Posts filed under ‘Food & Wine Events’

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

Bubbles in BBQ Country

Riverbench_SparkingThe fact that our famed barbecue country is also home to world-class wineries adds another flavorful layer to Santa Maria Valley’s culinary heritage. Each winery brings with it a distinctive culture, visitor experiences and special events.

A festive example is Riverbench Vineyard & Winery’s upcoming “Bubbles Galore: A Day of Sparkling Wine” happening Saturday, December 6 at the winery from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is a chance to taste through six sparkling wines with Winemaker Clarissa Nagy while enjoying a three-course lunch prepared by Chef James Gentry.

The day is sure to impress as Riverbench is one of the longest established wineries in the valley and is renowned for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir made in limited quantities. Of course, all dishes at the Bubbles Galore event will be carefully matched with a different Riverbench bubbly . . . not to mention sparkling conversation!

December 5, 2014 at 10:04 pm Leave a comment

BBQ Alive and Well at Dia de los Muertos

Day_of_DeadIn Santa Maria, tri-tip is so revered that it is even presented as a hallowed offering at the Santa Maria Valley’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration where people build elaborate altars in memory of a deceased loved one.

Indeed, “Day of the Dead,” or “All Saints Day,” which is officially on November 1, will be celebrated in Santa Maria on Sunday, November 2 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Community Center and at the adjacent Veterans Memorial Park. Here large, colorful altars are erected and decorated with photos, mementos and even the favorite foods of those who have passed.

Festive music, dancing, performances and food (including tri-tip sandwiches) are also an important part of the afternoon. Make no mistake, the Day of the Dead is alive and well in Santa Maria, and so is barbecue!

P.S. The nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center is presenting a Day of the Dead exhibit featuring the work of David Lozeau (pictured here) showing through November 16.

October 30, 2014 at 8:16 pm Leave a comment

Art & Americana in BBQ Land

ArtsAmericanaAs any barbecue afficionado will tell you, there is an “art” to the process of cooking meat that often ties in closely with regional culture and history. Such is certainly the case with Santa Maria Style Barbecue, which is linked to Santa Maria Valley’s early rancheros; cowboys; Swiss-Italian immigrants; and founding fathers.

In this spirit, the Official Santa Maria Valley Barbecue Blog tips its hat to the upcoming premiere of Antiques, Art & Americana, a celebration of history, arts and unusual antiques taking place on November 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Historic Santa Maria Inn and at the nearby Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum. Highlights of the day include talks by local historian and columnist, Shirley Contreras, who will also share the history of the Historic Santa Maria Inn; the wooden creations of Keith Zimmerman, including models of horse drawn carriages, carousel animals, antique aircraft and western figures; vintage toys from the Souza family’s private collection including American-made trucks, tractors, fire engines, Lionel Trains and accessories; and handmade teddy bears by Hattie Stoddard who is well known as the designer of Annette Funicello’s signature line of collectible teddy bears.

Wine tasting, gourmet baked goods and a display of 19th-Century wedding gowns will also be a  part of the day, while vintage automobiles will be on hand to shuttle attendees the short distance between the Historic Santa Maria Inn and the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum.

October 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Celebrating The Art of BBQ

Autumn-ArtsMost hardcore barbecue fans would agree that there truly is an art to cooking, grilling or smoking meat. Thus, it’s no surprise that barbecue will play a prominent role on October 4 at Santa Maria’s 31st-annual Autumn Arts Grapes and Grains Festival.

This family friendly street festival takes advantage of the Central Coast’s idyllic fall weather . . . when the coastal fog retreats while the sunshine plays on. Celebrants can look forward to live music, arts and crafts vendors, wine and beer tasting, a chalk art expose, a “paint” run and a fine arts show. Add to all that cooking demonstrations and a variety of food vendors and you have a can’t miss afternoon.

The day’s Santa Maria Style BBQ tri-tip delicacies will be expertly served up by the Minerva Club, one of the longest continuously running women’s clubs in California that was founded by pioneer women in 1894. In 1928, Julia Morgan (the architect of Hearst Castle) designed the group’s clubhouse, and in 1984 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Meanwhile, G. Brothers Smokehouse will present its famed barbecue chicken and ribs. The brothers pride themselves on smoking all meat on-site using an authentic, high quality, wood-burning smoker flown in from Mesquite, Texas. As ever, Santa Maria takes its barbecue seriously, with much flavor, color and flourish!

October 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Bring Your Own Meat to BBQ (& Wine) Country

CottonwoodHere 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.

August 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Saluting a Santa Maria BBQ Legend

Tesene BookBring 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!

August 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

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