WELLSTON, OKLAHOMA — 11 o’clock on a Friday morning and the kind of dinner bell only hungry barbecue lovers can hear is ringing loudly.
“This is the kitchen,” declares pit master Levi Bouska. “This is the coup de gras. This is where everything happens.”
He’s has been here most of the night before.
His converted rail car smoker has been on low heat cooking brisket for close to 15 hours.
The oven also holds ribs, sausage, pulled pork, and even specially made hamburger patties.
“They’re 60 percent beef, 40 percent ground bacon, smoked for 90 minutes,” he says while lifting the steamy lid.
For the first time this summer Butcher Barbecue, the same bunch that won contests all over the country, is coming out the walk-up window to a hungry public.
Bouska says, “When we put this together I literally wanted to build a destination spot. I wanted to build a place that I would want to go to because I’m kind of a foody. I plan trips around where to eat.”
Levi’s family has some history with this intersection of Route 66 and I-44 near Wellston.
In the 1920’s owners named it Pioneer Camp.
Later on, it became the barbecue joint where Levi grew up.
He recalls, “I was in there at 5 years old so I’ve been around barbecue my whole life. Then my dad and uncle got into competitions in 2006.”
3 years ago he and his dad were running a real butcher shop and competing in barbecue contests on weekends.
Levi saw this place in his head and built it.
“We cooked a lot of food and hoped for the best is what we did,” he smiles.
They had the reputation already served up.
The Bouskas still display a few of their trophies in front of the rail car.
But it’s still funny how a little stand like this got so popular so fast.
Levi points around the small serving kitchen and says, “No fry-laters, no ovens, no nothing. If it can’t be cooked in a smoker we don’t cook it.” (the only dessert they serve at the stand are Twinkies)
They’re only open Fridays and weekends, but customers know to come and get in line quickly.
One of the first rules of barbecue: when the meat runs out it’s gone ’till the next day.
Bouska warns, “We tell people who want ribs or brisket to try to get here by 5pm because we start running out about that time.”
They travel from all directions for the competition style ‘Q’.
Levi Bouska doesn’t win any blue ribbons or trophies here.
His reward is just a line that keeps getting longer.
Levi’s dad and uncle are still competing under the Butcher Barbecue banner.
Levi himself had to quit to run his stand.
For more information including the menu and a map go to www.butcherbbqstand.com