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Fast Facts | Recipes | Barbecue Video | Barbecue Brochure (PDF)

Fast Facts

  • No one is quite sure how Pinquito beans first came to the Santa Maria Valley. Some old-timers remember stories of a bag of beans given as a gift to one of the early Swiss-Italian settlers. Others claim that a lady brought several plants with her when she migrated to the area from Europe many years ago.
  • Pinquito beans are a commercial crop exclusive to the Santa Maria area.
  • The only secret of the Santa Maria Style Barbecue is its simplicity. It consists of prime top sirloin, about three inches thick, cooked over a fire of coals from the Santa Maria Valley red oak wood. Salt, pepper and garlic salt are the only seasonings used.
  • In the early 1960s Santa Marian’s noticed how much meat was being wasted using the rib steaks, and felt that something should be done to lower food costs. So they started experimenting with other cuts which would not be so costly. As a result Top Block Sirloin was discovered.
  • In the mid-1960s, Santa Marian’s discovered the incredible taste of Tri-tip.
  • Before the mid 1960s, Tri-tip was practically considered scrap, not good for anything other than stew meat or hamburger.
  • Tri-tip is a very good cut of meat; however, usually by the time you have trimmed the excess fat, you will find it is more expensive than the Top sirloin.
  • The Tri-tip roast is a boneless cut from the bottom sirloin. It is also called a "triangle" roast because of its shape.
  • Top block is used for "Santa Maria Style" barbecues and Tri-tip is mostly used for family barbecues and fund-raising events, as the cuts are smaller.
  • The breakthrough, according to local barbecuers, came in the late 1950s when Santa Maria butcher Bob Schutz innocently placed the end cut seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic salt on a rack in his rotisserie. Forty-five minutes later he shared it with fellow workers who were amazed at its unique texture and flavor.
  • In 1978 the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce copyrighted the Santa Maria Style Barbecue recipe and menu to prevent commercial ventures from advertising their barbecue when it wasn’t the "real thing."
  • Santa Maria Style Barbecue consists of: Top Sirloin Top Block, tossed green salad, Pinquito beans, salsa, toasted french bread with sweet butter, macaroni and cheese, a simple dessert (strawberry shortcake), and a bottle of Santa Maria Valley wine.




©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