Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield

Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, Sr. (March 7, 1931 – May 27, 1995) was an American barbecue restaurateur and music patron known for his barbecue sauces, rubs and marinades distributed by Stubb's Legendary Kitchen, Inc.

Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield
Born
Christopher B. Stubblefield, Sr.

(1931-03-07)March 7, 1931
DiedMay 27, 1995(1995-05-27) (aged 64)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesStubb
OccupationRestaurateur

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Navasota, Texas, Stubblefield was one of twelve children, nine boys and three girls. His family moved to Lubbock, Texas, in the 1930s, where his father was a minister and sharecropper. Stubblefield was employed in his youth as a cotton picker. He later served in the United States Army during the Korean War, where after being injured, he moved to the mess hall where he prepared meals for soldiers. After he left the Army, Stubblefield moved back to Lubbock.

RestaurateurEdit

In Lubbock, Stubblefield found a mentor in barbecue restaurateur Amos Gamel. From Gamel, Stubblefield learned the art of smoking meats and complementing barbecue with sauce.

In 1968, he opened his first restaurant, Stubb's Bar-B-Q, at 108 East Broadway in Lubbock. It was located in a former motor court, with the four pairs of rooms separated by pairs of carports. Stubb lived in the room directly behind the restaurant. Eventually he created an opening between the stove and the barbecue pit and converted the room into a pool room. One evening, Paul Milosevich brought touring country star Tom T. Hall to Stubb's. A pool game between Joe Ely and Tom T Hall was played with broomsticks and an onion, which became the inspiration for Hall's song, "The Great East Broadway Onion Championship of 1978".

In the 1970s and early 1980s, Sunday night jam sessions held in his small restaurant hosted such musicians as Terry Allen, Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Tom T. Hall, B.B. King, Willie Nelson, Jessie "Guitar" Taylor, George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Muddy Waters, as well as such regulars as Dee Purkeypile who played the B3 and was the leader of the house band that hosted the jam sessions, Smokey Joe Miller, and others. Regardless of who was playing, Stubb would get up on stage and sing "Summertime" before the evening was done. He especially loved singing "House of the Rising Sun" during which he would announce, "Just a cook, y'all." [1]

Business was restricted by limited seating and its distance from the college neighborhoods that provided the bulk of its potential patrons. The Sunday night jam sessions helped keep the place in business. Eventually another club, Fat Dawg's, which was across from the northeast corner of the Texas Tech University campus, began a rival Sunday night jam, which had a serious impact on Stubb's business and contributed to its eventual failure. The construction of the Marsha Sharp Freeway saw the destruction of Fat Dawg's, to the satisfaction of many of Stubb's former patrons.

Stubb's original restaurant closed in the early 1980s. Saddened by seeing the shuttered building, he eventually hired a bulldozer and had the place demolished. He relocated to Austin and in 1984 began selling barbecue at the blues joint Antone's. He later set up his own restaurant off Interstate 35 in Austin which closed down in the late 1980s.

In 1990, Stubblefield set up Stubb's Legendary Kitchen with partners to sell barbecue sauce at grocery stores. The company survived his death in 1995 and continues to sell his Original and Spicy barbecue sauce, as well as marinades, rubs, and other barbecue sauce flavors nationwide and overseas in countries such as the U.K. and Australia. The Company, now known as Stubb's Legendary Bar-B-Q was purchased by McCormick & Co. Inc. in 2015 for $100 million.[2] In 1993, he also opened a new restaurant and music venue in Lubbock at 19th and Interstate 27.[3]

Death and legacyEdit

Stubblefield died of heart failure on May 27, 1995.[4] In 2009, Stubblefield was inducted into the Austin Music Memorial.[5] The new Lubbock restaurant location was closed shortly afterwards. A memorial to Stubblefield was realized in 1999 when a bronze statue by his friend Terry Allen was dedicated on the site of his first restaurant. Stubblefield is depicted holding a platter of barbecue in one hand with his other hand open welcoming patrons to his restaurant. Small plaques are set into what remains of the floor of the restaurant showing the locations of the kitchen, cash register, restrooms, etc. [6] (Note that the plaque for the pit was mistakenly placed where the stove was. The actual location was on the north wall, allowing for a port for the smoke.)

 
Stubb's on Red River Street in Austin

A year after his death, Stubb's restaurant reopened in a historic 19th century building at 801 Red River in Austin as a restaurant and live music venue. It has hosted musicians James Brown, Bob Dylan, Snoop Dogg, Foo Fighters, Loretta Lynn, Cold War Kids, Metallica, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Blondie, Devo, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Bright Light Social Hour, R.E.M., and Ween (Live at Stubb's) in '03, along with many others. It hosted Austin's Spoon (band) in '03 as part of SXSW, San Antonio's Butthole Surfers in '08, and Houston's Blue October (Live at Stubb's) in '07. Reggae singer Matisyahu did the album Live at Stubb's in '05.

While the Austin restaurant uses commercially available Stubb's branded sauces and marinades, the sauce used in his original restaurant was not homemade and was substantially different. As described by Stubb to jam regular Trey Yancy (who built the stage, lights, and sign) he used Hunt's original sauce, adding brine from dill pickles and jalapeños to taste.

Stubblefield was inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame in 2019.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Virtual Lubbock, Dee Purkeypile Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Mirabella, Lorraine (August 20, 2015). "McCormick completes Stubb's barbecue acquisition for $100 million". BaltimoreSun.com. The Baltimore Sun.
  3. ^ http://lubbockonline.com/stories/111900/fam_111900034.shtml
  4. ^ Olson, Mary Beth. "Stubblefield, Christopher B., Sr". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved 2014-07-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Austin Music Memorial". Texas Music Office. Retrieved 2014-07-27. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ http://lbkmetroleader.com/business/memorial-honors-lubbock-barbecue-legend/
  7. ^ Media, A.-J. "C.B. 'Stubb' Stubblefield inducted into Barbecue Hall of Fame". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Retrieved 2021-04-10.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

Archival materialsEdit