“This story by food editor Margo True is a remarkable tribute to the local traditions, ingredients, people and culture of Santa Maria Style Barbecue,” said Gina Keough, manager of the Santa Maria Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau. “We were honored to work with Ms. True over the past few years, providing information to help her tell the story of Santa Maria Style Barbecue.”

True visited the Santa Maria Valley a number of times to research the region’s barbecue scene, interviewing Santa Maria Valley old timers and iconic personalities; barbecue vendors and restaurateurs; as well as random families in the park enjoying a casual Sunday barbecue picnic.

The resulting story features an extensive spread of color photography, local recipes and spotlights on popular area eateries. Mentions include such beacons of barbecue as Shaw’s Steakhouse, the Far Western Tavern, both Hitching Post establishments, the Garey Store & Deli and the Filipino Community Food Truck.

The piece also highlights legendary Santa Maria Elks Lodge grillers, including Ike Simas, Gary Simas, Larry Turner, Tom Sartain and Jerry Lloyd, who, after being asked who has been barbecuing the longest, piped up and said, “I cut one of the first trees God made and barbecued with it.”

Other locals in the Sunset article include Joe and Vincenza Caicco, owners of Santa Maria Barbecue Outfitters; Cindy Ransick of the Santa Maria Valley Historical Society Museum, and Santa Maria resident Stephanie Correa.

“This is the latest and greatest example of how interest in Santa Maria Style Barbecue continues to grow, and how it is increasingly recognized as a top regional American barbecue style,” Keough said, noting that the bureau runs a dedicated blog at SantaMariaValleyBBQ.com to serve the region’s signature attraction.

She added, “One of our favorite lines in the article is where Margo True writes,‘You can make a good approximation of Santa Maria barbecue outside the Central Coast, but for the real thing, you have to come here.’ We couldn’t agree more!”


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