SuckleBusters has been creating award-winning rubs, BBQ sauces, salsas, and more for nearly 10 years now. Located practically down the road from us here in Texas, I caught up with founder and president Dan Arnold to learn more about what makes SuckleBusters—both the products and the people—so special.
The History of SuckleBusters
Literally, the term “SuckleBuster” means “Bustin’ with flavor,” but the origin of the word dates back to the 70s when Dan was a child and his dad talked up the “Sucker-Buster” ride at the East Texas State Fair. He claimed that only the big kids could handle the Sucker-Buster, which was quite possibly the greatest fair ride of all time. Young Dan searched all over the fair for the Sucker-Buster only to find that his dad was pulling his leg (like most awesome dads will do), but that memory stayed with him. “Sucker-Buster” evolved into “SuckleBusters,” and the rest is history.
Although he inspired the name of the company, Dan’s dad didn’t come up with any of the recipes. That part comes from Dan. “My dad has never cooked anything,” Dan laughed. “He can’t even burn toast! I just learned on my own."
That’s right, Dan has been developing his own recipes for over 30 years. In college, he was the one who hosted the game-day parties, and everyone loved his barbecue. But he didn’t actually go into the BBQ business until years later when he and his wife were looking for store-bought seasonings that didn’t contain MSG, artificial fillers, preservatives, etc. and came up empty-handed. That’s when they decided that healthier options should be available, and thus SuckleBusters was created to provide just that. It didn’t take long for their idea to take off, and Dan realized that he had a full-time business on his hands.
“When we started winning awards, that was a huge sign for us,” said Dan. “We were just amazed that anybody would consider our products that good. And later we acquired Texas Gunpowder and added that to our product line. That’s been an awesome product for us, and it fits in really well with our Texas-style seasonings and BBQ rubs.”
What started as a single seasoning has now grown into a line of over 35 products that can be found in retail stores across the country. I guess Dan and his wife weren’t the only ones who wanted healthier alternatives to seasonings and sauces!
An Online Resource for Barbecuing
SuckleBusters is also behind the Texas BBQ Forum, where people can go online to talk about Texas barbecue as well as chilli and outdoor cooking in general. With over 5,000 members and growing, it’s a great resource for the general public and barbecue masters alike.
“I actually use a lot of the folks there on the forum to test out new products for us,” Dan revealed. “And these are competition barbecue cooks, so we really put the products through the paces before we release them to the public. These are guys who win trophies every weekend.”
It’s also a great place for barbecue newbies to find recipes and tips. “For example, if you want to do barbecue ribs but you don’t know how, you could go to the forum and there will be somebody there online—usually all day—that can help you and answer your questions.”
There are categories for backyard barbecuing; competition; pits, smokers, and grills; recipes; and more. If you’re looking for ideas for Christmas dinner, you should really check out the recipe section. Dan said that he’s doing a prime rib this year, but you can find recipes for ribs, brisket, steaks, roasts, lamb, seafood…the list goes on and on.
The Latest and Greatest
SuckleBusters is always adding new options to their lineup; their latest additions are BAAYUM! Habanero BBQ Rub, SPG BBQ Rub, and Wild Thang Game Rub. Here’s a bit more about them straight from their creator:
“Baayum! Is a BBQ rub for the hot and spicy crowd,” Dan told me. “It’s an excellent blend of sweet and heat—and it is hot! SPG is a premium blend of salt, pepper, and garlic. It’s like a Montreal steak seasoning; you can use it on anything. Wild Thang is for wild game, but it’s also really a BBQ rub that you can use on any meat, and it has a real, predominant black pepper taste. We hunt and fish, and my son bagged a deer last year at Thanksgiving, and that was the inspiration for Wild Thang.”
I think that SuckleBusters continues to win awards year after year because of their genuine focus on quality. Dan took his own hobby and personal recipes and made them available to the public, and every SuckleBusters product exemplifies their commitment to producing high-quality, healthy options for chilli and BBQ. That’s why I thought SuckleBusters was the perfect brand to spotlight this month. Well, that and also the fact that they’re Texans like me. ;) But really, there should be more Texas BBQ in the world, and using rubs and sauces that are actually from Texas gives your own Texas BBQ just a bit more authenticity, regardless of where you’re from.
You can browse our selection of SuckleBusters’ products here, and you can check out their 3 newest rubs on their website here.