Blue Rock BBQ: True Southern ’Cue in the South Bay

By Stewart Putney / Photography By Stewart Putney | July 01, 2014
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blue rock bbq sandwich

It doesn’t take long to know you are in for some serious barbecue when you visit Blue Rock BBQ in San Jose. Sure, you immediately get a whiff of meat and smoke, the interior is clean and welcoming, the service is all smiles and the place is filled with happy barbecue fans. And that barbecue sure is tasty. But it goes a little further than that. In a corner by the soda fountain you start to see the plaques. Dozens and dozens of plaques. “Best of” awards, youth sports team sponsorship photos and “thank yous” from local organizations. And that is when you know that Blue Rock is the real thing. Real barbecue is more than just food; it is all about community, all about family. And few things bring people together better than barbecue. So it isn’t much of a surprise that Blue Rock was founded by a local Bay Area family, with Southern roots. Owen and Marie Jobson both grew up in Tennessee, and enjoyed the local barbecue, but moved to the Bay Area for career reasons. Soon enough they started craving a pulled pork sandwich. “I was working at Cisco and there just wasn’t that much local barbecue, so we became interested in doing it here,” says Owen. Originally, Owen looked to bring an established Tennessee barbecue operator to the area, but instead, they “helped me with setup and recipes for our own place.” And in 2008 the Jobsons opened Blue Rock. True to its Tennessee inspiration, Blue Rock features pork shoulder, ribs and chicken with a custom spice rub, cooked low-and-slow over hickory wood chunks. But, over time, they also added local specialties like tri-tip, Texas-style brisket and burgers custom-ground to order. “We think in terms of barbecue without borders. We want to mix it up and be more diverse, while still being true to our Southern roots,” says Owen. Sides also come from across the country with baked beans, fries, cole slaw, potato salad, mac ’n’ cheese and even hush puppies. And the cornbread is worth a trip all on its own. Blue Rock does offer catering across the Bay Area, but much of the business is eat-in and take-out. And they have a solid base of regular local customers. “We want to provide flavor, good value and a simple experience for local families,” says Owen. If you look at all those plaques on the wall, it appears that Blue Rock BBQ is doing just that. Tips for good barbecue at home: Unlike high-heat grilling, barbecue is all about cooking low-and-slow with real wood smoke. But as Owen Jobson says, “Good barbecue takes practice. You need to learn about your smoker, your weather and what you like … it’s a creative experience, have fun with it.” Beyond practice, Owen’s other key is to focus on “maintaining moisture in the meat, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.” Here are his tips for good Southern barbecue at home: Don’t over-trim your meat Cook with the fat side up to baste meat and keep moisture in Look at the weather—if it’s dry, look to add moisture to your smoker Introduce moisture to your smoker using water pans It is OK to wrap your meat in foil or butcher paper some of the time, particularly to preserve moisture Finishing ribs and tri-tip on a hot grill will add good flavor and texture

Article from Edible Silicon Valley at http://ediblesiliconvalley.ediblecommunities.com/where-eat/blue-rock-bbq
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