Papa Tony's Steak Seasoning
New Orleans Style Shrimp Mix
Barbecue Rub
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Tony's Legacy

All good barbecue stories have to start somewhere. For "Papa" Tony Stone, it began with a large, loving family crowded around the dinner table, a place where food equaled love, where meals were meant to be shared and where great recipes were perfected over time.

Throughout his life, Papa Tony infused his ideals into his cooking, and subsequently, passed that torch down to his family. Not only has he left behind a legacy, but several barbecue products as well, which he crafted together with dashes of salt, pepper and love.

Did you know Jack?

Papa Tony entered the world into humble-enough beginnings. Frederick Anthony Stone was born Aug. 4, 1937, in Columbia, Tenn. He was a football player during his younger years - and a coach in his latter. A jack-of-all-trades, Stone entered into the world of business in the early 1970s. That's the year he purchased Suburban Supply Concrete with his brother, Harold, which later gave way to Stone Brothers Welding, a steel fabricating business that now goes by the name of Stone Steel LLC. His competitive nature ultimately found him building barbecue cookers and smokers.

It was a hobby that caught like fire.

In 1979, Stone served as Grill Master for the Golden Eagle Scramble, an athletics fundraising golf tournament for his alma mater, Tennessee Tech University. He began cooking for community events; he also began competing nationally in barbecue events.

During his first year as Cookeville mayor in 1988, he established the Great Hamburger Cook-off, a cooking competition held on Tech's campus. Working with the Kansas City Barbeque Society, a premier organization that promotes the sport of barbecue, he later got the Cook-off sanctioned as the Tennessee State Championships. It was the first barbecue contest held east of the Mississippi River. It catapulted the sport of competition barbecue to a whole new level - one that is still flourishing today.

Not to mention, the Great Hamburger Cook-off still stands, only it's known now as the Cookeville Cook-off and it's held during Cookeville's Fall FunFest, an outdoor street festival that's been held every September since 1996 around the downtown courthouse square.

When he wasn't competing, he was cooking. A scholar of culinary arts, volumes of cookbooks filled his home library. If he came across a dish he liked, he tried to replicate it. And just like all barbecue masters, he was quick to develop his own rubs and related recipes.

It took years - even decades - of trial and error for Papa Tony to perfect those recipes, to craft together the perfect combinations of authentic Southern flavor. With time, he also whipped up a one-of-a-kind, versatile barbecue Shrimp Mix, a Misery Mustard and a steak seasoning, among other blends.

Initially, Papa Tony's products were given to family and friends and later packaged and sold from inside the doors of Stone Steel. Today, his family is hoping the products can have a much farther reach.

Papa Tony received the Fed Gould Memorial Volunteer Award at the 2010 Jack Daniels Invitational. He also had a barbecue competition named after him in Holland, the Tony Stone Low and Slow BBQ Competition.

In September 2011, Tony passed away at the age of 74. In his latter years, he was honored as a Tennessee Tech Hall of Fame inductee, a 2011 Pioneer of Barbecue Award recipient, the president of the KCBS from 2005-2007, and much more. But it was his love of everything Southern that will arguably live on the most - its traditions, its customs, language, and of course, the food. That link is a legacy that Tony's family is working hard to keep alive.

It's just like Papa Tony say, "you don't touch the goods until the towels are down, and the cups are up."