I caught a wiff of wood smoke while I was still more than a block away, and my mouth began to water. You see, I’ve never eaten BBQ in Texas so this opportunity to eat at Hill Country BBQ in New York City was as close as I’ve been.
When work took me to the city, I began to scout for one of the BBQ joints that have sprung up there that I’ve read about. Then, I realized that Hill Country BBQ was only a dozen or so blocks from where I was staying. Immediately, I began to plot a night to myself when I could make the walk for dinner.
Hill Country BBQ is a tribute to the central Texas markets that began serving BBQ over the counter, by the pound, wrapped in butcher paper, and served with saltine crackers. Just like those markets turned BBQ joints, Hill Country serves the BBQ the same way; over the counter and by the pound.
The meat counter at Hill Country BBQ
The menu consisted not only of beef, but also pork, chicken, and sausage from Kreuz Market in Texas. At Hill Country, you order your meat at the counter and specify the amount (by weight) that you’d like or in the case of ribs, how many bones. I opted for 1/3 lb. of lean brisket (that’s cut from the brisket flat, but you can also order “moist” brisket cut from the point) and a single pork rib. They cut the meat, weighed it on a butcher scale, wrapped it in brown butcher paper, and handed it over with a half sleeve of saltines.
Then, I headed over to the counter where they served sides. Sweet Potato Bourbon Mashed caught my eye so I ordered that and a side of green bean casserole. The server was at my table when I got there and my order was complete with a glass of sweet tea.
I’ll cut to the chase and say that the food was excellent. In fact, this is probably the best brisket (from a restaurant anyway) that I’ve eaten. The pork rib was pretty good. A little tougher than I expected but it had a great flavor. And the sides? Fuggetaboutit! I could go back and just eat side items. The sweet potato dish was amazing, and I loved the comfort food style green beans. There were plenty of other sides as well as desserts, but frankly I can’t eat that much.
Really, the only negative comment I have about my experience at Hill Country BBQ is the cost. I mean, I know I was eating in New York City, but brisket at $26/lb? That seems excessive. While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience, my dinner (for only me) was ~$39. That’s with nothing from the bar or dessert.
So here’s how I’d rate Hill Country BBQ:
- BBQ – A
- Side Dishes – A
- Atmosphere – A
- Value – C
- Service – A
- Overall – A-
No doubt about it, this is one of the best BBQ joints I’ve eaten at. Frankly, I didnt’ expect that to be the case. If you get to New York, here’s where you can find Hill Country BBQ:
30 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10010
They also have locations in Brooklyn and Washington, DC.