Paniolo Santa Maria Style BBQ

That first time I drove past farmland and spent a night in the small town of Santa Maria.  Sweet scent of red oak was in the air as I ate delicious Santa Maria bbq.

I was surprised to find Santa Maria bbq on Kauai.  I hear rock tunes from the 80’s and the scent of bbq is in the air.  I order a combo of tri tip and bbq ribs.  Tri tip was cooked to medium/medium well so it was juicy but tough to chew.  Flavor has similarities to Santa Maria bbq.  Ribs were tender, juicy, and covered in bbq sauce which was good.
On a second visit I tried the grilled ono.  I like the mild flavor of the ono and the seasonings accentuated the ono.  Texture of this fish reminds me of cod.
Java Plum Tree
Outdoor grill

I loved the band, the friendly staff, and the vibe of this spot but the food while very good is not quite like the bbq places I visited in Santa Maria.  Missing is the local red oak meats are smoked and the dry rub is not quite the same.  They use a mix of hardwood charcoal and wood from the Java Plum Tree which imparts a different flavor.  Lastly they didn’t put any sauce on the meats in Santa Maria.
Outdoor seating

Gift shop
More gift shop

I need to return and try more menu items.


Sunset over Kauai.


Paniolo Santa Maria Style BBQ
4-1345 Kuhio Hwy
Ste A
Kapaa, HI 96746
(808) 431-1668


6 Replies to “Paniolo Santa Maria Style BBQ”

  1. That’s unfortunate the tri tip wasn’t as yummy. I like the chalkboard menu boards. I don’t think I’ve ever had anything bbq’d with Java Plum Tree wood.

    1. It imparts a nice flavor and is better than your typical chain restaurant like BJ’s or Outback. Red oak is my favorite.

  2. Yes, that’s interesting to find Santa Maria Style BBQ on Kauai! Too bad the tri tip was a bit chewy. Most of the time I find Santa Maria BBQ really tender.

    Red oak sounds interesting.

    1. I might have just gotten a tough piece of meat. You might do better if you try them.

      All the places I visited in Santa Maria use red oak.

  3. Food looks yummy. I love the picture of the sunset. Happy Tuesday!

    1. Thanks! Happy Tuesday!

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