at my FAQ page for more info and learn about bbq.
I have been in this business long enough to see many pig roasting guys come and go. We are still here. Why? I believe it is because I try to give the customers what they are looking for. Most customers want a pig roast, where the pig is cooking for hours leading up to the event.
Beware, many caterers will arrive with some little pig they cooked in their kitchen or worse yet meat just cut up in pans and they will call that a pig roast. Shame on them for misleading the customer.
I, on the other hand arrive and cook the pig in a timely fashion, from raw to finish, right there at your location. I describe it as "as close to a country style pig roast as you can get within a catering context."
So I focus on cooking or "smoke cooking" the old way. For ribs, chicken, brisket, turkey and wings I use a custom built Kingfisher smoker. For roasting pigs I use custom built ovens that I have made myself. Pigs are roasted and other meat is smoked. But all is cooked using real wood or hardwood charcoal. Propane is used for burgers & dogs. I want to stay original and true to form with the bbq. So come on in to the website and poke around.
Ok enough of the ranting.
My mission statement to you the "customer" when it comes to catering your party or event:
I am going to cook awesome tasting food for your party PERIOD. I'll tell you right up front I am not the fanciest caterer to come down the pike. But fancy is not what I'm about. I'm about good ole fashion down home smoked cooked meat and the side dishes to go along with it. I and the assistants that work with me fully understand it is your big day and that's it. We are going to do whatever it takes to deliver great tasting food to your party or event. Remember that while this is your big day, for me I am like Bill Murray in the movie "Groundhog Day." Folks I can't emphasize enough what it is like to do the same thing for 20+ years. But I can tell you that consistency is the key to cooking good BBQ and what we do is pretty much the same as we have always done it.
Who is Munn?
Naruemol Phansa Ard – Smith is my wife since 2009.
Naruemol (pronounced nar-rue-munn) so we call her Munn.
Hometown: The village of Ban Khamin, Kalasin, Thailand (a place where the streets have no names).
In the past she has worked in the auto industry around the Bangkok area. She also worked in her late brother’s restaurant in Kalasin. She now works part-time at the Flemington Shop Rite and is co-owner of Have Pig Will Travel.
Munn is a Thai lady, she is a Thai chef. She may very well be the best Thai chef you will ever meet and I don’t say that lightly. Yes she can make all your favorite “Americanized” Thai treats that we have all tasted at our local Thai food shops. But being of Thai/Lao decent she can cook all that old style Thai/Lao food that Thai people like, and reminds them of their home. Not a vegetarian, but close. She loves to cook with veggies, fish, pork & chicken and rarely eats beef.
Munn came to the USA a few short years ago and had a desire to master American style BBQ and true smoke cooking. Knowing very little about American food and how to prepare it she has come a long way in a very short time. She has mastered cooking with wood and operating my Kingfisher smoker. Using my time tested side dish recipes she loves to make our fresh salads and sides each week. And most of all she has mastered the roasting of the pig.
Munn is lover of the people, especially children, and the biggest dog lover of all. In Thailand she would many times bring home the injured stray dog, nurse it to health and find it a home. She loves hard work, loves her garden, does not drink or smoke and belongs to the THAINEPA (Thai ladies social group). She works on her English every day and loves to talk. Take the time to talk with her and you’ll have new friend for life.
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