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.
I have been regularly contributing to a terrific round table podcast presented by Hucks Hut. This episode was a great discussion with John Markus Executive Producer of BBQ Pitmasters on the TLC Network.
This weeks episode involves John answering a lot of questions about the show and himself in addition there was a great discussion on Super Bowl food!. Great recipes too! Listen HERE
Also just a reminder this show is part of the BCRN The BBQ Central Radio Networks
Tonight on the BBQ Central Radio Show with Greg Rempe – MYRON Mixon.
Out of all the characters on the TLC BBQ Pitmasters show it is her that I relate to most. Her struggles as a Mom, Restaurant owner and competitor resonate with me. Being a female in a male dominated sport is incredibly difficult and challenging. We face a lot of unnecessary comments on our actual abilities. We get questioned and doubted despite our results. Rarely does the hard work get acknowledged by others. However I believe that our focus and determination excels with each challenged faced and ultimately conquered. Garnering respect is an uphill battle.
I would not let her smile, blond hair and demeanour fool you. She doesn’t want your chivalry. Reality is – she really doesn’t need it. She can haul her own pit set up her own site and do it all herself. Behind her beautiful appearance is a sharp, knowledgeable woman who knows how to fiercely compete, and she will do just about anything to beat your ass…
D-How did you learn how to BBQ?
LA-It has been a combination self taught and from my father Jim Tabb . I have competed almost my entire life without my Dad. He’s a great guy. This doesn’t take anything away from how much I love and respect him. However he is not responsible for my competition accomplishments.
D-Favorite thing to cook on a BBQ?
LA-I used to hate to cook brisket and now it’s turned into my favorite now. Because it’s challenging.
It changes with the trends and challenges of whatever category and then it becomes my favourite item. It’s never cooking the same thing the same way. Once you achieve and conquer then you move on to the next category.
D- What’s the farthest you have traveled for a BBQ competition?
LA-Mesquite NV took 4 -12 hour days I don’t think it can get much further than that.
D-How did you like Mesquite?
LA- The weather sucked. It was horrible dry hot and dry. I hate cooking in heat. The event itself was tremendously run. The caliber of teams was great and overall very well organized. If it wasn’t for the trek I would go back.
D- What have been some of the challenges of doing the show?
LA- Aside from the time away – my trailer. I had to get new tires and new brakes just for Mesquite. I had the tires delivered to the site and had to get them on. The trailer is 24 ft long. The pit (jedmaster) weighs a lot. It has a full kitchen with grey water tanks and of course all the rest of the equipment.
Jamie Geer advised me -I think your axles are off with the trailer. It will cost me close to $3000.00 to get it fixed and redone before the next long trek. I knew something was not right. When I am vending I am carrying tons of meat I am filled to the brim. I kept blowing tires. Overall I have had it for 7 years.
D-What are some of the challenges of being female at competitions-?
LA-Being a female I hate asking anyone for help. For example it’s always a challenge backing up my trailer- I mean I will tell them thanks for being a gentleman but let me do it. I refuse to let them do it. I will back it up 50,000 times before I will ask.
D-Why do you think there are so few females in competitive BBQ?
LA-IF you look at these guys. It’s like the guys getting together doing the guy thing. I think a lot of the guys -for them- it’s an excuse to get out. Also I know from the aspect of doing catering and business in itself and it’s a really heavy- lifting dirty job. A lot of women don’t have any desire to do it. Cleaning pits is messy. For the women that are with the men they tend to do the dishes and the boxes. They seem to be content with that.
D-Do you think this show will change the impression of female competitive BBQ’ers?
LA-I don’t really think so. Typically it’s still the guys that come up and discuss BBQ. Women will come up and say go get em’ girl more like a cheerleader.
When I was younger I was begging guys to let me cook with them. Just so I could learn. I have never had a woman come up to me and ask to cook with me. I can’t put my finger on it completely. I just can’t explain it.
I don’t compete a lot but I think that women are more focused. They don’t get as involved in the partying aspect. You have to know better. The guys just sometimes get on the party trek maybe from peer pressure. Maybe it’s the man thing the guys trying to outdo each other with drinks.
I don’t start drinking more than maybe 1 or 2 for the whole night- until its 1:35pm and turn ins are done. Then the tequila can come out. Not before.
I am seriously focused. I’ll tell my staff if we are vending and competing from this time to this time stay the hell out of my way. I don’t mean to be mean and I just want to concentrate and focus. Period. You spend money to be there. You don’t want to screw up.
D- What do you think of some of the comments thrown your way?
LA- It surprises me sometimes what happens. I hear comments that the contests are fixed if I win. That is just a sorry bunch of crap. Its just crap talk.
Maybe they are scared about women winning.
D- Which competition was the most challenging from the series?
LA- Murphysboro was the most difficult. It had different turn in times for KCBS and MIM. It took me 2 hours to work out a time line for it. Myron excells at it. He was the most experienced at that even in MIM. However in KCBS – I did well. They are probably not going to show that. Myron is spectacular on TV. It was an awesome experience. I would do it again for the challenge because I am so competitive. Took me out of my comfort zone.
D- How did you get involved with the show?
LA- I did the Versus show. John Markus called my Dad and got my number or maybe through Carolyn Wells. Also having prior experience with the Food Network they can see I am really serious about BBQ. On my phone even there is a box of sliced brisket instead of my children.
D- How many children do you have?
LA- 2 girls- 19 yr old in college and my 10 yr old who came with me to 3 events. She will be the one that takes over someday. I feel bad sometimes due to the time I am away from them. My photo albums are full of competitions pictures. Not enough pictures of my children. It is very difficult to juggle it all. Being a single mom is hard as heck. I worry about my 19 yr old -with her gone. My youngest will be 11 this year and she comes with me to work. She goes to school then she comes to the restaurant. She is occupied here and I try to get out at a reasonable time. I have to support myself and my family. I have to share the devotion to the business and to them. I live with the guilt every day that I may not be doing enough. My kids are both extremely independent. For my youngest she doesn’t think a whole lot about her Mom being on TV. It’s just her personality. She is really mature. It’s just normal for her.
D- What about your boyfriend Billy? Does he help you?
LA-He (Billy) made it through 5 episodes he became enthralled about competition BBQ but after 3 years we went our separate ways. I won’t say the show had anything to do with it. It was just time.
D- What was your very first pit you took to your first competition?
LA- My first pit was my Dad’s Oklahoma Joe. The first competition was in 1996 competing in a Georgia state competition. At that time I had just been through the judging school. Then I had WSMS along the way.
The big investment was the jedmaster on the trailer in 2002. I was practicing a lot- I did not know how I was going to handle the pit for its first competition in Bel Air Maryland and I ended up getting a RGC.
Over the years I have brought the bullet back in and the Big Green eggs came in due to Billy and its just part of the Artillery.
D- How much meat do you cook for a comp?
LA- I am famous for cooking way too much meat. (she laughs when she says ) Typically for a contest 6-8 butts,2-3 briskets, 16 pieces chicken, 8 racks ribs both backs and spares . I believe in safety in numbers. I have the luxury of bringing it back to the restaurant for my staff to eat.
D- What has been your favorite contest?
LA– Danville VA, is great as well as Chesapeake Jubilee VA because it’s a really nice event and everyone will attest it is really well organized right from the very first year. Well run. Home turf and lots of friends and family that’s what it’s about.
D- What was your favorite part about the series?
LA-Camaraderie -the whole group became so tight. Just like a family. I have this emptiness now a bit because we were really getting to know each other- due to the stress levels and the environment and how hard we all worked. We all hope overall will come out great for BBQ.
I really hope that this brings some of those corporate sponsors in and awareness about what we do. Overall we have become such good friends. No one seemed to be singled out. We were all so different. Plus the crew – Wow they were with us day in and day out. Shooting the last show and going to the goodbye party was difficult. It was really like walking away from family.
One of the nicest things that happened involved Myron Mixon. I have a high respect for him.
I had won in Mesquite 2nd in dessert 2nd in steak. SO here I was with these trophy cutting boards. I thought it would be nice if everyone from the show signed it:
Dear Lee Ann –You are the hardest working woman in BBQ. That meant so much to me. I work so hard and to have it acknowledged is great.
You can also become a Wood Chicks Facebook Fan
John’s Markus article in National Lampoon about Lee Ann
Tuffy Helps Myron Out
Harry teaches Gary
Tonights Episode will cover the American Royal Open 10pm EST on TLC
Just in time some great BBQ Side dish recipes posted
Well its a great night to be interested in BBQ!
First up at -9pm EST there is the BBQ Central Show
Tonights Live Episode will feature David Bouska from Butcher BBQ.
David is a really great guy. I speak from personal experience. He is an incredible BBQ’er and a terrific asset to the entire BBQ community. His team Butchers BBQ came in 7th on the TOY listings for the KCBS. He is a smart business man and his products are top notch.
I am looking forward to listening to this episode.
Additionally tonight on Jay Leno – Myron Mixon will be making an appearance. Very excited to see a fellow competitive BBQ’er on National TV. Looking forward to seeing if they have to use the Bleeps much.
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