David Bouska is the creator of Butcher BBQ- injections, and rubs from Chandler Oklahoma. He also happens to be an award winning BBQ Champion coming in this year with a 7th overall finish in the KCBS TOY standings out of 4700+ teams . Additionally in the rankings he came in 9th in chicken and 2nd in brisket!!! His injections have a huge following. Some of the top teams in BBQ are part of his winners circle including Tuffy Stone (TLC BBQ Pitmasters, owner of Q, sharper Palate) and the American Royal Invitational Winner- Pork Pullin’ Plowboys. He has over 28 years of meat experience. When he talks about meat people notice and pay attention. He has a great respect for competition. I have no doubt he will be working really hard to move that 7th to first.
D-How did you begin comp BBQ?
DB-I have been hand in hand with the meat world. For 28 years. Either running meat markets running sausage markets wholesaling to restaurants always had that in the back of my head. The wife and I were sitting in the house reading a paper. We saw a KCBS Comp in Enid Oklahoma. I thought to myself – I would like to do that. I looked it up on the website. Realized there was a lot of interest in it.
For me the competitive juices have run in my blood for a long time. I was a competitive archer. I was formerly 10th at the worlds in archery shooting being only 5 pts out of 1st place. I had lots of sponsors and that was the life. So I have competed in different areas.
So we went to see the competition. . I took an inventory of cooks. Realized what I needed to compete. That was Friday night then I drove back the next morning at 7am. Just to watch them compete. I even stuck around for the awards.
My first competition was a month and a half later in Stillwater. I took 9th place in chicken. I have been hooked ever since.
First I had to finish my obligations were finished in the Archery world then I pursued my competition BBQ life.
D-How many years have you competed?
DB- I have been competing since 2004
D-Would you consider ever doing a television show?
DB- Yes at this point. I would want to see everything laid out on the table. I would have to know the ins and out. Then I would make my decision.
With the parts of the show – you have to show some of the behind the scenes, secret brewings. Etc. I am not against it. What I do is simple and revolves around with meat knowledge. I do the exact same thing at the exact same time.
For me the last 2.5 hours is as or more important that the first 14 hours. If you change your process or deviate from your procedure when the last 2.5 hours are there you don’t know if you are off or not. A good pitmaster knows when to adjust. Or what to tweak. That’s when the cream will rise to the top.
All those things play into that timing and your turn in your box. . I how to get to the end because I know how to get from the beginning.
D-What do you think of the TLC BBQ Pitmasters?
DB- I think it is good for BBQ. We have to promote the whole gamut of BBQ. Whatever it may be – catering, competition, or restaurants. We need to keep the three little letters BBQ not cake decorating at the fore front. I get a lot of comments from people who now understand what I do. It’s a shame they are not starting a series now. I know the food network always show the repeats of the BBQ shows in the spring. I wish they would start in February and keep it rolling. The sponsors would see that and say “hey let me get involved in competitions.”
Think of it as this. The only show I can think of is like the old time Western tv shows You always have the good guys the Gene Autrys etc. However whenever you wanted to make “big” news- it was a black hat guy that came in. You had to have a bit of a bad guy or scoundrel you might say. I would not say he is doing anything wrong. He is just out there promoting his name. Name is everything. I am sure it would be standing room only to eat his food. My hats off to him he is wonderful at self promoting. I think half the guys and girls that are complaining don’t be jealous – well get out there and do something yourselves.
D-Who is on your team?
DB-It’s mostly just me and my brother Martin Bouska. My wife does come out when we are at closer competitions. However we have a miniature horse farm and it’s hard to leave them with people. They need tending to. You know I have a good family. Great parents. I live 3 miles from where I was raised at. Raised on a small farm. Martin lives two more miles past me and my other brother lives in Amarillo Texas. Just up the road. Everyone is close.
D- Will you be holding any future competitive BBQ classes?
DB- We had planned on doing one in the spring however it just fell through due to the dates. We have about 70 or so people on the waiting list. Hopefully in the future we can come up with something. We will just have to wait and see.
D-What mad you decide to compose your own butcher BBQ injections?
DB- Originally I was making my own stuff. It was comprised of the same components. I injected everything due to the meat business and history. I just took the moisture out of the play. I didn’t have to worry about it. But I didn’t have the right product yet I used this and that.
I was doing that about a year. Then I took fast Eddy’s class and he was using fab. I said to myself I know what this is. I have dealt with this type of product lots of times and marinated with vacuum tumblers. I started playing for about the next year. The guys around me asked about it. I just kept tweaking at it. Then I gave it to a couple guys.
Two of them were at the American Royal. They did well. So we kept going at it with the same guys- I was finished playing with it. It wasn’t a magic bullet. That’s actually how it came about.
The next year I started playing with the pork product. The basic ingredients are about the same just tweaked a bit differently. So I came out with it. My main ingredient is hydrolyzed vegetable protein. The injections have come from the same suppliers. Everything stays the same and the consistency of the product is good.
D-How did you formulate the rubs?
DB- It’s the very same rub since I started. It’s a balanced rub with 4 different peppers. The different peppers hit you in different parts of your taste buds. I formulated with my injections. This last year I wanted something that was toned down a bit. I wanted to come up with a sweeter rub. So we came out with the honey rub- it’s great for chicken and ribs. At one point I was eating rub morning noon and night. I would be sitting there with my coffee and tasting rub. I tinkered with that religiously. I had all these Dixie cups with plastic wrap on them on the counter. All of the cups had different ingredients. It’s just the process I went through.
D- How did you feel with your results this year 7th place KCBS TOY?
DB- I was honoured. Oh my gosh. Oh heck who doesn’t want to be up there? It was awesome. It is hard to wrap your head around it. That being said I really want to get those 6 places. I am That’s just my competitive nature. I have been working on my ribs now. I have been cooking ribs nonstop. I am trying so many different things. I think I need to work on my method. Just going back tweaking it.
D- Does it matter to you if an event is sanctioned?
DB– I believe it needs something to tell the BBQ cooks what to be cooking for. I would not slam one sanctioning body over another. The parts that I do like (about KCBS) are that there is a nationally set of rules and instructed the judges to them. They have explained it.
When you go to a non sanctioned event you don’t know what they consider perfect. I think it needs something laid out front. I like that they teach the judges. Around here most are KCBS so I will cook to the events to get the points.
D- Do you think there should be a monetary prize for KCBS toy of the year?
DB-Yes I do. I think it should stay the same. A professional is the best at what he does. They should be rewarded. I think they should be the best cook. Look at ISS 22 or 23 contests for the year. That means they cooked fewer contests than us and did better. I think it should be set aside for money $2000.00 is a joke. They need to get a National sponsor for TOY. Flat out. I think it should be HUGE and it will promote people to cook more.
Butcher BBQ Injections and rubs are available on their website.
Additionally Butcher BBQ also has a fan page on facebook.