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Santa Maria invites you for a rancher's barbecue.

Santa Maria invites you for a rancher's barbecue

Texas barbecue may be the darling oftrendsetters today, but there's a cattle-rancher's version bred right in Southern California. Santa Maria, 60 miles north of Santa Barbara, has a barbecue tradition reaching back to rancho days.

June 4 through 7 ushers in the summerbarbecue season when Elks Club members sponsor a rodeo and parade. Each morning, they roll huge cookers onto Broadway (State 135), the main street running parallel to U.S. 101. By afternoon, visitors can buy a plateful for $3.75.

Smoky aromas hover over Santa Mariainto fall; any weekend you'll find nonprofit groups cooking to raise funds or neighbors gathering for a block party. To see if any special events are scheduled, call the chamber of commerce at (805) 925-2403. Or try restaurants listed at right.

The real McCoy . . . with variations

Most Santa Marians agree on the basicmenu: sirloin steak or chicken cooked over red oak, tiny beans called pinquitos, macaroni and cheese, salsa, and salad.

But agreement stops there. Every cookhas his variations: "secret' meat marinades, added spices for the beans, homemade breads to wipe the plates.

The pinquito, a miniature cousin of thepink bean, is grown exclusively in the Santa Maria Valley. The tiny town of Betteravia, 6 miles southwest, is the bean's capital. You can buy beans in grocery stores, or stop at the Betteravia Farms outlet (714 S. Blosser Road, 925-2417; open 7 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays). The farm sells "poquitos' by the case, $15 for a dozen 2-pound bags.

If you want to dine on barbecue but can'tfind an outdoor one, try one of five restaurants in town. Landmark Restaurant, at 800 S. Broadway, has the strongest claim to authenticity. From the 1920s through the '60s, the building was a men's club and the setting for "stag barbecues'-- huge cookouts for hundreds of people. Two years ago, the tradition was revived when the clubhouse was restored as the restaurant. Wednesday evenings in the basement, barbecue is served family-style (adults $8.95, children $4.50). In the more elegant dining room, you can get served every day. Call 928-5806.

Other restaurants in town serving barbecueare Shaw's Restaurant (714 S. Broadway, 925-9226), Valley Farmer (506 S. Broadway, 928-2303), Santa Maria Inn (805 S. Broadway, 928-7777), Smithy's (3455 Skyway Drive, 928-8000).

Photo: Big black barbecue (rented for theday) brings neighbors together for a Santa Maria-style tradition: cooking together to kick off summertime

Photo: Tri-tip steak is heart and soul of family-style meals served up at Landmark Restaurant; sides include macaroni and cheese, soup, bread, beans, and salad

Photo: Mainstay of Santa Maria barbecue, pinquito beans are harvested on the fertile plains southwest of town. These tiny cousins of the pink bean can be bought locally
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1987
Words:458
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