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Santa Maria BBQ in Culver City

  • d
  • debra Oct 8, 2007 11:52 AM

Fantastic (Santa Maria Style) Tri Tip. You can buy it by the pound, in a sandwich, on a plate, over a salad, or in a burrito. The meat is tender and flavorful, and while they offer BBQ sauce, don't bother, enjoy the flavor of the meat and it's rub. I had the sandwich (it comes on garlic bread), which I have to say was delicious. They don't say, "how would you like that?", but you can ask for the meat, however you'd like it cooked.

The sides were hit and miss. Between use we had the chili (like a greasy bowl of red stewed beef?? could have been tasty, but it wasn't), the green salad (homemade tasting blue cheese dressing was good), potato salad (described as being mustardy, but it wasn't really, and kind of sweet... the table was divided on this), coleslaw (large pieces of fresh cabbage a plus, but there was pinapple juice, and that divided the table as well). For an extra charge you can get grilled veggies, that might be the way I'd go next time. (there are a few other options as well)

I ordered 1/2 lb of the tri tip to go, asked for it as rare as they had it --figured it would travel better that way, and since it can never be too rare for me, how could I lose. Heated up fantastically the next day.

I should mention there are plenty of other things on the menu, at very reasonable prices, I think the sandwich (or plate) and two side combo was $8.95. Can't vouch for any of the other meats. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed beef, so flavorful in and of itself.

Santa Maria BBQ
9552 Washington Blvd
(where Culver and Washington intersect)
Culver City, CA

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  1. You used to be able to buy the rub from Costco here in LA but I haven't seen it lately. I get mine in Santa Maria at any of the large supermarkets up there locally. Great on tri-tips and chicken.

    1. I'm glad to see that someone else likes this place. The prices are reasonable for the area, see the menu in the Place link.

      -----
      Santa Maria Barbeque
      9552 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

      2 Replies
      1. re: DiveFan

        I think appreciation for this style of barbeque is lacking as they tend to compare it and have similar expectations as styles like Memphis, Texas, St. Louis, etc. To me, it's all about the quality when it comes to Santa Maria-style - you can't really doctor it - the meat itself tells the truth. I've only eaten their tri-tip once, but it was great.

        1. re: DiveFan

          There are more of us, but the sentiment on the board is indeed mixed. Personally I like the place, the tri-tip is really good, but I like it because it's simply one of the few in LA where you can get this somewhat unusual style of BBQ.

          Tip on the sides -- the grilled vegetables are very good.

        2. Well I am still so excited from my trip to the coast. I can't talk enough about it. Loved the Hitching Post steaks and seafood. And let's not forget there wines. They are out in the middle of nowhere land, truely a great surprise. I'm hooked on the Santa Maria Style BBQ. So glad to hear that I can get it online. They mail out steaks now. All the way to Florida.

          1. Where can I buy the Pappy's Santa Maria powdered seasoning here in LA? Sometimes Costco would sell it but I think it may be seasonal. Haven't seen it anywhere else except for Santa Maria and surrounding cities.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Clinton

              Try Smart & Final I bought some a while ago. However when I was in NOR CAL I went to Smart & Final and couldn't find it. I prefer the 50% less salt More spice less salt.

              1. re: Skunk2Racer

                Forget Smart & Final went to 3 and they no longer carry Pappys.

              2. re: Clinton

                Hey Try this www.pappyschoice.com

              3. Some changes at Santa Maria BBQ. They used to have one menu (on the wall), now they have a lunch menu (on the wall) and a dinner menu (laminated) -- The thing that irks me, is that I don't think the portions are any different --same amount of tri tip, and half a rack is half a rack, right? If you're going to charge more, just because it's dinner, or because you're going to throw in a side of beans... jeez, I hate that, give me more meat and I'll shut up. It's odd, I went twice in a week, one time we ordered the dinner at the counter (as usual), the next time they handed me a menu and seated us, I guess they haven't ironed ordering out yet, and the seating is probably to ensure a tip, which might be questionable for some, when you order at the counter. Anyhow, the tri tip is still fantastic (and my friend loves their pork ribs). But now lunch tri tip is 9.95, and dinner is 11.95. Just an update. I'm urked, but I'm still going there to eat tri tip. (p.s. pass on the baked potato, gummy, and clearly not their thing)

                1 Reply
                1. re: debra

                  I was there this weekend, the tri-tip continues to be terrific, the ribs and chicken were very good too. Agree on the blue cheese dressing, quite tasty.

                  I found the baked potato okay, but the beans were clearly seasoned to soomeone else's taste -- spicy, not sweet. The grilled vegetables are fantastic though, a little pricey but worth it.

                  Biggest downside was the service was very uneven, I don't think they have enough help there, it was in a constant state of confusion.

                  I'll definitely go back but will do take out next time.

                2. just had dinner at santa maria and was underwhelmed. the tri tip was tender and moist, but not great....good. the chicken thigh&leg looked great, but minimal on flavor. the sweet sauce was thin and typical. the hot sauce and cole slaw were very good. the 1000 island dressing was great! i can appreciate the comments that this style of q is all about the meat, but my meal didn't do it for me tonight.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jay 1

                    It's not the style of the cooking - I too worship the trinity of Jocko's, Far Western and the Hitching Post - but the fact that this is kind of a trashy, underrealized version of it - an Arby's as opposed to a Lawry's.

                    Downscale versions of Santa Maria barbecue can be very delicious, as anybody who's ever been to a Elks or Boy Scout fundraiser in a Santa Maria parking lot knows, but the Culver City one just isn't.

                  2. Finally made it to Santa Maria BBQ in CC with the family and thought it was good, but not great. Had a sampler plate of ribs, chicken and tri-tip. It was all ok, but just didn't have much flavor. The best was the tri-tip but I don't think it is in the same league of my favorite tri-tip (Buckboard Grill in Upland). $80 plus for 2 adults and 2 kids and that is w/o alcohol or dessert...not an inexpensive place.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RSMBob

                      I haven't been there in several years, but I recall thinking the place had gone down hill a bit after they moved from their original, smaller location which had been across the street. But seeing this thread is kindling my cravings :)

                      1. re: RSMBob

                        While I haven't been to Buckboard in about four years, I always thought Santa Maria BBQ Co,has better tri tip. I went to both, within a 2 month span, about four years ago. I've been back to Santa Maria a few times and nothing has changed my mind about their BBQ.