Creator of Smokey Dave’s barbecue sauce proud of new product

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 04:07 PM

Eventually, we will all understand that there really is no perfect barbecue or barbecue sauce. In the palate of the South, we are as affectionate about our barbecue and sauce as we are the spouses we choose. Barbecue, is like medicine; practiced yet not perfected.
Ask anyone who cooks barbecue and they will look to the ground and then to the sky and somewhere in between they will offer an opinion, a secret, and a critique of someone else’s attempt to cook barbecue. Frankly, it is just the way it is.
For David Burch of northern Orange County, where established barbecue lords reign over local cookouts, caterings and word of mouth, cooking barbecue is something he learned as a child. “I grew up with my uncle instilling in me and my brother how to cook with coals,” Burch says.
He is looking at the ground and then to the sky and it is then that the age old question about which is better: Ford or Chevy, Duke or Carolina, gas or coals, becomes fodder to speak of, again.
“Without a doubt, everything tastes good when cooked with wood coals,” Burch says. He is tall and broad shouldered and he is quick to wink and he is convincing enough, yet, he also has the hardware to prove he knows about cooking barbecue.
A past winner of the annual Hog Day in Hillsborough, Burch practices his passion by shoveling coals into the mobile grill for private catering events, family meals, and everything in between.
Granted, there are many that claim to know barbecue cooking. Along with cooking barbecue there is also the debate of what type of sauce is best to use and like all Southern differences, this debate will never be solved.
Which is why this fall, Burch moved his passion and hobby of cooking, competing and catering, into selling his signature sauce, too.
“I grew up in Durham, went to Northern High School, and cooking barbecue and selling my sauce is what I want to do the rest of my life,” Burch says.
Burch established Smokey Dave’s barbecue sauce in October and primarily through word of mouth and through a few local stores, he began selling his sauce, much to the liking of customers. “Oh it is good on anything, and I mean anything,” Burch says.
He is holding the first bottle that came from the bottling company and he protects this product and says, “This one is very important to me, because it is the first one, and that means something to finally see all of this come together,” says Burch.
By day, Burch works in the family business as a pharmacy technician. His father, Bill Burch, began Central Pharmacy and Central Compounding in Durham and he is also the cheerleader for his son, getting the business off the ground.
“Dad deserves all the credit for the legwork. It took so much to get an LLC, the recipe, the label, the artwork and to get everything to the state for approval as a Goodness Grows in North Carolina vendor,” says Burch.
From his home on McKee road, Burch, along with is wife, Heather, and 9-year-old son, Hunter, the crafting and trial and error of fine tuning a sauce took place in the home kitchen. “My son Hunter he knows all about making sauce. Just like I learned how to shovel coals, he is learning to blend ingredients to make sauce,” Burch says.
The first month Burch began selling his sauce, he sold 52 cases in short order and says that since then demand for his sauce has grown.
“Basically, I took ingredients off the grocery store shelf and I worked them into getting the taste, texture and flavor that I wanted in a sauce,” says Burch. “I would say that my father is my biggest critic and he is always the one that tells me I need more of this or less of that. When we compete, he is there as part of the team, putting our sample together and he tells me if there is too much sauce or not enough,” says Burch.
While Burch began his interest in cooking barbecue as a hobby and something to do for family, he says that the idea to sell a barbecue sauce is something that just evolved. “People really liked the sauce and I just took the step of putting it together,” Burch says.
Of his barbecue sauce, that blend that he uses for competition or a pig-pickin’, Burch says, “I am not ready to tell about my barbecue sauce recipe that I compete with; that one is secret and I am not giving that one away.”
Burch is very quick to acknowledge that his family is very important to him and that they have also been very supportive; he refers to his wife as “Barbie-que”, and that she encourages him to keep pressing forward with his goals and dreams. “People have been really generous and good to me and I can’t express enough how helpful dad has been to get this going,” Burch says. “Eventually, I hope to have a hotter flavor, a rub, and other sauce ideas are coming in the future,” says Burch.
For David Burch, the reality of creating and selling a sauce is something of an evolved life path. He looks to the ground and to the sky above and he says that it really all began when he was a young boy. While it will never be settled how the best barbecue is cooked or prepared, for Burch, he knows that it starts with shoveling coals, following a dream, and the guiding hand of a father that supports and tells him when he has too much sauce on his plate.
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For more information on Smokey Dave’s sauce, contact David Burch at or 919-732-9761.