BBQ Bootcamp, the second annual edition
Grillmeister Frank Ostini of the Hitching Post II in Buellton, Calif., is hosting the second annual BBQ Bootcamp March 8-11 at Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang. The four-day, three-night grilling weekend should teach you everything you want to know -- and possibly more -- about traditional Santa Maria-style barbecue.
Boot camp, though, seems hardly the concept, since plenty of free time is built into the schedule. Guests can roam the 10,000-acre dude ranch’s walking and horseback riding trails, or find relief from barbecue-induced aches and pains at the ranch spa.
Beds in “deluxe cottages” promise to be soft, too, and all rooms have wood-burning fireplaces to keep everybody warm and cozy.
Morning classes are taught by Ostini with Alisal executive chef Pascal Godé. Afternoons are free for all of the above activities. And after dusk, Santa Ynez winemakers show up to pour their Pinots and Rhone-style reds.
The first night, Thursday, features a Western-style welcome dinner. Friday night, Astini and Godé cook a meal to accompany Hitching Post II wines (made under the Hartley Ostini label). Saturday, students show what they've learned with a grill-your-own dinner, while local winemakers pair wines with each course. Sunday, breakfast at leisure, and when good and ready, head on back to L.A. with a leather-bound BBQ booklet in hand for future reference.
Sounds like fun. The only drawback? The price, which starts at $2,650 for four days and three nights, based on double occupancy. For more information, contact Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort at (800) 4-ALISAL or (805) 688-6411. More information at www.alisal.com.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Frank Ostini explaining meat. Credit: Lisa Cohen