Monday, May 21 , 2018, 4:04 pm | Mostly Cloudy 68º


Santa Maria Firing Up Barbecue Throwdown to Benefit Kiwanis Kids

As the birthplace of one of the greatest American barbecue styles, it only makes sense that Santa Maria Valley should hold its own barbecue extravaganza. The inaugural Santa Maria BBQFestival Brews & Cues happens noon-6 p.m. April 22, at Santa Maria’s Pioneer Park.

A benefit fundraiser for the Santa Maria Kiwanis for Kids program, the event features a professional competition involving local celebrity judges who will vote on the Best BBQ and present the #1 Branding Iron award.

A separate contest will crown the Best Backyard Cook and include beer tastings from 12 regional craft breweries in the Brews & Cues event.

Along the way, attendees can expect culinary fireworks based on the regional tradition of Santa Maria-style barbecue, which is famous for its dry-rubbed top block sirloin and tri-tip cooked over coals of native red oak and served with locally grown pinquito beans.

Live music, a kid’s corner, and cornhole tournament will also be part of the event.

Festival tickets are $10 for general admission, $25 for the Brews & Cues tasting bar (based on availability). For more information and tickets, visit

Santa Maria-style barbecue stems from a tradition shaped by decades of history, generations of locals, and the perfect mix of native flavors, all of which come together to create a distinct taste indicative of the Santa Maria Valley.

Origins of Santa Maria-style barbecue date back to the mid-1800s, when local rancheros would host Spanish-style barbecues every spring for their vaqueros, or cowboys. Under the trees in the picturesque valley, they’d savor feasts of beef barbecued over earthen pits filled with red-oak coals.

Today, Santa Maria-style barbecue is enjoyed across the region. The Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce copyrighted the official menu in 1978. It consists of tri-tip served with fresh salsa, grilled French bread dipped in melted butter, macaroni and cheese, and a green salad.

Sunset Magazine deemed Santa Maria The West’s Best BBQ Town and The Travel Channel recently showcased Santa Maria-style barbecue on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

For details on Santa Maria Valley lodging, wine tasting, travel deals and e-newsletter alerts, visit or call 800-331-3779.

— Chrisie Yabu for Santa Maria Valley.


Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >