One of the best parts of summer is the warm, late nights filled with friends, family and delicious food. Although you may be practicing social distancing and putting your summer plans on hold for now, hosting a family barbecue for the people in your house is the perfect way to safely enjoy the wonders of summer with your loved ones. And there’s no better way to celebrate National Barbecue Month than by infusing your cookout with #SantaMariaStyle. For that reason, we’re setting you up with four steps for hosting up a successful backyard barbecue, Santa Maria Style. 1. Figure out the logistics Although this may not be the most enjoyable step in hosting your ultimate backyard cookout, it’s a very important one. There’s nothing fun about having to tell your kids the barbecue is canceled because you don’t have the right tools or ingredients. Before you announce your cookout, make sure you have the right ingredients, proper utensils, and plenty of red oak to make it through the whole evening. Our Santa Maria Style Barbecue Cookbook includes a grocery list to help you plan out your pre-cookout shopping trip. 2. ‘Cue a Santa Maria Style spread If you’ve already added burgers and hot dogs to your grocery list, go ahead and cross those off. We have something even better: Santa Maria Style barbecue. Santa Maria Style barbecue is a culinary tradition that dates back to the mid-1800s and is renowned for its unique, smoky flavor. A typical meal consists of beef tri-tip, seasoned with a dry rub of salt, pepper and garlic. The tri-tip is cooked over red oak to give it a hearty flavor, and served with pinquito beans, a type of bean native to Santa Maria Valley. If beef isn’t your thing, you can put a Santa Maria Style spin on chicken. This is the perfect meal to add a little bit of culture – and a lot of flavor – to your backyard cookout. You can find the full Santa Maria style cookbook here. (Warning: it may be hard to switch back to burgers and hot dogs after this). 3. Get drinks for the kids and adults Equally as important as having good food at your family cookout is having good drinks. Picking up soda and juice for your children gives them options and adds a little sweetness to a flavorful meal. As for parents, what better pairing for your Santa Maria Style barbecue than a Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir? You can check out the winery ordering page to see which wineries ship directly to your door! 4. Strawberries for dessert Fresh fruit and summertime go hand-in-hand. Our post on sweet strawberry recipes includes a recipe for a delicious freezer strawberry shortbread, the perfect end to your meal. Or, indulge in a delicious pairing of strawberries and wine. Here are six delicious ways to pair strawberries with wine, ranging from sweet strawberries and a Cambria Winery Pinot Noir to strawberry cheesecake with Cottonwood Canyon Chardonnay. Pro-tip: Rather than serving dishes or desserts family-style, serve portions individually to help minimize shared plates during this time of social distancing. *** In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.