WALLINGFORD — Pig Rig has been offering the greater-Wallingford area flavorful barbecue since 2012.
The restaurant, in a plaza at 950 Yale Ave., started as a food truck in late 2012 and opened a storefront about a year later. A full dining room was added in 2017.
“It started off as a little, quick-service restaurant … and now it's kind of bring your own beer, super casual, family-oriented,” said owner Dan Lanigan, who runs the business with his wife Brenna.
Pig Rig serves a variety of barbeque dishes with a blend of cooking styles. It is most similar to Kansas City dry-rub and uses real smokers and hickory wood. But Lanigan isn’t a purist when it comes to his food.
“The crazier (the order) the more apt I am to do it,” he said. “If it's bland or normal or you can find it somewhere else, it’s not my bag, it's not what I’m gonna do.”
The menu boasts a variety of smoked meats, like chicken, beef brisket and pulled pork, which are also put in sandwiches topped with smoked mac and cheese, coleslaw, and beans.
You can also get hot dogs topped with chili or pulled pork, and sides like red bliss potato salad, cornbread, and diesel or cowboy beans. Recent additions include authentic collared greens and three-cheese grits with bacon jam.
He calls it, somewhat jokingly, “Connecticut Barbecue” because it doesn’t follow any rules. No matter what you want to call it, Lanigan says customers come from near and far. He’s had people stop in as they pass through the state, or come by whenever they’re nearby for business.
Lanigan, an army veteran, loves the people-aspect of the business and loves to talk about America, kids, rock and roll and hot rods. The decor includes an American flag piece, a Motörhead figurine and a lava lamp that greets customers at the front counter.
Steve Nevard, of Wallingford, was at Pig Rig Thursday afternoon for lunch. As a barbeque-cooker himself, he appreciates the quality of the food.
“This is one of the best (barbeques) I’ve ever had for a restaurant,” Nevard said.
Middletown resident Angel Crespo said he usually goes for the moo-mac sandwich, beef brisket topped with smoked mac & cheese on buns.
“I love this place, Pig Rig is amazing,” Crespo said. “You just feel at home …”