pitmaster tuffy stone

Tuffy Stone is a classically trained French chef, television personality and accomplished pitmaster who can be considered the most successful guy on the competitive barbecue circuit over the last few years. He is a judge and host on the Destination America reality television show BBQ Pitmasters since 2009. Tuffy is the head cook on the team “Cool Smoke” and co-owns four Q Barbeque restaurants in Richmond, VA. He recently opened a fifth restaurant, Rancho T, in April 2015. Before his success on the competition barbecue scene, Tuffy was best known as one of the premiere caterers in Virginia as the co-owner and proprietor of A Sharper Palate Catering, a top rated catering and events firm in Richmond. He has earned Grand Champion titles in nearly every major barbecue competition on the circuit. In 2013 Stone took home two World Champion titles while only cooking eight contests and he followed up in 2014 with another World Championship title, winning the American Royal Open. That year he also won 1st Runner Up at the Houston Live Stock and Rodeo World Championship, and took 2nd place in ribs at Memphis in May. Tuffy has won contests all over the country, including back to back wins at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, Grand Champion at 2013 Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational, and First Place in Whole Shoulder at the 2010 Memphis in May World Championship to name a few. Most recently, Tuffy took home the top prize in competition barbecue, winning Grand Champion at the 2015 Kingsford Invitational.

cool smoke

Team Members: Chief Pitmaster Tuffy Stone, George Stone (Tuffy’s Father), and occasionally his wife, friends & others.

Cool Smoke was formed by Tuffy Stone as a passion project in 2004. After placing 2nd in Pork and 7th in Brisket at their first competition, Tuffy realized that he was at the beginning of something special. “The Professor”, as he would come to be known on this circuit for his never-ending quest for knowledge and his attention to detail, dove head first into the world of competition barbecue and immersed himself in learning the slow cooking method. His hard work has paid off, earning Cool Smoke hundreds of awards including 37 Grand Championships, three World Championships, and the title of Kansas City BBQ Society Team of the Year in 2007. Cool Smoke serves as the competition barbecue team for the Q Barbeque family of restaurants, located in Richmond, VA.

Due to his incredible success in the world of competitive barbecue, Tuffy was approached by the producers of Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters as a competitor in 2009. By season three, Tuffy was asked to be a full-time judge on the popular reality show, currently in its sixth season. Recently, Cool Smoke was named Grand Champion at the 2014 American Royal Open and the 2015 Kingsford Invitation, widely considered two of the most prestigious prizes in competition barbecue. When not competing Tuffy dedicates his time to his businesses and to educating up and coming pitmasters at the Cool Smoke BBQ School. For more information on classes and competitions, visit the Cooking School and Calendar pages of this website, or connect with Tuffy Stone on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


2017 Memphis in May Barbecue World Championship: 3rd Place Shoulder & 4th Place Overall
2016 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Barbecue World Championship: 2nd Brisket & 4th Ribs
2016 Jack Daniels Invitational Barbecue World Championship: Grand Champion
2015 Jack Daniels Invitational Barbecue World Championship: Grand Champion
2015 American Royal Open: 3rd Runner-Up
2015 American Royal Invitational: 2nd Runner-Up
2015 Kingsford Invitational: Grand Champion
2014 American Royal Open: Grand Champion
2013 American Royal Invitational: Grand Champion
2013 Jack Daniels Invitational Barbecue World Championship: Grand Champion
2013 Memphis in May Barbecue World Championship: 2nd Place Ribs
2013 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Barbecue World Championship: 2nd Runner-Up
2012 Gary Wells Sportsmanship of the Year Award
2011 KCBS Brisket Team of the Year
2011 American Royal Invitational: 2nd Runner-Up
2010 Memphis in May Barbecue World Championship: 1st Place Shoulder
2009 American Royal Invitational: 2nd Runner-Up
2008 Jack Daniels Invitational Barbecue World Championship: 2nd Runner-Up
2007 KCBS Team of the Year


174 Contests
41 Grand Championships
21 Reserve Grand Championships
5 Overall World Championships

  q barbeque

Coming off huge success in the competition barbecue circuit, Tuffy Stone opened Q Barbeque in Richmond, Va., with the intention of serving better barbecue for everybody. Q Barbeque combines unique, award-winning flavors and an inviting atmosphere. Stone’s passion for outstanding barbeque while competing has translated into the thoughtful way he prepares his meat and utilizes the smoke to bring out the true flavor at Q Barbeque. Mouthwatering meat isn’t the only thing Q Barbeque boasts; guests get a taste of authentic, down-home comfort food with side dishes and desserts including corn pudding straight off the cob, pineapple hot dish, hush puppies, banana pudding and a variety of homemade pies. Q Barbeque has grown to a total of four locations in Virginia, including Midlothian, Glen Allen, Short Pump and Hull Street. All four restaurant locations are open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more menu and location information, visit the Q Barbeque website or connect on Facebook or Twitter.

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a sharper palate

In 1993, three partners met at a converted doughnut shop in Richmond, Va. envisioning bringing an upscale, expertly-crafted catering service to the area. Spearheaded by Tuffy and Leslie Stone, A Sharper Palate has developed to one of the largest catering companies in Richmond. Mission-driven, the company focuses on quality, fresh ingredients and exceptional customer service. In addition to beautifully prepared food and beverages, A Sharper Palate can curate any element of an event from the décor to tenting, rentals, staff and entertainment. For menus and pricing, visit A Sharper Palate Events & Catering’s website and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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