The West’s Best BBQ

July 26, 2013 | By | Comments (17)

Pictured: Jocko’s in Nipomo, CA

In and around Santa Maria, California, succulent oak-grilled barbecue is a way of life, but the region has largely remained off the national radar. Based on the three well-fed years of research I did for my August story on the simple but wonderful barbecue found all along California’s Central Coast, I assembled my favorites into this easy-to-use Google map.


  1. Susan

    Santa Maria BBQ in Culver City serving tradional Santa Maria Style BBQ. The owner is a native of Santa Maria!

    March 30, 2016 at 12:15 pm
  2. Carol & Al

    The Swiss on Broadway is the best! The steaks were as good as Jocko, if not better. They have baby-back ribs, Jocko’s only has spare ribs. The service was friendly, the place (including the restrooms) was sparkling clean, and the prices were reasonable. Very comfortable, honest pour for a glass of great wine. We got there at 5pm on a Saturday night, the place was packed by 6pm. Can’t wait to go back!

    October 27, 2013 at 8:53 am
  3. C Fiore

    FYI-Far Western built a new place on East Clark in Orcutt. No longer in Guadalupe. Won’t comment on quality.

    September 8, 2013 at 9:16 am
  4. Foodie2

    If you come to Santa Maria try the Swiss Chalet, great BBQ! like Jocko’s it’s not fancy just excellent food!

    August 13, 2013 at 5:06 pm
  5. Herb Spencer

    Ate at the Far West Tavern 2 years ago in Guadalupe and enjoyed the BBQ well enough, but I’d like to give the Elks’ version a try. FYI, Elks’ Friday night dinners in the Midwest are generally open to the public, and offer as good a selection of traditional American meals as you could ever hope for – and at bargain prices, generally under $10 per meal. And, unless my nostrils are lying, oak – red and otherwise – is rapidly becoming a BBQ firebase around the country, as evidenced by its odor’s omnipresence from Chicago to Northern Michigan and all parts in between.

    August 11, 2013 at 5:13 pm
  6. Gabe

    Looked at Wikipedia and it’s Fridays but the calendar states “Cook your own” which they don’t let you do.

    August 10, 2013 at 10:53 am
  7. Gabe

    Maybe I’m missing it but did the article actually say when the SM Elks club has BBQs open to the public? I looked at 1538 Elks schedule for August and there are no weekend BBQs for the public just workers.

    August 10, 2013 at 9:34 am
    • Margo True

      The best time to try the Elks’ wonderful barbecue is during the Elks rodeo at the end of May/beginning of June. Apart from that, you’re right, they’re not open to the public. You can barbecue on their magnificent grill on Friday nights (the “Grill Your Own” night), but you have to know an Elks member. (This info is part of the list that accompanies our Central Coast BBQ map:

      August 10, 2013 at 12:14 pm
  8. generic_ (@generic_)

    Saying McClintock’s is “not authentic” is like saying the Gospel of Luke is a cheap knockoff of Matthew.

    AJ Spurs? Point taken.

    August 9, 2013 at 11:06 am
  9. JJ

    AJs and McClintocks are not authentic.

    August 3, 2013 at 10:16 pm
  10. Jacob king

    amazing my wife and son just ate at jockos in july and still haven’t stoped talking about it great article!

    August 1, 2013 at 9:06 pm
  11. Judy Myers

    What about AJ Spurs and Mc Clintocks?

    July 31, 2013 at 7:19 pm
  12. DbaiG

    If there is a discussion about food how can I possibly stay away from making a contribution?! I’m a foodie through and through and to read this recommendation about a BBQ spot really is mouthwatering and makes me want to visit this place. So it’s going down as the next BBQ destination for my eat-out plan with friends.

    July 30, 2013 at 2:36 pm
  13. Mark Anderson

    Ya, same here. I was enjoying this blog. Please publish the full article.

    July 29, 2013 at 12:50 am
  14. Atif

    Where is the full article? I want to share it with friends.

    July 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

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