The 5 pillars of the Santa Maria BBQ with Chef Anthony Endy

When it comes to different types of grilling in the United States, places like Texas, Memphis, or North / South Carolina probably come to mind. However, there is one particular style of grilling that may not be as well known, but it certainly tastes better than its weight class. We would like to introduce you to barbecuing in the Santa Maria style.

Photo: Jon Perino

The story of Santa Maria style barbecuing began in the late 19th century with local ranchers on the California coast – even as far as the Chumash people. They cooked over the local hardwood in the area (mostly oak and sycamore maple). And because of the persistently windy conditions on California’s central coast, they dug large pits in the ground to make their fires and cook over the embers. But the wind is actually a key component here as it keeps the fire healthy and fueled without the need for ventilation. They placed cuts such as sirloin on large skewers or stakes and then roasted the meat over the coals.

The Spanish introduced the grill in the early 1900s, and the underground pit became an above-ground pit with a lever to raise and lower the grill, which was essentially something the ranchers could lug around – also known as an Argentine “gaucho” Grill ”or simply“ Santa Maria-like ”grill.

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

While tri-tip is a staple of modern Santa Maria-style grilled dishes, the story goes back to three dominant proteins: sirloin, chicken, and linguica (Portuguese sausage). A traditional Santa Maria-style meal consists of egg whites, pinquito beans (grown locally), salsa, garlic bread (grilled over oak and dipped in garlic butter), and a green salad, followed by a dessert (traditionally strawberry shortcake).

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

We caught up with Santa Maria style BBQ expert and Chef Anthony Endy at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort in the heart of the Santa Barbara wine country for their annual BBQ Bootcamp event – a brilliant three day grilling master class from some of the best chefs in the world Country. We spoke to Endy to find out more about what makes this type of grilling so juicy, smoky, juicy and damn tasty.

Everything starts with the wood

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

“We use the local hardwood, which is oak. Red oak is the most popular hardwood for grilling. We use a mix of red and white oak just because it’s most accessible here at Alisal Ranch. So you will always start with this hardwood … the wood always comes first. You make a big fire for it, break it down into embers and then just fry it slowly. The Santa Maria style grill runs hotter than most of the others, it’s not that smoky but it’s a much hotter temperature. “

Reverse sear is the key

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

“You don’t want to fry out the flavors. You want to keep the juice in your protein and absorb the smoke … and keep flipping it. Reverse sear, when it comes to things like tri-tip – and even the chicken – I’ve done it [reverse sear] because these are things where the protein is supposed to absorb the smoke and then at the very end this crust is supposed to arise. “

Don’t be afraid to turn the protein over

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

“Be committed when you put the protein on and turn it over often. The chicken will tell you when to turn. With Tri-Tip, you don’t want to work with flare ups. This is a rookie mistake. Flare usually occurs if you put the fat, such as oil, on the grill too early. Keep the fire low and keep a good distance between the protein and the flame itself. “

Always start with a clean grill

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

“Use the fat you cut from the protein to wipe and clean the hot grids before you put the protein on them. This will remove any previous residue while maintaining the taste of the protein. “

Use a pair of pliers

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

“Some Santa Maria people use those little pig tail things to poke and flip the meat. However, you want to leave the juices in, and every time you pierce them, you let the juices out. The goal is always juicy juicy meat. One big mistake people make is overcooking their meat. A basic rule is that you always let your meat sit (around 20 minutes) and always cut against the grain when it comes to Tri-Tip. “

Anthony EndyPhoto: Jon Perino

Find out more about visiting the Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort and register immediately for the next BBQ Bootcamp.

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