Discover Santa Maria Style Barbecue in Your Own Home During National Barbecue Month


Dust off your grilling tools, because May is National Barbecue Month. Although you may not currently be able to venture far, Visit Santa Maria Valley is bringing the flavors of Santa Maria Style barbecue to you.

Santa Maria Style barbecue has roots that date back to the 1800s, when local ranchers would prepare Spanish-style feasts after cattle round-ups for the vaqueros (cowboys). The meal consisted of meat, slow-roasted over the flames of a red oak fire, served with a side of pinquito beans and fresh green salad. While the tradition has since grown to include tri-tip, one defining feature has remained the same: to be considered Santa Maria Style barbecue, it must be cooked over red oak, native to the Santa Maria Valley, and preferably rubbed with Santa Maria seasoning—a simple-yet-flavorful blend of salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Get Inspired

We encourage you to keep dreaming about your next Central Coast getaway. Season your imagination by watching a Santa Maria Style barbecue video to see what this unofficial fifth regional style of barbecue is all about. It’s a simple, yet delicious, tradition.

Access the Complimentary Santa Maria Style Barbecue Cookbook

Next, order your Instacart ingredients to make a hearty and filling Santa Maria Style barbecue family recipe at home. Set up your tablets and download this free cookbook to access the Santa Maria Style tradition. You can use many types of beef, including tri-tip, steaks or top sirloin. If you are a pescaterian or vegetarian, Santa Maria Style seasoning can top seafood or vegetables to make your meal memorable.

Pro tipSuzie Q’s Santa Maria Style Seasoning, Salsa, Pinquito Beans and California Red Oak Chips can be ordered online and shipped right to you.

Cook With a Local

Jaime Flores, founder of the Santa Maria Valley Barbecue Festival, will show you how to make a bountiful meal from your grill or your kitchen. In this video, he will demonstrate how to make Santa Maria Style barbecue using ingredients from your local grocery store so you can bring the style to your very own home.

Stay informed with updates on the annual Barbecue Festival dates by keeping up with the event’s Facebook page. 

Show off your own sizzle reel by posting a video of yourself preparing Santa Maria Style barbecue, tagging us @SantaMariaValley or @VisitSMV and using the hashtag #SantaMariaStyle!

Pair With Famed Santa Maria Valley Wines

Santa Maria Style barbecue and locally-produced wine pair hand-in-hand. Typically, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir and Rhone-style varietals like Syrah will hold up to the bold flavors of barbecue. The Santa Maria Valley soil, climate and other native local conditions shape the wine’s character. With the marine climate and dry sandy-loam soils, it’s not hard to find wines that exhibit a strong sense of place. Wines from RiverbenchFoxen and Cottonwood Canyon are perfect pairings for such a meal and can be purchased online. If dessert is on the menu, strawberries are the ideal finale. As one of North America’s most prolific strawberry producers, Santa Maria Valley berries are abundant this time of year.

Santa Maria Valley is the perfect home base where you can eat, drink and do more for less on California’s Central Coast. Along with our legendary barbecue, we have 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms and 15 beaches all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. We’ll be here when you’re ready to hit the road again and explore #SantaMariaStyle.