Here in California’s BBQ Country, you don’t mess with an iconic barbecue pit…

That’s the lesson today as a beloved Santa Maria Style Barbecue pit was recently returned to its rightful spot at the Santa Maria Elks Lodge.

The pit was built in 1978 by legendary Santa Maria BBQ master Ike Simas and his brother Vern. Back in the day, it was used for their catering business all over the western U.S.

Then one day last week, this custom pit on wheels vanished into the hands of thieves. According to reports, “As the word got out, family, friends and neighbors immediately did what all good Santa Marians do — offer their assistance to try to track it down.”

And sure enough, the pit was spotted by police being towed by a truck, and Ike’s pit is now back in business! Another happy ending in barbecue country.

P.S. Click here for more on the legend of Ike Simas, and here for insights into the origins of the traditional Santa Maria Style Barbecue pit.