Blues BBQ – South Charleston, WV
West Virginia is at such a weird latitude when it comes to food. The southern part of the state has, well, southern food, but the northern oddity – kraut and weiners can be found on menus, too. Pepperoni rolls are a specialty of the Fairmont and Clarksburg areas along with lots of Italian restaurants. You can find good crab cakes in the eastern panhandle, and you might as well be in Pittsburgh if you are in any county north of Wheeling. That leaves Charleston in some culinary void. Charleston is not southern enough to have a BBQ tradition of its own like South Carolina, Tenneessee, and Texas. What we do have is Blues BBQ on Jefferson Road in South Charleston. (Ownership Info – Blues BBQ sold their downtown location to a family member who is running it as O’Kay’s, but that is a different review.)
Blues BBQ has a loyal following and it is popular with several running buddies of mine. I would eat there more often, but I married a vegetarian so it’s not in the family’s rotation, dooh! Blues could be called a “BBQ Joint” since it is so small. It has five booths, a six top and a counter. The decor is mostly muscian and movie posters from the Jimmy Hendrix era. Saying that this place is broken in is an understatement. It is clean, but could stand a fresh coat of paint and some new fixtures.
The menu is simple. If a BBQ joint has more than 10 entrees don’t expect great food. Making good pulled pork and ribs takes time, and that doesn’t leave time for other non-BBQ items like veggie burgers. Blues has about several varieties of pulled pork sandwiches. I have tired all their sauces and I prefer the Blues Original. It is sweet and spicy with a thick consistency and I believe it closely resembles a Kansas City BBQ style. The Carolina sauce is a light vinegar-based sauce and it is good if you like that style. They have a Williamsburg style, which I will not describe for fear of misrepresenting it (think molasses). Ribs and burgers round out the menu with some munchies to go with the good selection of bottled beer. One of the signature dinner items is the Jamaican Jerked Chicken. For $8.99 you get a huge portion of chicken and three sides. This chicken is fall off the bone tender and spicy.
The Jamaican Jerked Chicken Sandwich is a new menu item for the Jefferson Road location. It is hand pulled chicken topped with Carolina kraut and pepper jack cheese. It is brow sweatin’ spicy and the kraut is really good. I could take or leave the cheese. I think a yogurt based sauce would go nice to cool the chicken, much like the riata sauce is used in Indian cuisine. This is a big sandwich, but it is a pricey $6.99 with no sides. I added the battered onion rings and baked beans for an addtional $2.59. The onion rings rock! Even if they are frozen. The baked beans are some of the best I’ve ever had. They are rich and thick with pulled pork added for flavor. I washed it all down with a Great Lakes – Dortmunder Gold. Blues has always had a nice selection of microbrews. I was told that they are not carrying the Rouge Dead Guy Ale, becuse the distributor has rasied the price above $10 per six pack. I wish that they had real frosted mugs.
I haven’t had a bad meal here, but since the sandwich is over priced without sides and the dining room needs a coat of paint, I rate Blues BBQ Three Forks.
1109 Jefferson Rd