Hill Country Barbecue Review: Gnawing on ribs at Hill Country
Barbecue. The word is kind of like the word, ‘foodie’, or like any other word really. Growing up barbecue just meant cooking outside in your backyard, because you know, outside of New York City, people have backyards. For those of you not familiar with the concept, it’s twofolds. A. you have a door in the back of your home that exits outside. B. upon exiting outside, you’re greeted with grass. No euphanisms here, just the green stuff you see in parks and stuff. For most of the U.S., grass exists not just in parks. If you’re into the food scene though, barbecue probably means the stuff that’s smoked and outdoor grilling is what the rest of America calls barbecue. Unfortunately, I’m too lazy to differentiate. Maybe proprietors of Hill Country would find that offensive to lump backyard bbq with brisket that’s smoked for hours and hours… well, I don’t give a damn. It’s like how food lovers hate the word ‘foodie’ and then normal folks regard food lovers as ‘foodies’. I like all BBQ though, and the ones at Hill Country is delicious.
If you haven’t been to Hill Country, the cool thing about this place is that they sell everything by the pound. They’re kind of expensive, but since they sell it by the pound, you can sample a variety of things without breaking your budget. For example if you don’t know whether you’d like lean or moist brisket, you could get a slice of each, go back to your table, sample them, and then go back for more. Where as in other restaurants, usually if you order a plate of brisket, it’s going to be a lot of brisket and it’ll be over $20 dollars here in NYC. They have all sorts of stuff too from beer can game hen to pork spare ribs to brisket. There’s also a fairly robust offering of sides, although I feel like at a bbq restaurant, I just want to eat meat.
We tried a sausage, both kinds of briskets, and some beef rib. The sausage was fantabulous. It was juicy and satisfying. It’s from Kreuz Market and on their website the sausage is $1.50. At Hill Country it’s $6. Ah… sometimes you just gotta love NYC. The benefit is that I don’t have to live in Texas to experience these tubular wonders, but damn yo… the price!
Steph and I also tried both types of brisket. They have lean and moist, with the latter being a couple of dollars more per pound. I venture to guess this is because moist taste better than the lean, so it’s in higher demand. The lean brisket is fine and all, and at most places that’s probably the kind of brisket you would get. But yo… just get the moist. You’ll be doing yourself a favor there.
We also gave the beef rib a shot. It’s a fun bone one which to gnaw. The meat is not as tender as the brisket and for some areas, you have to tug hard to pull the meat off of the bone. It’s ok though, it’s an enjoyable treat to round off your meal. Once I had the beef rib at Wildwood BBQ and their beef rib is meatier and more filling. But for entertainment purposes, I like the big beef bone you get at Hill Country as well. Just make sure you fill up on other types of meats first.
I like this type of barbecue, you know where you smoke the meat. Critics like to say you can’t find true bbq here in New York or that the stuff here doesn’t measure up to what you can get in specific regions of the U.S. But seriously, the food is alright. What you get in other parts of the country is probably insane prices. For example those sausages that are 25% of the price. So imagine a pound of brisket for around a quarter of the price… yea, that’s what we’re missing in New York. The older I get, the more I wonder about the sustainability of living in the five boroughs. Sure, there’s folks definitely less well off than I, but there’s also plenty of folks living in the burbs, with a backyard, and a grill on which they can ‘barbecue’. Sometimes I’m not sure if the other kind of barbecue signifies better food through the fact that it would signify a more comfortable life. A more affordable life.
Hill Country Barbecue30 W 26th St.New York, NY 10010212-255-4544
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