Tuffy Stone. Today we continue the countdown to the Most Influential Person in BBQ with the 7th most influential person in BBQ. Coming in as the 7th Most Influential Person in BBQ is owner of Q Barbeque, pitmaster of the Cool Smoke BBQ Team and judge on BBQ Pitmasters, Tuffy Stone.
Tuffy Stone is the Mariano Rivera of barbecue. When you see Rivera come out of the bullpen you know there is little doubt he's going to get the job done. The same can be said for Stone - when you see him pull up at a contest you are pretty certain that he's got a good chance of getting the job done. It can be argued with a very straight face that Stone is currently the best cook on the professional barbecue circuit. He doesn't have as many GC's and RGC's as many of his peers, but he's winning at a conversion rate similar to Rivera closing out games for the Yankees and doing it on the biggest stages in the sport. In 2013 Stone and his Cool Smoke team took home 3 GC's while only cooking 8 contests (due to all his other barbecue commitments) and two of those GC's happened to come at two of the sports most prestigious events, The American Royal Invitational and The Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
Having had the opportunity to cook next to Tuffy at many contests, including the American Royal each year, we can safely say that Stone's influence goes well beyond his skills manning the pit (with his teammate and father George Stone). In the world of barbecue, Stone is a rockstar. It's not uncommon to look over at his cooksite and see a line of fans seeking a moment to ask a question or take a picture and without fail he obliges them with his smile and warm welcome. These lines are filled with folks from all walks of life and ages and walk away from their encounter with Stone a bit more devoted to barbecue!
Stone was a barbecue success well before he appeared on season one of BBQ Pitmasters and subsequently became one of the judges in later seasons of the hit television show. However, his star really began to shine bright after his appearance on the first season of Pitmasters where he clearly became a fan favorite and cemented his reputation as one of the good guys of barbecue. As Pitmasters becomes more and more popular Stone's star continues to rise and shine brighter.
In addition to his competition and television success, Stone runs a chain of successful Q Barbque restaurants in the Richmond, Virginia area. Stone is known as a perfectionist on the barbecue circuit, taking meticulous notes of how every factor, big or small, impacts his cook. Were certain that this effort to reach perfection will continue to push Stone to new heights and build upon his influence n barbecue.