WARWICK, OKLAHOMA — We got here just in time. Twelve short hours before, David Bouska but a brisket in his smoker, set the temperature at 170 degrees, and waited for barbecue magic to happen.
“Here it is,” he says lifting a huge slab of dripping meat out of its foil package. “The tenderness, the flavor, and the juice are a very big part of cooking a brisket.”
Brisket and burnt ends, sauce and rubs, Bouska cooks and concocts from a specially built trailer on his place in Warwick.
It’s not a restaurant but if you’re lucky enough to be there when he’s tweaking one of his specialties then you might get a treat from one of the most decorated barbecuers in Oklahoma.
“Barbecuing is a lot like being a fine dining chef,” he argues. “They go to school for several years to learn how to cook that way. We cook in our backyards with our smokers for several years to learn our pits, our barbecues, and out methods.”
His awards crowd for counter space. They pack his shelves. Bouska can’t use his old meat cooler any more. It’s too full of trophies and ribbons from the competitions he travels to 30 to 40 weekends every year.
The last one was a national award from a Las Vegas show. He won for his brisket recipe, naturally.
Speaking about the importance of quality ingredients, Bouska insists, “You have to start out with the good stuff. You can’t start out with hamburger and come out with prime rib.”
David’s barbecue team is usually just he and his brother. It’s called Butcher BBQ because that’s what Bouska has always been.
His regular business next door to the trailer is cutting meat, and hamburger too, for people who supply their own animals.
He’s busy but it’s still quiet here. When the competition season quiets down he works on new ideas for barbecue.
“If I’m cooking for the wife, or my family, or myself,” he says, “Oh yeah. I’m always playing.”
If the awards don’t say his slogan for you then his barbecue will. ‘You can always trust your butcher’.
The Butcher BBQ team will head out again this spring for competition season. In the offseason when he’s not experimenting David teaches classes in barbecue and markets a line of sauces and rubs.