Pitmaster LT’s barbecue sauces and dry rubs are the creations of Luther “LT” Tooks – a Vietnam War era drafted veteran of the U.S. Army, longtime Kansas City Area resident, and former barbecue restauranteur and pitmaster.
Luther “LT” Tooks, was born into poverty in the Altgeld Gardens public housing projects on Chicago’s South Side. After years of growing up in tough, low-income Chicago neighborhoods – the last of which was the notorious Cabrini Green housing projects – Luther left Chicago to live with his paternal grandparents in Little Rock, Arkansas. It was there that he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, becoming the first college graduate in his family. He was hired by IBM, however, just four months later, he was drafted into the U.S. Army at the height of the Vietnam War. Fortunately, instead of being deployed to the war like most, he was assigned to serve in the Netherlands as part of the Allied Forces of Central Europe.
After his honorable discharge from military service, Luther returned to IBM, choosing to relocate to its Memphis office. Being the noted BBQ town that Memphis is, Luther began trying all manner of local Memphis barbecue joints, but he never found anything to his complete satisfaction. He began experimenting with making his own barbecue sauce and seasonings, but it was not until IBM promoted him to its Kansas City office that he experienced the style of barbecue endemic to that celebrated BBQ town. It was here that he perfected his secret recipes for barbecue sauces and dry rub seasonings.
Upon retiring from IBM, Luther used his sauce and rub creations, as well as his know-how in wood smoking techniques, to open and operate a barbecue restaurant (“LT’s Finest BBQ”) in suburban Lenexa, Kansas, in the 1990s. To this day, many that patronized his restaurant say that his was the best barbecue served in Kansas City.
Now, after a second retirement Luther has launched the Pitmaster LT’s brand of BBQ sauces and dry rubs.