In BBQ Country, Even Kids Know How to Rope

When it comes to Santa Maria’s longtime beef cattle and ranching heritage, the young and old alike are invited to learn a few tricks of the trade.

Indeed, on Sunday, August 30 from noon to 4 p.m., children and their families will learn how to rope cattle from two local experts. The adventure takes place as part of “R.H. Tesene Day at The Ranch” at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum located at 705 S. McClelland Street in downtown Santa Maria.

This 13,000-square-foot interactive children’s museum annually celebrates “R.H. Tesene Day at the Ranch,” which includes museum entry to the public free of charge. This year, Elks Rodeo volunteer Chuck Glines and Mike Lund, a retired Cal Poly equine science professor, will teach children about local ranching history and then lead a hands-on cattle roping demonstration. There will also be ranching-themed crafts and games.

R.H. Tesene was a well-known real estate investor and entrepreneur in the Santa Maria Valley. His generous donations made it possible for the museum to relocate to a much larger space, and he also donated a “Barbecue Hall of Fame” exhibit that to this day teaches children and parents alike about Santa Maria Style Barbecue, the Santa Maria Valley’s local culinary tradition.

August 28, 2015 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment

Santa Maria BBQ Meets Mac and Cheese? You Bet!

The all-American classic Mac and Cheese dish has just been elevated to new heights thanks to Santa Maria Valley’s own Ca’Del Grevino Café and Wine Bar.

Here, Chef Nicolette Oliphant is currently serving her own creation, “Santa Maria Style BBQ Mac and Cheese,” which includes Santa Maria tri tip, house-made Linguica sausage and Seascape Cheddar . . . all topped with salsa.

And it all ties together with our famous local barbecue tradition, as Mac and Cheese was considered an early staple of the classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue menu!

Chef Nicolette developed the dish for her upcoming participation in the fourth annual Macaroni and Cheese Festival happening at the Avila Beach Resort in San Luis Obispo on August 15 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The event features live music; beer, wine and spirits; and, of course, a myriad of exotic renditions of Mac and Cheese.

High-quality beef and “fresh and from scratch” is the focus at Ca Del Grevino Café and Wine Bar, which is located in Santa Maria’s Old Orcutt neighborhood. Oliphant is adamant about gathering ingredients from fresh and local sources such as the weekly Los Olivos Farmers Market as well as Deydey’s beef in Lompoc.

And, of course, with the Santa Maria Valley wine country in her backyard, the quality of her wines is a given.

August 14, 2015 at 9:54 pm Leave a comment

Good “Press” Brings Sizzling Exposure

BBQ2YouTriTipThe aromas of Santa Maria Style Barbecue are wafting far and wide as the Santa Maria Valley enjoys more media tributes to the local traditions, ingredients, people and culture of Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

The August issue of Westways magazine delves into “the smoky allure of Santa Maria-style barbecue” in its four-page article entitled, “Open Pit.” Here, author Sarah Tenaglia introduces readers to the origins of Santa Maria Style Barbecue and local barbecue icons such as Ike Simas of the Santa Maria Elks Lodge and Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post II. She also analyzes what makes this style distinctive, quoting Simas: “In other parts of the country, they put sauces or rubs on the meat because they don’t use choice cuts . . . our meat is of the highest quality, and we like to taste it and not disguise it with alternative flavors.” The article also highlights three favorite dining locations: the Far Western Tavern, Jocko’s and the Hitching Post II.

Meanwhile, recent issues of 805 Living magazine and USA Today also celebrate the local barbecue scene. In its article called “Barbecue Vaquero-Style,” 805 Living magazine showcases the “zesty flavors brought to Santa Maria by the Spanish cowboys of the 1800s.” Writer Jaime Lewis shines a light on the Santa Maria Elks Lodge, Santa Maria BBQ Outfitters, Jocko’s Steak House, the Far Western Tavern and local seasonings such as Jocko’s Mix and Susie Q’s Brand Seasoning.

Digging further, USA Today uncovers “the secret fifth major style of American barbecue,” which is, of course, our very own Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

Word is definitely spreading thanks to articles like these. But if you really want to enjoy Santa Maria Style Barbecue at its finest, we invite you to come enjoy it right here in the Santa Maria Valley.

July 31, 2015 at 10:16 pm Leave a comment

Qupe Quips About Wine Pairings for Summer BBQ

qupe-logo-smThe classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue menu is all about homegrown flavors, from native red oak for the fuel to locally farmed pinquito beans on the side to Santa Maria strawberries for dessert.

To this list you can now add a glass of local wine. Indeed, in a relatively short span (commercial winemaking in Santa Barbara County didn’t really get rolling until the 1970s), our local Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County and Central Coast wines have become renowned as some of the world’s finest, adding yet another delicious layer to the local dining experience.

On that note, the iconic Qupé Winery–a fine wine pioneer here in the Santa Maria Valley–understands the local love for Santa Maria Style Barbecue and the art of pairing the right wines with this hearty meal.

In a recent memo titled, “Wines to Fire Up Your BBQ This Summer,” Qupé recommends three wines with which to pair your summer barbecues: The 2012 Syrah Ibarra-Young Vineyard, which exhibits notes of sandalwood and cardamom ($35); the 2012 Viognier Ibarra-Young Vineyard that offers refreshing flashes of mineral, citrus, peach and honeysuckle ($30); and the 2011 Grenache Sawyer Linquist Vineyard with its spicy, cherry and black pepper character ($35).

The most interesting wine on this list is the Viognier, which dares you to pair a white wine with your barbecue. Give it a try and see what you think!

July 21, 2015 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

USA Today Uncovers Our “Secret” BBQ Style

The secret is out, thanks to USA Today!

Indeed, in a story published last week, this national newspaper uncovers “the secret fifth major style of American barbecue,” which is, of course, our very own Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

USAToday_LogoAs USA Today writer Larry Olmstead reports, our nation is traditionally known for four major types of regional barbecue, specifically Memphis, Texas, Kansas City and Carolina-style.

But as Olmstead confirms, there’s more to the American barbecue story!

He explains that it’s not the necessarily the meat, but rather the cooking method (open flame over coals of local red oak) and traditional side dishes (such as homegrown pinquito beans) that make Santa Maria barbecue distinctive.

He writes, “Santa Maria barbecue is always cooked over a fire of red oak logs, using meats heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and dry spices, then marinated or basted with a mixture of vinegar and oil while cooking. Side dishes almost always include fire-grilled then buttered bread, tossed green salad, fresh tomato salsa and beans. Because the area is known for growing sweet strawberries, berry pie or strawberry shortcake is often paired with the main course as dessert.”

He goes on to tout some of the Santa Maria Valley’s barbecue stars, including the Hitching Post Casmalia; Shaw’s Steakhouse; Far Western Tavern, Dino’s Deli; Old Town Market; Hitching Post II; A.J. Spur’s; Jocko’s Steakhouse; and F. McLintock’s Saloon.

In the words of Olmstead, “Very few barbecue fans know about the ‘secret’ fifth major style of American barbecue, the one that has spread the least from its home turf and remains the hardest to find – outside of California that is.”

Word is definitely spreading thanks to stories like these, but if you really want to enjoy Santa Maria Style Barbecue at its finest, we invite you to come enjoy it right here in the Santa Maria Valley.

June 30, 2015 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

Special Olympic Athletes to be Feted ‘Santa Maria Style’

Here in the Santa Maria Valley, we are perhaps most known for two things: our world-famous barbecue and small-town hospitality.

Now, both will be on full display as Santa Maria has been chosen as an official Host Town to entertain 100 international delegates in advance of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to be held in Los Angeles July 25 – August 2.

On July 21, a group of athletes and coaches from France, Mauritius and the Republic of Congo will arrive in Santa Maria to enjoy cultural activities distinctive to the region while they train for the games. Entertainments will include an outing to Santa Maria’s famed Pacific Conservatory Theatre; a day at Boomer’s arcade and fun park; evening dance parties; and special lunches and dinners featuring local fare such as Santa Maria Style Barbecue, hosted by community leaders.

Well wishers will be cheering on the athletes when they arrive at the Santa Maria Inn and Radisson Hotel on July 21. Santa Maria also has its own local athletes competing in the Special Olympics World Games. These include a softball team as well as a golfer. The public is invited to register for free tickets to any of the Special Olympics sporting events.

It’s all just another example of how our homegrown cuisine can help bring people together in amazing ways!

June 30, 2015 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

The OC Embraces Santa Maria Style

We like to keep tabs on Santa Maria Style Barbecue ambassadors outside of our region, and the latest is located in Southern California’s Orange County (a.k.a. The OC).

Indeed, a new restaurant opening in Huntington Beach in the fall is focusing its entire concept on Santa Maria Style Barbecue. According to The Orange County Register, the SeaSalt Woodfire Grill will invite guests to observe the chef’s grilling over an open fire.

The restaurant scene is now calling this “live fire” cooking, which, the article says, “Focuses on authentic Santa Maria-style barbecue, with seasoned meat cooked over red oak coals on an iron grill.”

The restaurant will serve a variety of traditional barbecue dishes including tri-tip, lamb chops and bone-in ribeye steak—all seasoned with a house-made rub composed of garlic, lemon, salt and bacon. Weekend brunch will offer open-fire grilled organic eggs, sausage and pork belly.

Even wines from the Santa Maria region will be featured, all amid a rustic, “farmhouse” ambience. Says the owner, “The resulting taste is unbelievable and nothing Orange County restaurants offer now.”

It’s just another confirmation that our local flavors are gaining fans far and wide!

June 11, 2015 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

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