As a BBQ freak, I am always on the prowl for good eats. The more I learn about the history and culture of BBQ, the more I have sought out and studied this kind of cooking from the different regions of our country. Most BBQ fans can define Carolina Pork (North and South), Kansas City Ribs and Texas Brisket but what if I asked you about true California BBQ? That, my friends, would be Santa Maria Tri-tip. And the quintessential place to get classic California eats is the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe. A few miles west of Santa Maria in the Nipomo Valley along California’s Central Coast, this region has a long history of cattle ranching and dairy farming. This restaurant and bar both catered to the cowboys and got great beef from them.
The Far Western Tavern is a restaurant that grew out of a ranch and serves the best beef I have ever eaten. Now I may be a bit biased as I am a fifth generation Californian and this Central Coast area is where my family is from. We are still doing some digging, but it may be that the Manetti family that runs the Far Western may have got their start on my great, great grandpa Hardie’s ranch in Cayucos, just up the coast.
Even if we aren’t related, this is truly the best beef in the west. Nothing fancy, but great aged beef with the right seasonings for each particular cut. I spent a fair amount of time going over recipes and beef cuts with Chef Barbara Abernathy and soon realized that she had forgotten more about cooking and beef than I will ever know. The combination of great quality beef and an amazing chef turns out spectacular results.
If you can’t make it down to Santa Maria to have some delicious eats don’t worry. The family recipes have all been handed down and put into seasoning rubs and sauces by daughter Susan and marketed as Susie Q’s. Straight up Santa Maria style rubs, glaze and especially the famous Pinquito beans and bean seasoning.
Pinquito beans are grown only in the Nipomo Valley and are a cross between a “little pink” bean and a pinto bean and are absolutely essential to a true Santa Maria BBQ meal. Chef Barbara gave me a secret lesson on how to cook these beans the way they do at the Far Western and I would be happy to pass that along to all that come by our store. Did I mention that we are the only ones in Northern California to carry the full line of Susie Q’s BBQ products? We are honored to share the absolutely best of the true California BBQ culture. Come on by and look into it.
Learn to cook authentic Santa Maria style BBQ: Eggnation July Santa Maria Tri-tip Class
Far Western Tavern: www.farwesterntavern.com
Susie Q’s Brand: www.susieqbrand.com
The BBQ Pro