New Mexico might not be known for its barbecue sauces, but Nexus Blue Smokehouse is aiming to change that.
“We’re trying to put our own New Mexican twist on it,” said Ken Carson, owner of Nexus Blue Smokehouse. “We use a little bit of chile pequin, and our rub is red chile-based. Then we have our red chile barbecue sauce, which is totally original – nobody else has it. We came up with it when we opened Nexus (Brewery), and it’s a combination of just dried chile pods, where we puree them and use kind of a North Carolina-style barbecue and we put the puree and mix it in with the red chile and sugar and everything, and it makes a really different kind of barbecue sauce. Right now, we have three different versions.”
The smokehouse offers a traditional sweet sauce, a mild sauce made with red chile and a sauce that is 100 percent red chile that it has been using on its pulled pork since Nexus Brewery opened eight years ago.
“It’s really kind of unusual. When I was a banker, I was playing around with barbecue sauces, and I really liked the North Carolina style, which is a vinegar-based style where they put peppers in it,” Carson said. “If you look at it, it looks like vinegar, and then you pour it on your food, and I said, ‘What if we combine that with red chile? And how would that work?’ And we did, and it’s turned out to be a really unique barbecue sauce.”
The sides, including the baked beans, also have a special Nexus influence.
“People say that the baked beans are too die for,” Carson said. “One of the twists we have on that is we actually smoke the baked beans. We season them up, then we sauté the onions, and then we throw them in our smoker, and when you taste them they’re really good. They’re unique.”
The smokehouse, which opened last week, is offering ribs, hot links, pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket and sides. It also is adding patron favorites from its mother ship, Nexus Brewery, including chicken and waffles, fish tacos and catfish. Nexus’ staple beers, including its Imperial Cream, Honey Chamomile Wheat, Scottish Ale and India Pale Ale, as well as rotating seasonals, will be on the smokehouse’s eight taps.
The smokehouse is housed in a remodeled former Elks Lodge in the South Broadway area. Nexus Blue has a patio area and a dining area that seats 36.
It was important to Carson to locate the smokehouse in the neighborhood he grew up in and preserve the integrity of the Elks Lodge.
The building is 6,500 square feet, but the smokehouse occupies only 3,500 square feet for now. An expansion will allow for possibly a conference room and catering operation.