Brian “BT” Buckner
Brian, Pitmaster
What first attracted you to barbecue?
The year was 2003. It was early April, and I was on my yearly spring break pilgrimage to Richmond, Virginia to spend some quality time with my brother. It was then that he introduced me to what would become my obsession. Elliott and I have always enjoyed cooking together, especially when that meant over some form of open flame. It was not uncommon for my brother and I had to spend our time out on his back porch grilling, however this time it was different. It was on this visit that he wheeled out the new toy.....The Charbroil offset smoker(kind of a joke looking back, but ya gotta ride a big wheel before a Harley). There was something magical about waking up at the crack of dawn to get the fire going. The intoxicating smell of burning hickory and mass quantities of slow cooking meat put a choke hold on me yet to be released. What came off of the smoker that night was truly a life changing experience of biblical proportion. It was unlike anything that I had tasted. I had consumed my fair share of barbecue before, however this shattered my perception of good barbecue. Knowing that we could raise the bar, the quest for better barbecue began.
What first attracted you to Barbecue competitions?
After years of working on what must have been hundreds of rubs, sauces, and assorted recipes, not to mention thousands of dollars worth of upgrades on smokers, it was time to test our product against the professionals to see where we ranked. Grand Champion at our first ever comp! That....and you wouldn’t believe how many women are attracted to a bunch of middle age overweight men who stink of smoke and bourbon!
How did you come to be a member of such a prestigious barbeque team?
Look at the name.....It was a birthright.
What is your favorite part of competitions?
Everything. I love the excitement of pulling in and seeing the other competitors setting up their rigs. I love the taste of that first sip of mint julep once the tents are up. I love the second glass of mint julep once we start prepping the meat. I love the third (and sometimes fourth) glass of mint julep in celebration of being done with the meat prep. I love it when witty neighbors tell me that their meat is bigger than mine....and then beating them. It ain’t the size of the meat, its how you rub your butts! I love sitting around a campfire at night telling lies with good friends as we polish off what is left of the gallon of julep. I love waking up in a chair next to an empty cup not knowing what time it is or when the last log was tossed into the smoker. Most importantly, I love walking away with hardware!
What is your job title and what does it requires you to do?
Co-Pit Master: I along with my brother am in charge of all food prep, smoker prep and maintenance, creation of spice rub and sauce recipes, planning the cook times and other assorted comp stratergery. And since 70% of the team can never seem to get to a comp on time, I am also in charge of set up and site preparation. Oh, and making sure that we only over sleep by an hour, and that Andy is comfortable with his sleeping arrangements. He requires no less than 9 hours of sleep per night.
How has barbeque changed your life?
Well, I can honestly say that I have an unhealthy obsession. I eat, sleep, breathe, live, and die barbeque. My spare time is now spent researching new and better techniques and recipes, which according to my wife is not quality time regardless of the fact that she is in the same room. I believe it was Lincoln who stated “it has been my experience that men of few vices have little virtue”. Well, thanks to barbeque, I’m one of the most virtuous people I know!
How will Buckner Brothers Barbeque eventually take over the world?
The same way the British conquered trade with China.....Addiction. Only we probably will use our world class barbeque rather than opium like the British. One taste and you’ll be hooked!
What is your favorite competition beverage?
The old Buckner family recipe Mint Julep. It’s not just for breakfast anymore!!