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landarc 03-11-2013 09:54 PM

The Real Santa Maria BBQ style
Thanks to derHusker, for posting this video. This is the closest thing I have ever seen to what I learned about Santa Maria BBQ back in the late 1970's.

I learned from some old men, whose time on the pits dated back to the late 1920's and this is pretty close to what they told me. If you can find Top Block, it is worth the cook. DO NOT COOK IT LIKE A STEAK. It is cooked on rotisseries, above a moderate oak fire, and it will take 2 hours or so to get it to 140F internal, low heat cooking.

By the time I was learning, these guys had adapted to smaller pits, and used racks, but, they did not grill the meats as we are all lead to believe, They did Top Block, Ball Tip and Tri-tip, over a 'slow fire' and it took 1.5 to 2 hours to get it to medium (140F internal). Top Block with the lifter/cap in place on a rotisserie will trump tri-tip.

Also note, he calls it Live Oak, not Red Oak, the actual wood used is Coastal Live Oak not Red Oak. People from the Mid-Atlantic called it Red Oak back in the 1950's when they first came out and saw the trees. They are related, but, we actually used Coastal Live Oak out here.

This tradition actually dates back to the Spanish ranchos, and the tradition of harvest and spring festivals they brought from Europe. The specific purpose of the original Santa Maria BBQ was a party to celebrate the end of the cattle drives and harvest. Traditionally, cattle were harvested in late fall, after fattening all summer and early fall. The vaqueros and caballeros would be in town, and the ranchers and land owners would sponsor the harvest festival as thanks to their workers.

tish 03-11-2013 11:29 PM

Thanks, Bob! This is like listening to "Boshizzle West"! :thumb:

Al Czervik 03-11-2013 11:34 PM

Thanks Bob... Very helpful!

speers90 03-11-2013 11:53 PM

Very informative post!

westy 03-12-2013 04:01 AM

Thanks landarc. Great clip.

Bbq Bubba 03-12-2013 06:51 AM

California grilling. ;)

landarc 03-12-2013 10:52 AM

Hey Bubba, Gooo Giants!

deguerre 03-12-2013 10:59 AM

California by way of Mexico by way of Spain grilling?

Great post Bob.:thumb:

dwfisk 03-12-2013 11:07 AM

Thanks for posting this. It is very timely and helpful as I'm just getting started on a fire ring with Santa Maria grill - after looking over this I've decided a rotisserie is a must. I'm also forwarding a link to my butcher pal in the hope he can get me the right cuts out here on the east coast. Thanks again.

Oldbob 03-12-2013 11:23 AM

Great Post...Thank You for Sharing !!...It was Very Informative !

code3rrt 03-12-2013 11:31 AM

Great post Bob, A little history lesson mixed with a little butchering lesson, good stuff!


landarc 03-12-2013 11:44 AM

Dwfisk, the Top Block should be very easy to come by. I am pretty sure all butchers get top sirloin sub-primals in. Just get them to cut a thick slice off of one. If you are looking for the old style, use a full, bone-on Prime Rib. They are delicious done this way. Due to their sudden popularity, tri-tip will be the hardest to find.

Bily Lovec 03-12-2013 12:02 PM

looks exactly the same way Ive seen it/done it in Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.
nothing new here, thats a tradition that goes back hundreds/thousands of years.

joshcary 03-12-2013 12:04 PM

Great video! I need to have a rod built for my Yoder flattop grill!

Quick note on the wood.

Live oak simply means evergreen oak trees. They come in all varieties, white and red. Coastal Live is a red oak (along with Emory, South American oak, etc.), but Arizona White (for example) is also a variety of live oak. The Georgia state tree is the Southern Live Oak which is also a white oak variety.

Vision 03-12-2013 01:00 PM


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