When you picture a BBQ celebration, you probably imagine a blowout in Texas or maybe even a St. Louis feast. California isn’t usually the first location that comes to mind, but it should be.
Imagine the Santa Maria Valley in the mid-1800s when ranching was all the range. There was a lot of beef to go around during certain times of the year. An end-of-roundup celebration might include some lightly seasoned, bulky hunks of meat on top of red oak firewood burning in big pits. After patiently waiting, you can imagine the gratifying results.
Your way-back vision is the humble birth of what’s known as Santa Maria BBQ. Genuine Santa Maria BBQ with all the trappings, including pink beans and a chunky, barely spicy salsa, didn’t take hold until around the 1930s. However, California BBQ rose from the state’s ranching heritage.
Today, the Santa Maria Valley is better known for its award-winning regional wines than anything else. Fortunately, more pitmasters around the country are whipping up a Santa Maria barbecue recipe as a nice switch for picnics and block parties.
Can a Santa Maria-style BBQ recipe result in meat that tastes much different? The answer is yes, and once you try it, you’ll have a hard time waiting until your next smoke.
Below are a few characteristics and tricks to getting a Santa Maria BBQ just right:
Once you get the hang of California BBQ cooking in your Kong, Silverbac or Grilla, test out different meats, poultry and seafood. Just remember — the secret of Santa Maria-style BBQ is simplicity. Save the fancy stuff for another meal, cowboy.
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