We know that to make Santa Maria BBQ there are very few “must haves”. Tri-Tip, Salt, Pepper…and nicely seasoned Red Oak. Even thought these requirements are few, true Santa Maria BBQ cannot be accomplished without these basics.
To those of us on California’s Central Coast, the Red Oak and many of it’s cousins are plentiful. However, to my friends around the country, Oaks are either of a less flavorful variety or nonexistent. These Oaks of California are not “furniture grade”, they have many twists, turns, knots and kinks…not to mention bark that can approach an inch thick on older trees. These Oaks are meant for Sublime Beauty and BBQ. We don’t take the bark off like other BBQ cultures practice; we treat it the precious maker of fine BBQ coals – the wood and bark give a coal bed of unique texture, burn and smoke rates.
In order to find the wood – several commercial wood companies contract to “prune” in the case of the California Live Oak – and cut the Red & White Oaks…It’s illegal to cut down a California Live Oak without a permit….so ask before you buy, exactly what kind of Oak you’ll be getting.
Visiting local newspaper websites will generally provide contact for people that are selling the Oak wood by the cord – these guys typically are for the local customer, and don’t have the ability to box & ship to a customer…this will however be a great way to get lots of wood much cheaper than “by the box” retailers.
I’ve found a great website for locating Oak BBQ woods near you – many will ship directly to you in boxes or bags.
This is a very complete list and incorporates the major regions of California.
After you get your Oak BBQ wood coming, try this BBQ seasoning…
The Rub Co. – “Santa Maria Style” – purchase it at www.greenleafbbq.com – AWESOME rub for this genre of BBQ – and others – The Rub Co. and their BBQ team just won Reserve Grand Champion (2nd place) over all at the Wild West BBQ Bash…using this line of BBQ rubs!
Best of luck to you in obtaining the BBQ woods that made the Santa Maria Style, the equal of every other BBQ culture in the world.