Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Review: Blue Rock BBQ

When you think about great BBQ you most likely envision the south; places like Memphis, Tennessee, and Alabama. But would you ever include San Jose as a city known for great barbecue? Blue Rock BBQ is the brainchild of Owen and Marie Jobson, and they are trying to change that. They have collected time tested family owned recipes and techniques from all of those classic barbecue regions and housed them all in a small but well appointed restaurant in San Jose.

Their menu is a celebration of flavors, aromas, and good times with family and friends, says Jobson. It reflects their motto, "Barbecue without Borders" in that it includes many US regions of barbecue as well as a few countries, like Cuba, Morocco, and Indonesia.

Starting with the menu item most exotic to this area, Alabama-style Chicken; smoked at high temperature then dunked in a white barbecue sauce. The leg-thigh portion was incredibly fall off the bone tender. The skin was nicely seasoned and drizzled with a red sauce as well. If the term “dunked in a white barbecue sauce” leads you to believe this will be a saucy mess, you are misled. This is about the most perfect piece of barbecue chicken I have tasted to date.

The Tennessee Pulled Pork was true to form. First pulled and them chopped the texture was tender and juicy with just the right amount of seasoning. Restraint with the sauce ladle is definitely a lesson taught well at the Blue Rock BBQ, and this dish is no exception. With just a drizzle of sauce to enhance the meat every bit was well balanced. For those of you who like the sauce flowing from the plate there is a squeeze bottle of sweet, tangy and ever so slightly spicy sauce on every table for your slathering pleasure.

Baby Back Ribs it seems are the litmus test for a great barbecue joint in California. Our order came sans sauce per our request. Dry rubbed, tender and moist, these ribs had a nice bark on the outside and were easily peeled clean from the bone with just the right amount of pull from your teeth. The flavors in the rub were complex but not complicated and enhanced the flavor of the ribs enough to be eaten as is, but also melded perfectly with the addition of the table sauce.

What would barbecue be without the sides? Blue Rock BBQ’s potato salad is a must have. Made of red skin potatoes and dressed lightly in a mayo based dressing the addition of crispy bacon elevates these potatoes to new heights. I mean come on, it has bacon!

When you order coleslaw there are two main varieties you will find; vinegar based or mayo based slaw. The slaw at Blue Rock BBQ is like a marriage of the two, tangy and snappy, yet lightly creamy. I found it to be a delightful change to the usually disappointing side, I’m a fan.

We also tried the Mac and Cheese and the BBQ beans. While I found the beans a bit sweet for my taste my dining companion was instantly taken back to her childhood days, and the BBQ beans served at a family barbecue in Kentucky. We’ll say they are authentic Southern cooking. The mac and cheese was a nice surprise, built from rigatoni with layers of creamy sauce and a cheesy topping. Definitely not your garden variety elbow mac n’ cheese and we appreciate that!

Since Jobson confirmed that all his desserts were made in house we felt obligated to work through the fullness and test out his baking skills. The pecan pie, house made from Jobson’s grandmother’s recipe was pure enjoyment. A crisp but tender crust filled with a rich and sweet, sticky custard and topped with pecan halves. The rich and nutty flavor is the perfect ending to a Southern BBQ.

Blue Rock BBQ is conveniently located in the Hacienda Gardens Shopping Center, near the intersection of Meridian and Foxworthy Avenues. You can easily access Blue Rock BBQ from the Willow Glen, Cambrian, Campbell, and Almaden Valley areas of San Jose. Ample parking is available in front of the restaurant.

3001 Meridian Avenue Phone: (408) 978-2583 (978-BLUE)
San Jose, California 95124

1 comment:

lesliemeisner said...

We went to dinner a bit late for a "school" night arriving at 8:30pm. I had the dark meat smoked chicken with cole slaw and green salad. My partner had pulled pork with baked beans and French fries.

We were both very happy with tasty food, great service and courteous staff. The clean neat atmosphere was rewarding.

As an extra bonus we chated with the owner about the local Ainsley House in Campbell and Tapestry Arts programs of art in shcools in San Jose. We chatted about recipies from family and friends of his. I then tried the pecan pie (his grandmother's recipe.) It is superior. I may have to have desert first next visit!