Let Your Garden Take You on an Adventure

We went to Santa Maria for Tri-Tip Steak

This year we had planned to go to Santa Barbara for a 2 week vacation to celebrate my birthday.  Those plans were scrapped due to the Corona Virus.  One of the spots we wanted to eat at was the Cold Spring Tavern, a former stagecoach stop dating back to 1886.   It’s located between Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez in the mountains on the San Marcos Pass off Highway 154. They are famous for their Tri-Tip steaks.  So we decided to take our own little vacation by creating a very special Tri-tip steak dinner at home.  

My husband found a recipe for the Santa Maria Style barbecue Tri-Tips.  Not only was it a new recipe but also a little history lesson as well. This area is about an hour from Santa Barbara. The cattle ranchers in the area of Santa Maria dating back to the mid 1800’s  cooked  it up on site with hot coals of red oak native to the area for their vaqueros, or cowboys. The steaks were served with a pinquito beans.  These are small pink beans that are considered indigenous to the Santa Maria Valley.

The Santa Maria Steak became popularized in the 1950’s. Ronald Regan was also a big fan and he had some of the people from Santa Maria come to the White House to cook it and have BBQ’s on the South Lawn. 

Well, we happened to have the pinquito beans from Rancho Gordo in our pantry.  For the salsa that accompanied the steak it turned out we had everything in our garden. Tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, and cilantro. 


We used the medium French oak wood cubes that had been used to flavor our pinot noir wine to smoke it on the BBQ, a slight alteration from the original recipe. 


So with our ration of beans and steak and the produce from the yard we created a pretty authentic version of the Santa Maria BBQ. 

We also had garlic bread grilled done on the BBQ and a salad with our fresh tomatoes and lettuce on it.  Avocado was the only store bought item on the salad. The wine was a petite Syrah from Livermore, CA  


For the evening we felt transported to the hills of Santa Maria. It was a delicious evening thanks to our garden!

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