BBQ It Yourself

February 21, 2009 at 9:49 pm 9 comments

Santa Maria Style Barbecue in ActionThe beauty of Santa Maria Style Barbecue is that it delivers big flavors while being relatively easy to prepare. You can even take some flavorful shortcuts with Santa Maria Style Barbecue products by the Hitching Post, Susie Q’s Brand and Cowboy Flavor, among others. So fire up the grill and let’s get started!


Create your Santa Maria Style Barbecue rub by mixing one tablespoon of salt with ½ teaspoon of black pepper and ½ teaspoon of garlic salt (for larger cuts and portions, increase ingredients proportionately).

Purchase premium top-block sirloin or tri-tip. Do not trim fat before putting the meat on the grill!

Sprinkle rub evenly across meat. For larger cuts, roll meat in rub, covering the entire surface.

Fill your grill with red oak or other high-quality fuel, avoiding cheap paraffin charcoal. Wait until the coals are red hot with very little flame; spread them out evenly.

Quickly sear meat to seal in flavorful juices, starting with the fat side, then raise barbecue pit screen to prevent burning. When juice appears at the top of the meat, it is time to turn it over. Cook until desired doneness. Medium rare is recommended—which typically takes 20 minutes per inch of cut thickness. (For the original classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue, you can string the cuts of top-block sirloin on rods and cook over red oak coals).

You may trim the fat after cooking. For tri-tip, slice against the grain the long way, not across the triangle. It won’t be a uniform cut, but it will be more tender.

Serve with Santa Maria Style salsa, pinquito beans, tossed green salad and fine local red wine. Finish with Santa Maria-grown strawberry dessert.


3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup finely chopped California green chiles
2 tablespoons snipped cilantro
1 teaspoon vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of garlic salt
Pinch of dried oregano, crushed
Few drops of hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and let stand for one hour to blend flavors.


1 pound pinquito beans
1 strip bacon, diced
½ cup ham, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup tomato puree
¼ cup red chile sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

Place the dry beans in a strainer and remove any stones. Then rinse beans and place them in a pot, fill with water and allow beans to soak overnight. Drain beans and put fresh water back in pot with beans. Simmer for 2 hours or until tender.

Saute bacon and ham until lightly browned. Add garlic, sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer. Add tomato puree, chile sauce, sugar, mustard and salt.

Drain most of liquid off beans and stir in sauce. Simmer for half hour more. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Entry filed under: Santa Maria Style BBQ. Tags: .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kathryn Donnelly  |  September 5, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I miss Santa Maria & the Hitching Post so much. I can’t wait to get back there & have a good BBQ’d steak. I am a native Californian.
    and miss it everyday. I relocated to North Carolina 3 years ago.
    My son and I went to the Hitching Post since they first opened in 1952.

  • 2. shauna  |  February 15, 2010 at 1:48 am

    we tried making the beans and believe the tablespoon of salt should be a teaspoon. Also, there is no sugar measurement in ingredients, but it says to add it in. Salsa was delish, but we added more heat.

  • 3. santamariavalleybbq  |  February 15, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Good typo catch, thank you! Glad you enjoyed the beans. Cheers!

  • 4. Gary Roberts  |  January 31, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I moved out of Santa Maria in 1972. I live in east Texas and took my wife and son to Santa Maria for the first time about 5 years ago. We went to my favorite restaurant–Jocko’s. To say the least, they both loved it and have talked about the Spencer steak to each of their friends. Well, I am taking them back this summer–first part of June just before my son goes into the Air Force. Can’t wait to dig into another Spencer or maybe even two. Of course that would mean going back for another dinner–no way can a human eat two Spencers in one meal! So look out Santa Maria and the Santa Maria High School class of 1970—-I’m coming back!!

  • 5. Ellen  |  June 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I lived in A.G & Nipomo for 20 yrs prior to moving to Oregon. Last year while down @the dunes I convinced my new husband to buy a S.M. bbq! Miss the comaraderie (sp) of a lazy SM bbq on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

  • 6. santamariavalleybbq  |  June 26, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Food makes for great memories, that’s for sure. Do-it-yourself Santa Maria BBQ is the next best thing to being here, enjoy!

  • 7. Jenn Waite  |  July 2, 2013 at 4:44 am

    I too grew up in the A.G and Nipomo area and remember doing S.M. BBQ’s as fundraisers! I am a firm believer if you don’t BBQ your tri tip the S.M style way then you have ruined a good piece of meat! This is the only way to do Tri tip for sure!

  • 8. Rob Adams  |  August 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Did my first Qing on my new Santa Maria grill last night. Once I got the hang of it, all good. Grilled some sirloins, then chicken for salads, and egg plant for salads. The red oak smoke is so awesome. I’ll be the most popular guy on my block.

    Rob in Burlingame….representing Nor Cal, and respecting Santa Maria BIG TIME!!!

  • 9. santamariavalleybbq  |  August 25, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Love it, Rob, thanks for bringing it, Santa Maria Style!

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