How it all began
A brief history by proprietor, Matt Cook...
It all began sometime in the late 40s just after the end of the war when my grandfather Albert Cook used a wooden spit over an ash log fire to cook one of his Devon Close wool lambs for Chittlehampton young farmers club.
After a "small mishap" in the early fifties with one of the wooden spits (luckily he had a spare to finish the roast) he asked his very good friend Danny Murch of Murch Brothers Engineers in Umberleigh to make him a steel one to solve the problem.
Granddad and Gran (Ruth Cook) carried on hog roasting right through to the late 90s roasting everything from lambs at village fetes to bullocks on Croyde beach and even at the age of 88, he still helps me out when I am busy. Occasionally, the original hog roasting setup is brought out of retirement when someone wants a really traditional hog roast.
One evening in the summer of 2004, I was out for a quiet pint at "The Bell" in Chittlehampton I bumped into a few friends. They were trying to come up with ideas to raise money for the football club to help buy a new team kit. After a few more pints and a few more ideas I asked, "Why don’t we do a hog roast ? I am sure we still have all the gear in one of the sheds", little did I know how much this would change my weekends for the next 9 years.
In the summer of 2008 after 4 summers of "wrestling" and learning the flaws in the original machine I designed and manufactured the current trailed machine which made everything a little easier. At the end of 2009 I started to think about making the hog roasting a bit more official.
So one night (again in the Bell), Mr Jones the landlord was very busy on his own behind the bar. Being his friend I offered to help; his words to me were, "Mr Cook, I do beer; you do pigs". The next day www.doapig.com was born.
Calling my company Do A Pig had its pros and cons; everyone remembers the name but some were a little embarrassed to say it when enquiring on the phone. At the end of 2012 I decided to change the name to the more formal "North Devon Hog Roasts" whilst still keeping the Do A Pig for the web and email addresses.
To date we have cooked pigs, lambs, red deer, roe deer and wild boar, we have cooked from the deepest valleys of Dartmoor to the highest hills of Exmoor and from the blue flag beaches of North Devon right through to VIP events in the centre of London.
Thanks for reading
Ruth Cook turning the wheel whilst brothers Albert Cook (neareast) and Clifford Cook keep an eye on things, Gran would spend all day turning and Grandad would spend all day talking I was once told. Taken, we think, around 1960
Gran and Grandad at Prawnsley in North Molton in 1992
Spit-roasting a Lamb in Bishops Nympton around 1980