Every so often, it’s good for us to take a step back to review exactly what Santa Maria Style Barbecue is, and what sets it apart. This ensures that newcomers to this blog and to Santa Maria Style Barbecue get the straight scoop.
So without further ado, here’s a cheat sheet on our local barbecue style:
Back Away from The Sauce
What are they trying to hide with all that goop? Unlike the sauce-oriented styles of other major barbecue regions, Santa Maria Style Barbecue is prepared with a local dry rub perfected over generations in the Santa Maria Valley—a magical combination of salt, black pepper and garlic.
Stoked on Red Oak
Authentic Santa Maria Style Barbecue is cooked over coals of indigenous red oak, imparting a signature smoky, savory character to the meat.
A Hometown Cut: Tri-Tip
In the 1950s, a local butcher popularized a cut called “tri-tip,” and it has ever since been synonymous with Santa Maria Style Barbecue, along with top-block sirloin. Tri-tip is available all over the Central Coast, but rarely offered outside of California.
Santa Maria Style Barbecue is more than meat. It’s a full menu that includes pinquitos, small pink beans grown exclusively around the Santa Maria Valley. Green salad, Santa Maria salsa, strawberry dessert and local wine are also part of the menu.
So Santa Maria BBQ is essentially what happens when you combine native oak fuel, a homegrown cut, a unique dry rub, local methods and indigenous ingredients into a signature style perfected over generations!
Now that you know the fundamentals of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, you may want to check out our lengthier primer, and read about how Sunset Magazinerecently declared Santa Maria “The West’s Best BBQ Town!”