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Jan 27, 1999 05:44 PM

Santa Maria barbecue

  • j

I just had my first taste of Santa
Maria barbecue at Guadalupe, CA's
Far Western Tavern last Sunday.
What heady, delicious, wood-
smoked stuff!

Where else can I get Santa Maria
barbecue (besides the Hitching
Post)? And more importantly,
who has the best?

Has anyone been to the Santa Maria
Barbecue Hall of Fame? Does it
still exist?

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  1. An excellent place for this dish is the San Luis Obispo
    Farmers' Market--a fun street event on the main drag,
    with live entertainment, fabulous produce, and the
    wonderful smell of Santa Maria Barbeque wafting on the

    1. j
      jonathan gold

      The meccas for classic Santa Maria barbecue--
      which is to say, top sirloin rubbed with
      garlic, grilled over live-oak coals and
      served with garlic bread, juicy tomato
      salsa and pinquito beans--are generally
      acknowledged to be Jocko's, in Nipomo
      (my favorite these days), the original
      Hitching Post in Casmalia,
      and the ``new'' Hitching Post in Buellton,
      which may be technically the best, and
      whose owner makes terrific pinot noir.

      F. McClintock's (or something like that), in
      Shell Beach, is insanely popular; the Far
      Western is really atmospheric. And if
      you drive around Santa Maria on a Saturday
      afternoon, there's always an Elks Lodge
      or a Boy Scout troop selling barbecue
      in a Kmart parking lot.

      BTW: real Santa Maria barbecue, contrary to
      legend, is never made with tri-tip. The
      tri-tip cut was in fact first ``discovered''
      in a Santa Maria Safeway, which led to the

      In L.A., the Santa Maria-style barbecue
      at the Washington St. Bar & Grill is
      passable (skip the sauce), and there is
      supposed to be a weekends-only place in
      the industrial suburb Santa Fe Springs,
      but I have been unable to track it down.