Are you a fan of Santa Maria Style BBQ? Do you crave that authentic, smoky flavor but don't want to leave the comfort of your own home? Well, you're in luck! With the right equipment, ingredients, and technique, you can recreate this beloved California cuisine in your own backyard.
The key to Santa Maria style grilling is the Santa Maria grill itself. This unique grill features an adjustable grate that allows you to raise or lower the cooking surface, giving you precise control over the heat. The grill is also designed to be fueled by hardwood, which provides a distinct smoky flavor that can't be replicated by gas or charcoal. If you don't have a Santa Maria grill, don't worry – you can still achieve great results with a standard grill or even a cast iron skillet.
Another essential component of Santa Maria style grilling is the meat. Traditionally, tri-tip is the cut of choice, but top-block sirloin is also a popular option. The meat is seasoned with a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then grilled over a hot fire until it reaches the desired level of doneness. To complement the meat, Santa Maria style BBQ often includes sides such as pinquito beans, salsa, and green salad.
With a little practice and the right tools, you can become a master of Santa Maria style grilling in no time. So fire up the grill, grab some friends and family, and enjoy the delicious flavors of this beloved California cuisine in the comfort of your own backyard.
Santa Maria Style Grilling at Home: Tips and Tricks for Perfectly Grilled Meats
History of Santa Maria Style Grilling
If you're a fan of barbecue, you may have heard of Santa Maria style grilling. This unique style of grilling has a rich history that dates back to the vaqueros, or cowboys, of the Central Coast.
The vaqueros would often host outdoor barbecues, cooking meat over a fire pit fueled by red oak wood. As time went on, this tradition evolved into what we now know as Santa Maria style grilling.
In the early 20th century, the Santa Maria Club started hosting “Stag Barbecues” on the second Wednesday of every month. These barbecues were a hit, serving up to 700 guests at a time. The meat was cooked on rods suspended over the red oak fire, giving it a distinctive smoky flavor.
Today, Santa Maria style grilling is a beloved tradition in the Santa Maria Valley and beyond. Whether you're cooking up tri-tip or chicken, the key is to use red oak wood for that signature flavor. And don't forget the Santa Maria Barbecue Rub, a blend of garlic, pepper, and salt that adds the perfect seasoning to your meat.
So fire up your grill and get ready to experience the rich history and delicious flavors of Santa Maria style grilling.
Essentials of Santa Maria Style Grilling
If you want to enjoy the authentic taste of Santa Maria Style grilling, you need to have the right tools and ingredients. Here are some essentials you should consider:
A charcoal grill is the best option for Santa Maria Style grilling. You want to have a grill that is big enough to cook all the food you need. You can also use a gas grill, but it won't give you the same smoky flavor that a charcoal grill will.
Red oak is the traditional wood used in Santa Maria Style grilling. It gives the meat a unique smoky flavor that is hard to replicate with other types of wood. You can buy red oak wood chips or chunks to add to your charcoal grill. If you can't find red oak, you can use other hardwoods like hickory or mesquite.
The key to Santa Maria Style grilling is to cook the meat over a red oak fire. You want to make sure the fire is hot enough to sear the meat and create a crust on the outside. You also want to make sure the fire is not too hot, or it will burn the meat.
If you're using a gas grill, you can still get the smoky flavor of red oak by using a smoker box. A smoker box is a metal box that you fill with wood chips. You place the smoker box on the grill, and the wood chips will smoke and infuse the meat with flavor.
Santa Maria Style
Santa Maria Style grilling is all about simplicity. You don't need fancy marinades or rubs to make the meat taste great. All you need is salt, pepper, and garlic salt. You can mix these ingredients together and rub them on the meat before grilling.
If you're using a charcoal grill, you want to use natural lump charcoal. Natural lump charcoal is made from real wood, and it burns hotter and cleaner than briquettes. You can also add red oak wood chips to the charcoal to get the smoky flavor.
Santa Maria Style grilling is all about using the right ingredients and cooking the meat over a red oak fire. With the right tools and techniques, you can create a delicious meal that your family and friends will love.
Choosing the Meat
When it comes to Santa Maria style grilling, the type of meat you choose is crucial. While the traditional cut of meat for this style of grilling is tri-tip, other cuts such as sirloin, beef, top-block, bottom sirloin, and top-block sirloin can also be used.
Tri-tip is a triangular cut of beef that comes from the bottom sirloin. It's a flavorful and tender cut that's perfect for grilling. If you're new to Santa Maria style grilling, tri-tip is a great place to start.
Sirloin is another popular cut of beef that can be used for Santa Maria style grilling. It's a lean cut that's flavorful and tender. If you're looking for a healthier option, sirloin is a good choice.
Beef is a versatile meat that can be used for Santa Maria style grilling. It's a flavorful and tender meat that's perfect for grilling. If you're not sure what cut of beef to use, ask your local butcher for recommendations.
When choosing your meat, it's important to look for quality cuts. Look for meat that's marbled with fat, as this will help keep the meat moist and tender during grilling. You should also look for meat that's fresh and has a bright red color.
Overall, choosing the right cut of meat is key to making delicious Santa Maria style grilled dishes. Whether you choose tri-tip, sirloin, beef, top-block, bottom sirloin, or top-block sirloin, make sure to choose quality cuts and prepare them properly for the best results.
Santa Maria Style Seasoning
One of the key elements of Santa Maria style grilling is the seasoning. The authentic Santa Maria seasoning is a blend of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried rosemary, dried oregano, and a touch of cayenne pepper. This seasoning adds a depth of flavor to the meat that is hard to replicate with any other blend.
You can easily make your own Santa Maria seasoning at home by combining the following ingredients:
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.
If you prefer a sweeter flavor, you can add a tablespoon of sugar to the mix. Some people also like to add sage to their Santa Maria seasoning for an extra earthy flavor.
If you don't have all the spices on hand, you can also purchase pre-made Santa Maria seasoning or dry rub from specialty stores or online retailers. Be sure to read the labels carefully to ensure the seasoning contains all the necessary ingredients.
When using Santa Maria seasoning, be sure to rub it generously over the meat before grilling. The seasoning works especially well on tri-tip, but it can also be used on other cuts of beef, pork, and even seafood.
Overall, Santa Maria style seasoning is a must-have for anyone looking to recreate the authentic flavors of Santa Maria style grilling at home.
Grilling Santa Maria Style at home is a fun and delicious way to enjoy a classic California barbecue. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Prepare the Meat
Start by selecting a good cut of meat, such as tri-tip or sirloin. Season the meat generously with a Santa Maria rub, which typically includes garlic powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. Massage the rub into the meat, making sure it is evenly coated.
Preheat the Grill
Preheat your grill to high heat, around 500°F. Make sure the grates are clean and oiled to prevent sticking. You can use a paper towel dipped in oil to coat the grates.
Sear the Meat
Place the meat directly on the grill grates and sear for 2-3 minutes on each side. This will create a nice crust and seal in the juices. Then, move the meat to indirect heat and continue cooking until it reaches your desired doneness.
Use a Thermometer
To ensure your meat is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. For medium-rare, the temperature should be around 135°F. Let the meat rest for a few minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.
Now that your Santa Maria Style grilled meat is ready, it's time to enjoy! Serve with traditional sides like beans, garlic bread, and salsa. Don't forget the red oak wood chips for that authentic Santa Maria flavor.
Serving and Slicing
Congratulations! You've successfully grilled your Santa Maria tri-tip to perfection. Now it's time to slice and serve.
First, let the meat rest for at least 5-10 minutes before slicing. This will allow the juices to redistribute and ensure a more flavorful and tender cut.
When slicing, it's important to cut against the grain. The grain refers to the lines of muscle fibers in the meat. Cutting against the grain means cutting perpendicular to these lines, which will result in shorter muscle fibers and a more tender bite.
To identify the grain, look for the lines that run parallel to each other. Place the meat on a cutting board with the grain running from left to right. Then, slice across the grain in thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
If you're serving a crowd, you can also opt to slice the meat into thicker portions, such as 1/2 inch thick slices. Just be sure to still cut against the grain.
When serving, arrange the slices on a platter or individual plates. You can also serve with your favorite sides, such as grilled vegetables or a simple salad.
Now that you know how to slice and serve your Santa Maria tri-tip, you can impress your guests with your grilling skills. Enjoy!
Santa Maria Style Recipes
If you're looking to bring the flavors of Santa Maria style barbecue to your own backyard, there are a few classic recipes you'll want to try. The star of the show is, of course, the Santa Maria style tri-tip, which is typically seasoned with a blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder before being grilled over red oak wood. For the perfect tri-tip, be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 135°F for medium-rare.
To complement the tri-tip, you'll want to whip up some pinquito beans, which are small pink beans that are traditionally cooked with bacon, onion, and a bit of tomato sauce. These beans are a staple of Santa Maria style barbecue and are often served alongside the tri-tip.
For a tangy and refreshing side dish, try making some Santa Maria salsa. This simple salsa is made with diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, and lime juice, and is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats.
To balance out all the savory flavors, whip up a simple Santa Maria green salad, which typically consists of lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado dressed with a simple vinaigrette.
And of course, no Santa Maria style barbecue would be complete without some buttery garlic bread to sop up all the delicious juices.
With these classic recipes in your arsenal, you'll be able to recreate the flavors of Santa Maria style barbecue at home.
Pairing and Accompaniments
Santa Maria style grilling is not just about the meat. It's also about the sides and accompaniments that make the meal complete. Here are some suggestions for pairing and accompaniments to enhance your Santa Maria style grilling experience:
A fresh green salad is a perfect complement to the rich and smoky flavors of Santa Maria style grilled meats. Keep it simple with a mix of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers, or add some complexity with ingredients like avocado or roasted corn. Dress it with a light vinaigrette to keep the flavors balanced.
Tangy Santa Maria style salsa is a must-have for any Santa Maria style grilling experience. It's easy to make at home with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice. You can also add some heat with jalapenos or other hot peppers. Serve it on the side or spoon it over your grilled meats for an extra burst of flavor.
Buttery garlic bread is a classic accompaniment to Santa Maria style grilled meats. Slice a baguette or other crusty bread and brush it with a mixture of butter, garlic, and parsley. Grill it until it's crispy and golden brown. Serve it alongside your grilled meats for a delicious and indulgent treat.
Rosemary is a fragrant herb that pairs perfectly with Santa Maria style grilled meats. Sprinkle it over your meats before grilling to infuse them with its earthy flavor. You can also use rosemary sprigs as skewers for your meats to add even more flavor.
In conclusion, pairing and accompaniments are just as important as the meat when it comes to Santa Maria style grilling. A fresh green salad, tangy salsa, buttery garlic bread, and fragrant rosemary are all great options to enhance your grilling experience. Experiment with different combinations to find your perfect match.
Preserving Authenticity and Simplicity
When it comes to Santa Maria style grilling, authenticity and simplicity are key. This style of grilling has been passed down through generations, and it's important to preserve its traditional flavors and techniques. Here are a few tips to ensure that you're maintaining the authenticity and simplicity of Santa Maria style grilling at home:
- Stick to the traditional spice rub: The spice rub used in Santa Maria style grilling is simple but essential. It consists of salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Don't be tempted to add additional spices or flavors – the simplicity of the rub is what makes it so delicious.
- Use the right cut of meat: The traditional cut of meat used in Santa Maria style grilling is tri-tip. This cut is lean and flavorful, and it's perfect for grilling over an open flame. If you can't find tri-tip at your local butcher, sirloin or flank steak can be used as a substitute.
- Cook over an open flame: Authentic Santa Maria style grilling is done over an open flame. This imparts a smoky flavor to the meat and gives it a charred crust. If you don't have access to a wood-fired grill, a charcoal grill or gas grill can be used instead.
- Serve with traditional sides: In addition to the grilled meat, traditional Santa Maria style dining includes pinquito beans and salsa. Pinquito beans are small, pink beans that are native to the Santa Maria Valley. They're usually cooked with bacon, onion, and garlic for added flavor. Salsa is a simple mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
By following these tips, you can ensure that you're preserving the authenticity and simplicity of Santa Maria style grilling at home. Stick to the traditional spice rub, use the right cut of meat, cook over an open flame, and serve with traditional sides for a truly authentic experience.
Santa Maria Style at Home
If you're looking to bring the taste of Santa Maria style grilling to your own backyard, you're in luck! With a few tips and tricks, you can recreate the smoky, delicious flavors of this California classic right at home.
First, it's important to note that traditional Santa Maria style grilling is done over red oak coals. If you have access to red oak wood, great! If not, you can still achieve a similar flavor by using a gas grill and adding wood chips or chunks to the grill. Mesquite or hickory wood chips work well for adding a smoky flavor to your meat.
To get started, you'll need a cut of beef called tri-tip. This is a triangular cut from the bottom sirloin, and it's the star of the show in Santa Maria style grilling. You can find tri-tip at most grocery stores or butcher shops.
Next, you'll want to season your tri-tip with a simple rub of salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Use about 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt for a 2-3 pound tri-tip. Rub the seasoning into the meat and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before grilling.
When it comes to grilling, you'll want to cook your tri-tip over medium-high heat for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your cut. For a gas grill, preheat the grill to medium-high and place the tri-tip directly on the grates. For charcoal grilling, arrange the coals in a horseshoe shape and place the tri-tip in the center of the horseshoe.
Once your tri-tip is cooked to your liking, let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing it against the grain. Serve with traditional Santa Maria style sides like pinquito beans, fresh green salad, and grilled French bread dipped in sweet melted butter.
With these tips, you can enjoy the flavors of Santa Maria style grilling right in your own backyard.
Exploring Santa Maria
If you're planning to try Santa Maria style grilling at home, why not make a trip to the region where it all began? Santa Maria is a beautiful area of California's Central Coast that offers much more than just delicious barbecue.
There are plenty of hiking trails to explore in the area, including the Oso Flaco Lake Trail and the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Preserve. The latter is a particularly scenic spot that features towering sand dunes and stunning ocean views. And if you're a fan of cycling, you'll find plenty of great routes to explore, including the Santa Maria River Trail.
Of course, no trip to Santa Maria would be complete without a visit to some of the local tasting rooms and wineries. The region is home to several AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), including Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. You can sample some of the area's best wines at places like Presqu'ile Winery and Riverbench Vineyard & Winery.
If you're more of a beer drinker, you'll also find plenty of great local breweries to check out, such as Naughty Oak Brewing Company and Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. And for a unique experience, head to the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, where you can rent dune buggies and explore the sandy terrain.
Finally, if you're interested in learning more about Santa Maria style grilling, be sure to pick up a copy of the Santa Maria Style BBQ Cookbook. This comprehensive guide features recipes for everything from tri-tip to pinquito beans, as well as tips and tricks for mastering the art of Santa Maria style grilling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find Santa Maria BBQ for sale?
If you're looking to try Santa Maria BBQ but don't want to make it yourself, you can find it at many restaurants in California. Some of the most popular places to try it include The Hitching Post in Casmalia, The Far Western Tavern in Orcutt, and Shaw's Steakhouse in Santa Maria. You can also order Santa Maria BBQ online and have it shipped to your home.
How do I make Santa Maria style tri tip at home?
To make Santa Maria style tri tip at home, you'll need to start with a tri tip roast and season it with a blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook it over red oak wood on a grill or smoker until it reaches your desired level of doneness. For a more detailed recipe, check out this guide which shares some tips for making Santa Maria BBQ at home.
What are some good sides to serve with Santa Maria BBQ?
Santa Maria BBQ is traditionally served with pinquito beans, garlic bread, and a green salad. You can also serve it with other sides like grilled vegetables, macaroni and cheese, or coleslaw.
What makes Santa Maria style grilling unique?
Santa Maria style grilling is unique because it is cooked over red oak wood, which gives the meat a distinct smoky flavor. The seasoning is also simple, using just salt, pepper, and garlic powder. The meat is typically cooked over an open flame, and the tri tip is the most popular cut of meat used in Santa Maria BBQ.
What is the best way to season meat for Santa Maria style grilling?
The best way to season meat for Santa Maria style grilling is with a blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You can also use other seasonings like paprika or cumin, but keep it simple to let the flavor of the meat and the smoke shine through.
What are the differences between Santa Maria and Argentine grills?
Santa Maria grills are typically made with an adjustable grate that can be raised or lowered over the flames, while Argentine grills have a fixed grate. Santa Maria grills are also typically used to cook tri tip and other cuts of beef, while Argentine grills are used to cook a wider variety of meats like sausages and sweetbreads. Additionally, Santa Maria grills are typically fueled with red oak wood, while Argentine grills can be fueled with a variety of woods.