The name Little Smoky is what David Burch calls his boy, Hunter Burch. It is not as though Burch is on fire; instead, Hunter Burch is following in the grilling steps of his father as an apprentice cook.
Already known for his savory, succulent and tangy sauce, Smoky Dave’s, David Burch is watching his son grow into the world of competitive outdoor grilling and smoking.
“We were competing in Lakeland, Fla., and Hunter entered the youth competition. They had to cook a steak and a chicken breast on a small Weber grill,” said the elder smoky, David. “It was supposed to be only the kids that touched the meat and the grill and did the work. However, I looked around and parents were helping and doing the work and the kids were just watching. For Hunter, all I did was light the grill and check the temperature and he did all the rest,” Burch said.
“It was awesome,” Hunter said. He is 10 years old and attends Pathways Elementary School in Hillsborough, and he is learning the traits of an accomplished cook, voluntarily at an early age.
“He does all of the work that is not fun, such as cutting parsley and arranging garnishes when we are competing,” Burch said.
Little Smoky has learned a lot from two people. “I get most of my secrets from my father and Bobo,” he said.
Bobo is a fellow competitor, Burch said. “[H]e is a great mentor to Hunter,” Burch said.
The day of the competition, the younger Burch, prepared a boneless chicken breast and a steak. He used his dad’s product, Dave’s Bird Bath sauce, as the sauce that helped him win Grand Champion.
“We were competing, too, and had our dish disqualified for being five seconds late to the judges; we were confused as to where it was supposed to be turned in. I was feeling low and then I saw Hunter coming with an armful of trophies and man, it was just the highest of highs,” Burch said.
The younger Burch is aware there are secrets shared and secrets that are kept; yet with some prodding and exposure he was happy to share the following.
“Well, the key is to cook by temperature not time, I cook with indirect heat. The second tip is to use salt and pepper on steaks,” Little Smoky said.
To earn his overall championship, Burch placed second in both entries and was awarded competition winner by scoring so well.
Burch said that having Hunter cook with him is great for their father and son relationship. “He goes as often as he can and he loves it. More than anything, I am glad we are doing something together as it really builds beyond the grill,” Burch said.
For these two cooks, the seasoning they apply to meat on a grill will never last as long as the seasoning applied to a growing father and son relationship.
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