Nexus Blue: King of Barbeque
You don’t find local barbeque like this often.
Something most people don’t know about me is that my dad’s side of the family came from West Virginia, so I have a decent chunk of Southern background in me. Granted, my food experience growing up wasn’t purely Southern, and was a strange amalgamation of Southeast Asian and Italian, with comfort food mixed in. Nevertheless, it was a part of my formative tastes growing up, and that resulted in me having an extra-special place in my heart for barbeque.
If you’ve never been to Nexus Brewery, please accept my condolences. It is definitive soul food central, with some of the best fried chicken and waffles you can get in the state. On my first day here at Weekly Alibi, I got an email with a small press release mentioning the official opening of Nexus Blue Smokehouse, and my excitement couldn’t be contained.
The first thing that stood out about Nexus Blue Smokehouse was its location: 1511 Broadway Blvd SE. Over off Avenida Cesar Chavez, it was not the normal location for a new restaurant. Ultimately, I feel like this is a good thing, as we’ve watched development happening all over the city for all these well-established places and bringing new flavor and attention to the Barelas/South Valley area isn’t a bad thing. But, if you don’t have to travel far to get to it, can it really be all that good?
Walking in, you immediately notice a few things. First off, the whole place is impeccably clean and new. The renovation work that went into this location is fantastic. Second, the smell hits you right as the door opens. The smokers in the back give this beautiful scent of proper barbecue smokiness to the whole building. With a huge menu to choose from and wide array of sauces, it’s hard to even pick where to start.
In the end, I went with a beer flight, a pulled pork sandwich with sweet sauce, a brisket sandwich with the house barbeque sauce, mac and cheese, and a peach-cherry cobbler. For beers, I grabbed an Imperial Cream Ale, Honey Chamomile Wheat, Chocolate Porter and Red Ale. All four beers carried a different palate with a great finish, and while I’d love to go into detail about each one, I’d much rather get into the so-called meat of this article, specifically talking about the meat. Just know that no matter which beer you grab, you’re not going to be dissatisfied with it.
Let’s start with the pulled pork sandwich, which was served on a sesame seed bun and came with pickles and onions. The first thing I noticed was the brilliant color of the pulled pork. It’s a fiery red and stands out on the plate. My goal was to try a little bit of everything I could, give it a few bites and take the rest home for later. This turned out to be an impossible task, because inevitably, I ate every single thing on the plate. The pork is moist, tender, flavorful and cooked to perfection. The brilliant red came from spices that gave it enough of a kick to stand out, without leaving you sweating. Add to that the house barbeque sauce, and you have something that is an unexpected level of quality you don’t often find in barbeque. This is comfort food to its core, and there’s no fear of being too bold.
With one whole sandwich down and three more plates to go, I jumped into the mac and cheese. This is a multi-cheese gooey delight, with a little crispiness on top and long heavy noodles that soak up all this cheesy goodness, packing a ton of flavor into every bite. I found myself scraping the bottom of the dish to get all the leftover stragglers, because the idea of tossing even half a bite of this away seemed like heresy.
Two down, two to go, and the brisket sandwich was the obvious next choice. Served the same way as the pulled pork sandwich, I immediately noticed the thick lines of juicy fat sticking out. The brisket is cooked fantastically with an even distribution of flavor throughout the meat. There wasn’t a single bite that wasn’t as good as the one before it. Add on the sweet sauce, and the level of delicious-ness explodes to the next stage, definitely my favorite of the two.
Finally, what barbeque meal would be complete without dessert? The peach-cherry cobbler was this hot-melty combination of sweet and chewy, every bite packed with warm fruity mixture and soft breading. The filling glistened in the sunlight, as if it were some holy grail to quest after, this final piece to what had already been an exceptional meal. I had reached my upper limit of fullness about two bites into the pulled pork, but I ventured forward, driven by the desire to not let a single bite of this go to waste.
You absolutely 100 percent have to check this place out. With indoor and outdoor seating and the amazing weather we’re having, plus a massive section in the back that will be renovated to include a stage and a bar, there’s a lot of exciting things coming for Nexus Blue Smokehouse. Good barbeque is easy, but great barbeque proves a far rarer find.
1511 Broadway Blvd SE
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-8:30pm
Vibe: Relaxed, authentic barbeque
Alibi Recommends: pulled pork sandwich, mac and cheese, chocolate porter