Today – lets focus on food.   In particular, lets talk beef, chicken, pork, seafood and all that can be smoked, grilled, basted, broiled or fried at the ranch BBQ Depot . We present a broad blend of upscale and diverse cuisine at Marble Mountain Ranch, but the ranch BBQ depot is the culinary heart of the more traditional western cuisine here at California’s dude ranch.

Santa Maria grills are a key tool in the BBQ repertoire at california's dude ranch

Our Santa Maria Grill – the heart of the rotisserie and flame grilled BBQ ranch cuisine

There is an excitement to BBQ that borders on the mystical. Maybe it connects us somehow to ancestral roots from millennia past when our predecessors bonded around communal fires and shared meals hot off of the fire.

For us, the excitement starts early in the day with BBQ. Before our guests are down to the lodge for morning coffee, we have the smoker lit, and the aromatic hint of a hand rubbed pork butt, honey bourbon ribs, or apple vinegar brined turkey is filling the morning air. The talk of the day is then focused on what is happening at the BBQ! Passersby to the ranch and inbound visitors are greeted with the inescapable scent of something remarkably good in the air.

Santa Maria Grilled Chicken at California's Dude Ranch

Select meats are marinated in herbs and spices fresh from our our Marble Mountain Ranch organic gardens then grilled to perfection on our santa fe grill

Many of our guests are foreign nationals. Some come from parts of the states that do not have a strong tradition of BBQ. In every case, our visitors bring a desire to partake in authentic cuisine that reflects the traditions of the region. As a western dude ranch this means that we emphasize traditional American dishes that we prepare with our own unique signature

Dude Ranch BBQ pitmaster

Carefully watching the fire, the smoker is loaded and spritzed with ranch marinade by Adam, the ranch pitmaster.

Early on, our test kitchen experimented with red sauces,, mustard based yellow sauces, pepper rubs, and exotic fruit woods to smoke the meats. In the end, we concluded that we needed our own unique BBQ signature. This should ideally be based on some regional connection to Marble Mountain Ranch and it’s larger geography.

BBQ ribs at California's dude ranch vacation

Select meat cuts, and original recipes foundation in BBQ tradition await you at California’s Dude Ranch

The Klamath National Forest is rich in arboreal diversity and includes the Madrone tree, and it’s smaller cousin the Manzanita. Both of these are incredibly clean burning fuel sources and have a connection to the native peoples traditions of cooking salmon on open pit Manzanita fires. We start our smokers and grills with this traditional fuel source and then layer on fruitwoods harvested from the ranch orchard trimmings. Pecan wood, apple wood, and cherry woods are our favorite smoking woods and they supply a wonderfully subtle backdrop to the unique blends of spices and ranch grown organic herbs that we rub and cure our meats in.

Fresh herbs from Marble Mountain Ranch used to flavor our BBQ

Fresh from the ranch, herbs are picked daily to garnish and flavor your culinary experience.

The success at the ranch BBQ is never based on endless repetition of a once proven success. We find it exciting and fun to experiment with additions, changes and improvements. Some of last years newest additions to our repertoire were apple vinegar brined whole chickens, chipotle grilled shrimp, and honey bourbon ribs with a Cajun kick.

So, what are you waiting for? The BBQ is crankin up – come on down and meet the meat we eat!

Doug