First review from Man Upper Bo Joseph, our new South Texas correspondent:
Is Southern Blues BBQ the type of BBQ joint that could put South Texas on the BBQ map?
Since moving to Corpus Christi four weeks ago i had been deprived of any BBQ. Not that i had tried BBQ and just didn't like it, but hadn't had the opportunity to try any at all. Part of the problem is my current work schedule, the other part is I didn't know of any BBQ joints in Corpus Christi. On our way back to the house this evening (after seeing Harry Potter in IMAX 3D), my wife and i noticed a new BBQ place that had opened up mere blocks from our new house - Southern Blues BBQ. We decided to check it out and end the depravity.
Southern Blues is housed in a strip center much like the rest of Corpus Christi. However, upon entering the place the sweet smell of smoke greets you like a long lost friend. The restaurant is decorated in decor matching it's name - old photos of blues and jazz legends who would be proud to have their picture hanging in such a place. The vibe is more Memphis southern than say, New Orleans.
The menu is quite extensive for a new and rather small BBQ joint. That says something about the owners ambitions, and her heart. And as anybody knows, making great BBQ isn't all about cooking, the passion behind it all is just as important.
One can order either plates or by the pound. And any combination of brisket, ribs, sausage (from yoakum), turkey, ham, pork loin, and baby backs. A lack of sides also didn't exist. Tonight my wife ordered the turkey sandwich plate which came with one side, and she choose the potato salad. I ordered my go to plate for any first time visit - brisket and ribs, with my choice of Mac n cheese and Cole slaw. There was also a table of pickles, onions, and pickled peppers available at no extra charge.
The turkey was cooked to perfection. A nice and smooth smokey flavor that didn't over power the meat itself but provided quite the nice partner.
The pork ribs were well cooked with plenty of meat on the bone. Bbqing ribs takes time, and once they are done the meat doesn't lie. Cook them too long and the meat will start to recess from the end of the bone. Not at Southern Blues. The ribs were cooked slow and steady and a good flavor was the result.
I asked for moist brisket and wasn't disappointed. As the pictures show the brisket was well marbled and outlined by the necessary red smoke ring. I prefer this type of integrated marbling to where there is just an outside layer. The integration throughout the brisket provides for a better breakdown of the tough fibers of the protein and in my opinion, is much more flavorful.
All the sides were homemade that day. Potato salad had nice bits of real bacon in it. The cole slaw was excellent. And the mac n cheese was to die for. I'm not to big on sides as long as the meats are good, however, these sides were some of the best I ever had at a BBQ joint.
Southern Blues had two types of BBQ sauces. One more of a tomato based and the other a little bit sweeter. My wife preferred the tomato based one, and I wasn't shy about using the sweeter one. The owner said starting next week she will begin making three different types of sauce in house. Not sure if that is enough time to make it into the second annual Gettin' Sauced contest or not, but definitely next year.
The owner also said on Tuesdays she makes a special pulled pork sandwich with some type of unique cole slaw to top it off with. She said it was for her Alabama friends. I told her I knew the perfect Alabama BBQ aficionado to test it. (by the way, it's almost SEC football season, which lets be honest, no other conference really matters, so, Geaux Tigers!)
The owner was extremely busy but took the time to talk to us and answer our questions. Her passion and love for BBQ was undeniable. Southern Blues is definitely a place we will visit frequently, not because of the scarcity of BBQ in South Texas, but because of the quality of food and the passion behind it.
I wouldn't put Southern Blues in the same league as say Franklins just yet, however, Southern Blues is on my South Texas bbq map for sure.
Bo Joseph, the new Man Up South Texas correspondent.