In the Santa Maria Valley, the Hitching Post is a household name and a longtime local landmark of Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

Indeed, for more than 60 years, the Ostini family’s Hitching Post restaurant in rural Casmalia has specialized in our local barbecue tradition, and has gained a widespread following along the way. A second Hitching Post (known has Hitching Post II) later opened down the road in Buellton, and now USA Today has featured the Hitching Post II and Santa Maria Style Barbecue in a recent piece by food writer Larry Olmstead.

In the piece, Olmstead writes, “Most importantly for food lovers, California’s Santa Barbara County is home to the nation’s most hyper-specialized form of barbecue. While fans know the four major regional barbecue styles, Memphis, Carolinas, Texas and Kansas City, the fifth, Santa Maria barbecue, is the best kept secret in wood-fired cooking, and found only here.”

Perfectly stated, Mr. Olmstead!
He also has some high praise for the Hitching Post II: “Worth a special trip for carnivores, truly exceptional steaks and grilled meats.”

The good news of Santa Maria BBQ just keeps spreading. Last month, it was Sunset Magazine. Now it’s USA Today. Pretty soon, we won’t be able to call it the best kept secret in barbecue!