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Santa Maria Style Barbecue

The Menu

Top Sirloin Beef, Choice Grade, Well Aged, Cut 3" Thick
Tossed Fresh Green Salad
Pinquito Beans and Salsa
Toasted French Bread with Sweet Butter
Macaroni and Cheese

Grill over an open flame of red oak coals and season with robust spices including salt, pepper and garlic salt. Best when served with a bottle of your favorite Santa Maria Valley wine and tangy-sweet strawberry shortcake.


Santa Maria Style Pinquito Beans

1 lb. small pink beans (Pinquito)
1 strip bacon, diced
1/2 cup diced ham
1 small clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup red chili sauce
1 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard

Pick over beans to remove dirt and small stones; cover with water and let soak overnight in a large container. Drain, cover with fresh water and simmer 2 hours, or until tender. Sauté bacon and ham until lightly browned; add garlic, sauté a minute or two longer. Add tomato puree, chili sauce, sugar, mustard, and salt. Drain most of liquid off beans and stir in sauce. Keep warm on low heat until ready to serve.
*Note: Pinquitos are grown locally only; contact the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors & Convention Bureau for a list of resources. (800) 331-3779.

Santa Maria Style Salsa

Yields 3 1/2 cups
3 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup finely chopped California green chiles
2 tbsp. snipped cilantro
1tbs. vinegar
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Pinch of garlic salt
Pinch of dried oregano, crushed
Few drops of hot pepper sauce


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and let stand for one hour to blend flavors.

Santa Maria Style Tri-tip

1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 prime top sirloin steak (3" thick), or tri-tip
Red oak logs, or charcoal and oak chips


First, oakwood logs are placed in a pit with movable grate and burned until red-hot. Backyard chefs also can use charcoal mixed with oakwood chips and bark available at local markets. Once lit, the fire should be hot but not blazing.

Season the meat with salt, pepper and garlic salt to your desire or try some of our local traditions with Susie Q’s Santa Maria Style Seasoning.

Do not trim off the fat before putting the meat on the grill. By placing the fat side over the fire first, the juice will come up through the meat and make it tender.

Sear the lean part of the meat over the fire for 5 to 10 minutes to seal in the juices, then flip over to the fat side for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the cut and the desired degree of doneness. When juice appears at the top of the meat, it is time to flip for another 30-45 minutes.

The fat can easily be trimmed after cooking. It is important to slice tri-tip against the grain the long way, not across the triangle. It won't be a uniform cut but it will be more tender.

The Dessert

Classic Strawberry Shortcake with Fresh Sauce

Yields 6 servings
2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. cold whipping cream

Fresh Strawberry Sauce:

1 pint basket Santa Maria Valley strawberries (12 ounces), stemmed and halved
Sugar to taste


1 pint basket Santa Maria Valley strawberries (12 ounces), stemmed and sliced
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, whipped and sweetened with sugar, to taste
Mint sprigs, for garnish


Heat oven to 350 degrees. To make shortcakes, in bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Gently stir with fork, gradually mix in cream until just combined. Mixture should barely hold together. With hands, form dough into six balls; place 3 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in center of oven 25 to 30 minutes until light golden brown; cool on baking sheet.

Fresh Strawberry Sauce:

In blender container, purée strawberries until smooth. Sweeten to taste with sugar; cover and set aside.

Split shortcakes horizontally. Divide sauce among six dessert plates; top each with a shortcake bottom, 1/4 cup sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup whipped cream. Cover with shortcake tops. Spoon remaining strawberries and whipped cream over shortcakes, dividing equally. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

2 pint baskets of fresh Santa Maria Valley strawberries
1/2 c. each semisweet, milk and white chocolate chips
Finely chopped toasted almonds or pistachios (optional)


Line large baking sheet with waxed paper. Rinse strawberries and pat dry with paper towels. In separate small, microwave-safe bowls (such as custard cups) melt chocolates, one at a time, in microwave at 50-percent (medium) power, allowing 1 1/2 to 2 minutes each. Stir until smooth. (If not completely melted, microwave a few seconds longer.) Or, melt chocolate as package directs.

Holding strawberry by stem end, dip into chocolate to cover about three-fourths of berry; dip into nuts, if desired, and lay on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strawberries, chocolate and nuts.

Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Makes about 8 servings (3 strawberries per serving). For double- and triple- dipped strawberries: After first coating of chocolate is set, dip into contrasting chocolate, leaving part of the first chocolate exposed. Repeat with third chocolate, if you wish, allowing each layer to set between dips.

To drizzle strawberries with chocolate: Microwave chocolate in small plastic bag until melted; squeeze into one corner of bag. Lay strawberries close together on baking sheet. With scissors, cut a small hole in corner of bag, and move back and forth over strawberries, squeezing bag gently. Or, drizzle contrasting chocolate over strawberries that have been dipped. Refrigerate until set.

NOTES: Microwave melting times vary with amount of chocolate and wattage of your oven. Chocolate amounts are approximate; amount needed depends on size of strawberries, and whether or not they are single-, double-, triple-dipped or drizzled.

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©2007 Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau
614 South Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454-5111

Phone: 800-331-3779
Fax: 805-928-7559