As the official online destination for Santa Maria Style Barbecue, we always take notice of new mentions of Santa Maria BBQ in the media. Which is how we came across this article about an “American BBQ restaurant” and its signature retail sauces, including “Kansas City or Santa Maria BBQ sauces to take home to enhance your chicken or beef dishes.”

Wait a second…Santa Maria BBQ sauce?

Well, we don’t mean to pick on the author or the restaurant in question, but when it comes to Santa Maria Style Barbecue, it’s all about the sauce-free preparation!

Indeed, unlike other regional barbecue styles, one of the definitive and distinguishing characteristics of Santa Maria BBQ is that it doesn’t require you to bathe the meat in barbecue sauce.

Instead, Santa Maria BBQ is all about seasoning the meat with a homegrown dry rub that is rooted in local culinary traditions. According to the official menu copyrighted by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce, this seasoning is a mixture one tablespoon of salt with a ½ teaspoon of black pepper and a ½ teaspoon of garlic salt. Of course, some people play with the proportions and even add accents such as parsley, but the base rub remains the same as it has for decades.
When served Santa Maria Style Barbecue, people never ask “Where’s the beef?” But they do sometimes ask, “Where’s the sauce?”Well, that’s just one more thing that makes Santa Maria Style Barbecue so different–and so delicious!