Festival sponsor Hog & Beyond brings home the bacon!
While you might have expected the founder of Hog and Beyond, Matt Briggs, to be more of a fan of piggy bank Hamm in Pixar’s Toy Story, it was actually Buzz Lightyear that became the inspiration for the company’s name back in 2015.
“We had spent ages searching for a name, and our first event was only weeks away when I found myself watching Toy Story,” Matt admits.
“The tweak to Buzz’s most famous line really works for us because we really try to push the boundaries, whether it be the cut of meat, the flavour or the cooking technique.We champion pork because it’s such a versatile meat, providing us with the opportunity to go beyond with exciting menus.”
Masterminded by Matt Briggs and Simon Woods, Hog & Beyond is a Yorkshire brand with street food at its heart but with a passion that has taken the brand down new avenues. Now supplying Hello Fresh with pork products and recipes, the company’s enthusiasm for combining local produce and global flavours is spreading far and wide.
Before starting the company, Simon had been a chef for 20 years, working in a number of top kitchens, including The Savoy, as well as lecturing at Westminster College, helping to inspire the chefs of the future. Matt has always been passionate about food, pushing culinary boundaries at both home and work and exploring the world through eating, with trying new flavours being the number one priority wherever he visits.
“We work well as a team,” Matt reveals. “The dynamics mean that I am constantly coming up with creative ideas and Simon, as the more practical, classically trained chef, considers if they actually work!”
The company’s ethos is what sets it apart from the rest – taking food from Yorkshire and techniques from traditional British artisans, and then scouring the world for interesting flavours to overlay. Matt explains: “The key thing is that it has to be authentic – but then we look at how we can push the boundaries. If we were looking at Korea, for example, sriracha sauce is the most common flavour we have in the UK. But we find gochujang, a fermented chilli paste, more interesting. There’s a sweeter note, which takes the edge off the raw heat.”
What makes Hog & Beyond so unique is the importance it places on the supply chain; they seek out true craftsmen who are applying artisanal techniques. In their quest for the greatest bacon, they sought out Chris Battle – the ‘Godfather of Bacon’ and master butcher who is well known across Yorkshire.
“Chris reinvented bacon at a time when poor quality, ‘wet’ Danish bacon was flooding the market,” Matt explains. “He stood for artisan British producers, producing the best quality bacon out there. We have developed our own bacon with him, from outdoor bred pigs, with very high welfare standards. You have to put the best in, to get the best out. We cure our bacon by hand in the traditional way. It is then left to mature for three days before being air dried for a further fourteen days. You get a much meatier texture, which is rich in flavour. I wouldn’t accept anything less.”
The artisan butchery and curing process inspires the company’s street food, from mouth-watering sweet and salty cured racks of ribs, to modern twists on classic flavours such as the gammon and pineapple burger, with chargrilled sugar-coated pineapple for extra sweetness.
But don’t get too attached to any one product, as Matt continues: “We change our menu regularly – we’re constantly reinventing. We’ve too many ideas to keep doing the same things, no matter how much we love them. You’re unlikely to taste the same dish twice. At last year’s Malton Food Lovers Festival, we had a customer travel 60 miles because they wanted to have our Truffle Steak Burger for the second day in a row – if he’d waited to see us a few weeks later, it would probably have been off the menu!”
Matt finishes: “We started as a street food brand and that’s what we love doing. We have exciting plans for the brand, taking our passion for quality food to infinity and beyond but our street food credentials will remain at the very heart of what we do. It’s a simple concept – delighting people with great food.”
Hog & Beyond is sponsoring the Festival Food Court at this year’s Malton Food Lovers Festival and you can see Executive Chef, Simon Woods, in action in live cookery demonstrations taking place at 3pm on both Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May in the Inntravel & Yorkshire Baker Cookery Theatre. Hog & Beyond will also be serving their delicious street food creations from their stall in Market Place East over the weekend where they are putting a British spin on US barbecue – Rhubarb & Ginger Beer Ribs, Beer Belly Sliders, and Porchetta Pulled Pork Sandwiches.