Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BBQ back in Santa Maria, Ca.

I am originally from Santa Maria, Calif. Some of you may have heard of Santa Maria and know that it is home to the world famous Santa Maria Style BBQ.
Official site:
Unofficial site:

Anyway, I go back home from time to time, usually for about 2 weeks, and we always have at least two big events. The family BBQ and the family Taco Night. I can safely say that I normally gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds in those 2 weeks. Oh, did I mention that we go out to eat, usually BBQ, on most of the other nights. It's a rough life, but someone's got to do it.

Here are a few pictures of one of those BBQs. My Uncle John Centeno, was the Grillmaster on this day and let me tell you, his BBQ reminded me who is the teacher and who is the student. Just plain fantastic!!!!

The "Pit" at my folks home. The grill is electrically moved up and down by the lever on the right side. The components are all custom made by my uncles. The brick is all used brick salvaged from old fireplaces.

The fire box is loaded with red oak.

My Step-father, Fred Quigley, has the fire going strong. This will be allowed to burn down to larger coals for grilling. These red oak coals will last until all the cooking is done and then some.

The "Master" Johnny Centeno, at work rubbing down his pork loins.

The Grillmaster is gearing up for some cold weather BBQ. Temp in the 50s which is cold for me. Guam's average temperature is about 85 in the daytime. Overall about 81 for the year. So 50s is cold!!!

The fire has burned down so now we need to check the coals.

The Supervisors doing what Supervisors do best at any BBQ, HYDRATE!!!  Hey, we've gotta stay warm is what they told me. Who can argue with that?

Rubbed down chicken halves and big, fat pork loins.

Of course I did have to put on a few baby backs, one of my favorites. Also we've got the french bread going on.

Flipping the french bread over, then we apply the garlic butter and Santa Maria seasoning (rub). The basic SM rub mix is:
2     tbsp table salt
2     tbsp granulated garlic powder
1/2  teaspoon dried parsley, ground
1/4  tsp black pepper, medium grind
1/4  tsp Accent (MSG)
Up to you if you want to leave the MSG in. But it definitely brings out flavor and tenderizes.

Finishing up the ends of the pork loins.

The BBQ crew. That's me in the green t-shirt and don't ask me if I ride a lot of horses.

Chow time!!  We have pictured sliced french bread, BBQ'd chicken, BBQ'd pork loin, baked Halibut, potato salad, chili beans, fresh homemade salsa, lemon finadene, BBQ'd baby back ribs, white rice and fresh garden salad. Just a little bit of everything. And of course desert...more "cocktails" so that no one dehydrates.

OK, let's keep the line moving Mom....

It was another great family get together in the great Santa Maria tradition. And guess what? No one dehydrated!!!! I love it when a plan works.

Until next time....


cowgirl said...

Wow Great post Rueben. Love the's a work of art!
Looks like you come from a family of Master Chefs! :)

Rueben said...

My uncles having been BBQing since ever since as the young ones say on Guam. My Uncle Johnny is 80+ years old and he's still going strong. They are very talented cooks. They've taught me a lot. I have been fortunate.