Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield
|Christopher B. "Stubb" Stubblefield|
Christopher B. Stubblefield, Sr.|
March 7, 1931
Navasota, Texas, U.S.
|Died||May 27, 1995(aged 64)|
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 nationally by Stubb’s Legendary Kitchen, Inc.
Early life and career
Born in Navasota, Texas, Stubblefield was one of 12 children, 9 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 U.S. 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.
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 style motel, with the four pairs of rooms separated by pairs of car ports. Stubb lived in the room directy behind the restaurant. Eventually he created an opening between the stove and the bar-b-q pit and converted the room into a pool room. One evening Joe Ely, brought touring country star Tom T. Hall to Stubb's. By the end of the evening the game ended up being 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, the Sunday Night Jams 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, Smokey Joe Miller, and others. Regardless of who was playing, Stubb would get up on stage and sing "Summertime" before the evening was done.
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 '80s. 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 Highway 35 in Austin which closed down in the late '80s.
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. In 1993, he also opened a new restaurant and music venue in Lubbock at 19th and I-27.
Relocating to Austin, he opened a restaurant in a closed-down motel on IH-35 just north of downtown. This location was demolished for new construction.
Stubb died in Austin in 1995 of congestive heart failure, and 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.  (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.)
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, Snoop Dogg, Foo Fighters, Cold War Kids, Metallica, Willie Nelson, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Bright Light Social Hour, R.E.M., and Ween, along with many others.
While the Austin restaurant uses commercially available Stubb's branded sauces and marinades, the sauce used in his original restaurant was not home-made 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 jalapenos to taste. While the music was key to Stubb's popularity, it was his barbeque that started it all.
Death and legacy
- Olson, Mary Beth. "Stubblefield, Christopher B., Sr". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). Retrieved 2014-07-27.
- "Austin Music Memorial". Texas Music Office. Retrieved 2014-07-27.
- Lubbock pays tribute to Stubb - from Lubbockonline.com
- Ely to perform musical tribute at Stubb's statue - from Lubbockonline.com
- Stubb's BBQ Austin (Restaurant & live music venue)
- Stubb's BBQ (Barbecue-related products such as BBQ sauce)
- David Sifford (March 13, 2004). "C.B. "Stubbs" Stubblefield". Owner, Stubb's Bar-B-Q. Find a Grave. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
- C. B. Stubblefield Memorial records, 1993-2008, at Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University