Here in California’s BBQ Capital, smoke runs through the veins of locals to such an extent that it doesn’t phase them to be asked to “cook their own.”
Such is the case at the annual Labor Day weekend “Cook Your Own” event at Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery, which is located along the picturesque Santa Maria Valley wine trail.
Happening on Saturday, August 30 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., this event asks attendees to bring their own meat or entrée plus a tasty side dish to share.
The $15 general admission includes barbecue spices, plates, napkins, utensils and one glass of wine as well as live entertainment. Wine may also be purchased by the glass or bottle. Particularly exciting is that the guest with the best side dish in tow will win a magnum bottle of wine!
Cottonwood Canyon specializes in estate-grown Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two varieties that excel amid the Santa Maria Valley’s pronounced coastal climate. Come out, cook your own and enjoy the fruits of your labors.
Bring the kids–and your appetite–to the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum on August 31 as the museum celebrates R.H. Tesene Day.
We recently wrote about how the Discovery Museum provides a creative array of educational exhibits for children, including exhibits on Santa Maria BBQ, local farming and more.
Now the museum is honoring Tesene as one of its founding donors and as a local legend of Santa Maria Style Barbecue. Tesene is also the author of the definitive book on our local barbecue style, simply titled Santa Maria Style Barbecue. This book is nothing less than a landmark record of the origins, customs and history of Santa Maria Style Barbecue.
The family-friendly R.H. Tesene Day event runs from noon to 4 p.m. at the museum. The festivities will include cake and ranching-themed activities. Admission is free!
Also, Big Joe’s Brats will be selling tri-tip lunches, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Discovery Museum. Come out and enjoy a festive afternoon with true Santa Maria style!
We are always excited to not only spread the good word about Santa Maria Style Barbecue, but to also see it take root in places near and far…
The latest such example to cross our desk is Recessions Original Santa Maria Style BBQ on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, operated by Santa Maria Valley natives Art and Joanne Diaz.
So what, exactly, is Recessions Original Santa Maria Style BBQ? As Marta Lane of the Garden Island newspaper reports, “There is no restaurant. It’s not even a food truck. It’s a $10,000 custom made grill with wheels.”
Now that’s Santa Maria Style Barbecue right there!
The Garden Island tells the story behind Recessions Original Santa Maria Style BBQ: “Art Diaz, his wife, Joanne, and their three children lived in Santa Maria, California. Art Jr. and Jared helped their father with his construction business. On Friday nights, the family went to Central City Farmers Market in the town center and danced to music, looked at art and ate legendary barbecue….Art and Joanne moved to Kauai in the early 1990s. Jared moved here in 2002, where he met and married Lenney. When the economy tanked in 2008, Art Jr. joined his family on Kauai. Missing the food of their home, the Diazes were inspired to open Recessions Original Santa Maria Style BBQ. The name is a nod toward the economic downturn and the family keeps prices low so people can enjoy filling meals.”
In the words of Art Jr.: “It’s our own style and something you can’t find anywhere else on Kauai. We’re not Texas barbecue. We’re not Memphis barbecue. We have our own sweet style.”
Kudos and aloha to the Diaz family for bringing a taste of home to Hawaii!
Enthusiasts for little British cars are revving up their engines–and their taste buds–as they prepare for “Triumphest,” a three-day auto rally bringing more than 150 Triumph cars to Santa Maria from September 25 – 27.
In addition to an action-packed itinerary of auto rallies, driving events and autocross competition, attendees are looking forward to Santa Maria’s famed barbecue and bucolic wine country. The event sponsor, the Southern California Triumph Owners Association (STOA), is organizing group outings to enjoy the region’s attractions.
The event’s home page touts Santa Maria as a “lovely city nestled in Santa Barbara County, California, approximately 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. It is most notable for an excellent variety of barbecued meat. Santa Maria-style BBQ is usually used in reference to the seasoning of tri-tip or other meats when rubbed with salt, pepper, and spices and cooked whole on a rotisserie or grilled over local red oak wood. Sunset magazine’s August 2013 issue features a wonderful article on Santa Maria Style BBQ, crowning Santa Maria as The West’s Best BBQ Town.”
The web page even sports a logo depicting Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria, with Union Jack-decorated sails. Wishing the Triumphest revelers a tasting good time here in California’s BBQ Capital!
Last year, the lodge was featured in Sunset Magazine’s epic spread on Santa Maria BBQ. Now the Santa Maria Elks Lodge is starring in a new episode of Man Fire Food on The Cooking Channel.
During the segment, the lodge’s “BBQ Chairman” Wayne Stahl shows host Roger Mooking the ins and outs of preparing classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue.
While the Santa Maria BBQ menu includes pinquito beans and other accoutrements, the Cooking Channel segment focuses on the main attraction: the meat and how to cook it. And the cut of choice is top block sirloin, the original Santa Maria BBQ cut that preceded the now-popular tri-tip cut that is also associated with our regional style.
During the segment, Stahl shows Mooking how the meat is seasoned with salt, pepper and granulated garlic, then skewered on rods and cooked over coals of native red oak.
The Santa Maria Elks Lodge boasts a long and illustrious history with Santa Maria Style Barbecue, and is considered a true keeper of the proverbial flame of Santa Maria Style Barbecue. The Elks team staged barbecues for President Ronald Reagan among many other public and private cookouts, including one that fed a crowd of 9,500 at a convention in San Francisco.
Click here for the Cooking Channel’s page on the segment, which includes links to two Elks recipes!
After all, isn’t barbecue about the beef? Well, Santa Maria BBQ mostly about the beef, but it’s also about a culinary life here in the Santa Maria Valley, where the farm is rarely far from the table. Indeed, this is one of many things that set Santa Maria Style Barbecue apart from other regional American barbecue styles.
Consider the latest Santa Barbara County crop report published last week. The county’s strawberries–nearly all of them grown here in the valley–remain the top cash crop at $464 million (!) for 2013, followed by wine grapes. Countless other crops, such as broccoli, spinach, bell peppers and, yes, pinquito beans are grown locally as well.
So it’s no wonder that the Santa Maria BBQ menu is filled to the brim, not just with top-block sirloin or tri-tip, but also with an abundance of fresh foods and wines grown right here in the valley!
Santa Maria Style Barbecue is in the news once again as barbecue authority and author Steve Raichlen showcases the tri-tip beef cut in a feature story in the Huffington Post.
Titled “6 Things You Need to Know about Tri-Tip,” Raichlen offers insights and tips on the Santa Maria Valley’s signature cut.
In the piece, Raichlen says that tri-tip “might be the most popular cut of beef you’ve never heard of.”
He adds, “That’s changing, and fast. People across North America are discovering that tri-tip is a mouthwatering cross between a steak and a roast that’s perfect for grilling.”
He also provides cooking tips: “Like flank steak, this lean cut is best when cooked to medium-rare (130 to 135 degrees). However, its tapered shape means the tail will be more done and can satisfy people who prefer their meat that way. The thicker center and head will still be pinkish-red.”
Raichlen is right that tri-tip might be the most popular beef cut you’ve never heard of. Similarly, Santa Maria Style Barbecue tends to fly under the radar while being recognized by barbecue aficionados as one of the top regional American BBQ styles.
Let’s just call it our little secret, even though the secret is getting out!
P.S. Check out Raichlen’s own epic barbecue site at barbecuebible.com.