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I first met Chris Minnes, the GM of the stylish and hip 968 Park Hotel during a stay at the hotel several months ago. Chris and his staff are on the cutting edge of the hospitality market. If you’re tired of typical “Hotel Speak” and policies – this crew has the market cornered. Don’t get me wrong – they are true professionals and take their jobs seriously – they are just really creative and fun in the process.
Carrie and I shared coffee with Chris one morning in the lobby bar, made chiefly with recycled lumber and decor, hatching a plan to link up one day for an event. We were both Eco-aware businesses that were doing right by the environment in our individual pursuits…why wouldn’t we put something fun together and create an event for locals and guests to enjoy…it just made sense.
October 17th began with the Traeger Pellet BBQ’s slow smoking Tri-Tip, French Cut St. Louis Spare Ribs and Chicken Thighs on a skewer. Zucchini, Mushrooms and Pineapples were prepared or stuffed with a secret blend of goodness – all of the food was cooked outdoors on the BBQ.
The 968 Park Hotel wine bar, stocked with a nice selection of wines from the local region was set up and managed by Mike, the always affable member of the 968 Park Hotel crew. He poured all evening without a break – I think he was having more fun than the guests. People were checking in from all over the county and sharing in the festivities, excited to see what was going on. Many couples that were headed out for a dinner reservation, canceled their plans and stayed to sample the BBQ and sip the wine.
Each of the BBQ foods was designed to eat while holding a glass of wine – and either complimented what was being poured or cleanse the pallet so other wines could be tasted subjectively.
Green Leaf BBQ is proud to have helped 968 Park Hotel create this event. I’m sure that you’ll see us working together in the future. Please visit the hotel website at www.968parkhotel.com to book your next stay in the Tahoe area. They offer a wonderful array of massages in an Eco-friendly environment that will please the most discerning client.
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.