The secret is out, thanks to USA Today!

Indeed, in a story published last week, this national newspaper uncovers “the secret fifth major style of American barbecue,” which is, of course, our very own Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

USAToday_LogoAs USA Today writer Larry Olmstead reports, our nation is traditionally known for four major types of regional barbecue, specifically Memphis, Texas, Kansas City and Carolina-style.

But as Olmstead confirms, there’s more to the American barbecue story!

He explains that it’s not the necessarily the meat, but rather the cooking method (open flame over coals of local red oak) and traditional side dishes (such as homegrown pinquito beans) that make Santa Maria barbecue distinctive.

He writes, “Santa Maria barbecue is always cooked over a fire of red oak logs, using meats heavily seasoned with salt, pepper and dry spices, then marinated or basted with a mixture of vinegar and oil while cooking. Side dishes almost always include fire-grilled then buttered bread, tossed green salad, fresh tomato salsa and beans. Because the area is known for growing sweet strawberries, berry pie or strawberry shortcake is often paired with the main course as dessert.”

He goes on to tout some of the Santa Maria Valley’s barbecue stars, including the Hitching Post Casmalia; Shaw’s Steakhouse; Far Western Tavern, Dino’s Deli; Old Town Market; Hitching Post II; A.J. Spur’s; Jocko’s Steakhouse; and F. McLintock’s Saloon.

In the words of Olmstead, “Very few barbecue fans know about the ‘secret’ fifth major style of American barbecue, the one that has spread the least from its home turf and remains the hardest to find – outside of California that is.”

Word is definitely spreading thanks to stories like these, but if you really want to enjoy Santa Maria Style Barbecue at its finest, we invite you to come enjoy it right here in the Santa Maria Valley.