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

Rodeo Time in BBQ Country

Santa Maria Elks RodeoLate May in  the Santa Maria Valley is not only barbecue season, but also “rodeo time.”

Indeed, for the last 72 years, the Santa Maria Elks Club has hosted a series of professional and community rodeo events that offer four days of bone-crushing, action-packed thrills.

On this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Rodeo features the ever popular Wild Horse Race, barrel racing, bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping and more, all emceed by top professional rodeo announcers. The festivities include a wine bar and tasting tent, a western marketplace and “silver dollar digs” for kids.

Be sure to also catch the annual Elks Rodeo Parade on May 30 at 9 a.m. More than 200 entries will strut their stuff along South Broadway. It’s no coincidence that California’s barbecue country is home to such a magnificent rodeo tradition, as our local cowboys and ranchers have been a driving force behind Santa Maria Style Barbecue since its earliest days.

For more information, contact (805) 925-4125 or visit

May 29, 2015 at 8:03 pm Leave a comment

Bovine Heritage Goes Beyond Beef

Purple_CowWhen you think of cattle in the Santa Maria Valley, it’s hard not to think about Santa Maria Style BBQ!

But a new book published by a valley native celebrates another local bovine industry: dairy cows.

The Purple Cow: A Dairy Daughter’s Heritage is a compilation of family stories gathered and retold by Laura Lee Tognazzini Dias, a direct descendent of one of the region’s earliest dairy pioneers and the daughter of a Guadalupe dairyman. Published by Janaway Publishing, Inc., the book’s 244-pages tell the story of the local industry’s historic course, as well as lighthearted anecdotes related to more than 80 dairies and creameries that were once located in Guadalupe, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Santa Maria, Sisquoc, Oso Flaco and Nipomo. It also includes a scrapbook-style collection of dairy photographs, recipes, songs and more.

The book’s foreward, written by Santa Maria Valley historian Shirley Contreras, sets the table for the story, explaining that many of the early Central Coast dairymen were young Europeans who came to California in the mid-1800s seeking new opportunities. While the majority of them were Italian-Swiss dairymen from the Canton Ticino region in Switzerland, the book also tells the stories of American, Portuguese, English and Danish dairymen who played a part in the industry. Most of the descendants of these pioneers eventually quit the business by 1986 because the cost of transporting milk to production plants had become cost prohibitive. The DeBernardi Brothers, the last dairy family in Santa Maria Valley, closed shop in 2005.

The Purple Cow: A Dairy Daughter’s Heritage is available in soft cover only for $38 (includes shipping). It is available exclusively through the Santa Maria Historical Society Museum, which may be contacted via phone: (805) 922-3130.

May 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

Older Posts

As Seen in Sunset Magazine

BBQ Blog Praise

"Best Web Find" - Sunset Magazine

"The hottest new thing on the Web might just be a tasty blog 'hatched' by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber..."
-Pacific Coast Business Times

"Boldly promoting 'California’s Barbecue Capital' with light-hearted flair..."
-Santa Maria Sun

Fan Us on Facebook

BBQ Blog on Facebook

Other Local Flavors

Food & Wine Events





Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers