Restaurants & Bars

SANTA MARIA BBQ-- We all know about Jocko's and The Far Western Tavern... but what about the trailers?

Mr Taster | Aug 7, 200910:57 AM     19

Greetings from Los Angeles, Santa Maria 'hounds!

Taking a cue from this recent post about why SM BBQ isn't found at more restaurants....


...it's led me to ask these questions, which have been bothering me now since I had my first SM BBQ trailer experience a few years ago.

It seems that every time I read about the quintessential Santa Maria BBQ experience, people mention the weekend parking lot BBQ trailers all up and down the main boulevards of Santa Maria. My understanding is that these are generally these are run as fundraisers for Lions Club, etc. and not run by professional chefs or grillmasters.

Of course, I have had many, many glorious spencer steaks at Jocko's, and have has a couple of delicious Bullseye steaks at The Far Western Tavern. Take note, I have been consistently disappointed by The Hitching Post, whose steaks are more pricey and less flavorful than these two faithful standbys.

When I get the urge for Santa Maria BBQ, Jocko's is my go-to place.

Of course, there's still an empty spot in my heart, and a question in my head. There's that part of me that sees those trailers on the side of the road, the smoke rising from those mobile BBQ trailers, the aroma of the smoke seducing me through my car's air conditioning ducts. I want to love them. I need to love them.

They got me once... I pulled over in the parking lot of a strip mall made from Alex Madonna's trademark giant boulders. I don't remember which organization was running this particular trailer. I stared at the grill for a good 10 minutes. I asked the guy running the grill if I could have "that steak... in the back... the beautifully charred one that was just perfectly done." His reply? "We don't sell from the grill... go to the trailer." So I went to the trailer, and asked them if I could have ""that steak... in the back... the beautifully charred one that was just perfectly done." Her reply? "We don't sell meat directly from the grill." She gave me a plate of whatever they had in the trailer.

So this meat she gave me... when was it finished cooking? How long had it been sitting under the heat lamps in the trailer? Who knows. it was truly mediocre, and a waste of $8 that I could have put towards my $21 spencer steak at Jocko's.

So my question for you local Santa Maria hounds.... is there a trick to getting great SM BBQ, Jocko's quality, from the parking lot trailers? Or is your fondness for the trailers really more about tradition and the experience than about the food?

If there's one particular trailer that's particularly good, that sells consistently fresh meat, that doesn't mind selling you fresh meat from the grill,etc. can you talk about it here?

What are your tips or tricks for getting the best quality, freshest grilled meat from the trailers?

Thanks for all your advice.

Mr Taster

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

Target Launches New Line of "Clean" Home Cleaning Products
Food Trends

Target Launches New Line of "Clean" Home Cleaning Products

by David Watsky | Target has announced a new line of clean home cleaning products, Everspring. The environmentally friendly...

The Ultimate Guide to Picnicking

The Ultimate Guide to Picnicking

by Chowhound Editors | The picnic is one of the annual joys of warm-weather (and sometimes cool-weather) eating, and our...

Celebrate Spring with These Harvest Salad Recipes
Recipe Round-Ups

Celebrate Spring with These Harvest Salad Recipes

by Miki Kawasaki | Summer may seem like prime time for salads, but fresh spring produce also shines in simple preparations...

Celebrate Spring with These Seasonal Cocktails
Recipe Round-Ups

Celebrate Spring with These Seasonal Cocktails

by Brittany Loggins | There’s no better way to shed your winter layers and ease into spring than with a delicious cocktail...

See what's new!

View latest discussions ›

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.