Pitmaster Tuffy Stone

Tuffy Stone is many things: a World Record-breaking champion pitmaster, a former Marine, a classically-trained chef, a businessman and an occasional reality television star. Dubbed “The Professor”, Tuffy’s legendary precision and obsession with the science of smoke make him one of the most influential people in barbecue. Originally trained in French culinary technique at La Maisonette, Tuffy has been on the Richmond culinary landscape since 1986. After founding one of the mid-Atlantic’s most successful special events companies, A Sharper Palate, with wife Leslie, Tuffy was looking to reconnect with his culinary instincts and challenged himself to learn an entirely new cuisine. In 2004, Tuffy attended his first barbecue competition and found himself hooked. Though early cooks were humbling, to say the least, Tuffy redoubled his efforts and gradually became one of the most formidable competitors on the circuit. He has earned Grand Champion titles in nearly every major barbecue competition including back-to-back wins at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, Grand Champion at the 2015 Kingsford Invitational, and his history making run at the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational. In 2016, Tuffy and his Cool Smoke BBQ Team made history at The Jack, becoming the only team to ever win the contest three times and the only team to take home back to back top prizes. In addition to his place atop the competition barbecue circuit, Tuffy served as a judge for Destination America’s Barbecue Pitmasters for 5 seasons, traveled the world, including cooking for the troops in Kuwait and teaching classes at Meatstock in Australia and New Zealand, and cooked twice at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City. On May 15, 2018, Tuffy will release his highly-anticipated first ever cookbook, Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue from St. Martin’s Press.

Cool Smoke | Official Cooking Team of Q Barbeque

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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


2018 Memphis in May Barbecue World Championship: 2nd Place Shoulder
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

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now