This month we go under the tent with the team that in my opinion has been the most dominant Competitive BBQ team in the history of the Rocky Mountain BBQ Association – lets take a couple of minutes to get to know Burnin’ Bob and Burnin’ Donna of Burnin’ Bob’s Butts and Bones a bit better.
How did you come up with the name Burnin’ Bob’s Butts n Bones?—With only a desire to cook better BBQ, I purchased a 36” Kingfisher offset smoker and proceeded to destroy a couple hundred pounds of perfectly good meat. The ribs and pork came off respectable, as I had done them before on a Brinkman water smoker, and had a basic idea on the process. Then came the brisket. The end result looked similar to a meteorite or lump of coal. That was when Donna’s only reply was “it looks a little burnt”.
Who is on your team?—We started out competing with my wife, two kids, and myself. After a couple of cooks the kids lost interest, which left trooper Donna and me. It’s just been the two of us for ten years now.
What do you like to do when you’re not BBQing?—We have always been in to camping, boating, snowmobiling, and anything that gets us out of the house. This has been very successful in keeping the family close.
Tell us a little about your equipment, what kind of smoker do you use? –I have always been a stick burner, and started out with the small offset mentioned earlier, then moved to a rotisserie. After two years of frustration, I built my own, which is the 30” offset that I still use.
What is your favorite “gadget” item you like to use when BBQing?—I’m not much for gadgets, but I’d be lost without my “pigtail hooks”.
What BBQ accomplishment are you most proud of and why?—I guess I’m the most proud of winning the Rocky Mountain CUP, four years out of the ten years we have been competing. There have been, and will always be some great cooks in KCBS and the rocky mountain region, and to be recognized this way is very special.
What is your favorite contest and why?—That’s a hard question. We have been to the Royal and Jack Daniel’s, but my favorite may be the Dillon contest, which sad to say, no longer exists. This was about a 70 team event that we won against some of the top teams in the nation.
Do you have any BBQ goals for 2014, and why?—The goal for this year is to win the CUP, which is more of a challenge each year, but more than that, I want to end the year knowing we had a good time and met a lot of good people.
Who or what has influenced how you BBQ the most and how have they influenced you specifically?—I think the person who has been my inspiration is Johnny Trigg. This is one of the nations greatest cooks, and yet is down to earth, and will always take time to talk with people and offer help. He keeps things basic and wins with talent. He is also the oldest cook on the competition circuit, and I am the second.
What is the one thing you learned through the school of hard knocks that you wish you knew when you first got started?—That one’s easy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice. It will save you a lot of money and frustration.
If you could only BBQ or eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?—That’s a hard one. As much as I like a good rib, I’m kind of addicted to coconut shrimp. Maybe it’s because we don’t have it every day.
What is your favorite restaurant and what do you like to get there?—I like La Loma’s Mexican restaurant in Denver. They may have the best green chili in the world, so anything smothered in it works for me.
Wildcard is there anything you would like the readers to know about you, your team or BBQ in general that was not asked?—Donna and I have spent ten years in what started out being just a hobby, and through the ups and downs, have enjoyed this sport, the people you meet along the way, and the friendships developed along the way. Competition BBQ is not a cheap hobby, so if you plan to start competing, do it with an open mind, knowing there will always be that learning curve, and get to know the great people in our BBQ family.
Thanks Bob for a great interview