Santa Maria 'Q in Kalamazoo

June 25, 2012

One of our vocations here at the Official Santa Maria Valley BBQ Blog is to keep a global eye on the world of Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

Indeed, while Santa Maria BBQ largely remains a culinary insider’s secret, word is definitely spreading, and we are committed to following the red oak smoke wherever it blows.

Today, we take you to Kalamazoo, Michigan, home of Q-It-Up BBQ, a “barbecue on wheels” outfit that is going against the local grain by specializing in the sauce-free preparation of Santa Maria BBQ.

According Michigan Live, which recently published a series on “Michigan’s Best BBQ” as determined reporter John “Gonzo” Gonzalez, “Q-It-Up is well-known at Kalamazoo festivals, but it will be interesting to see where Q-It-Up falls in the statewide BBQ challenge, since it doesn’t use sauce or serve meat with bones. It’s hardly the standard BBQ Gonzo has experienced in his previous 16 stops.”

Of course, here in the Santa Maria Valley, that’s just the way it’s done. But in Michigan, it’s apparently quite the anomaly…

In the words of Q-It-Up proprietor Bryan Jennings, “We are completely stand-alone. … It’s not a sauce-based barbecue, it’s definitely very basic, but an extremely flavorful take on barbecue.” Hear, hear!

According to the story, Jennings hails from Santa Maria and started the company in 1998. Business is booming, as he and his partner Gary Cardenaz sold 116,000 pounds of meat in 2011 and are close to matching the number halfway through 2012.

So here’s a Santa Maria-style shout out to Mr. Jennings and Mr. Cardenaz, with best wishes for continued sizzling success.

Related Articles