Hillcountry – 03.04.10

Hill Country BBQ
30 West 26th St.
hillcountryny.com

Has the search for authentic BBQ left you restless as a hen on a hot griddle?  Then mosey on over to Hillcountry BBQ conveniently located near New York’s Flatiron district.  Hillcountry has authentic Texas style bbq from the Hill Country of Texas, which I know nothing about.  However, for an escape from the concrete jungle of the NYC, Hillcountry delivers with a homestyle country experience.

Even though it’s supposed to be a laid-back Texas style mess hall, the admission was surprisingly strict, velvet rope and all.  This is because the food service is buffet style with a card for every patron that is marked every time you pick up food.  Imagine a Texan Dim Sum, if that makes sense.  Instead of chicken feet and shrimp shumai, you have monstrous cuts of beef and pork.  There are two lines and during dinner and the main chow line gets long.  Every order is hand prepared with nothing pre-cut ahead of time.  It’s also a good sign when prices are listed by the pound.


The Pit Master Combo


Hearty Sides

The pit master combo: a pork rib, beef rib, lean brisket, and quarter bbq chicken with 2 sides may not look like a lot in the picture but it is very filling.  The beef rib is very juicy (fatty) with little sauce to let the beef taste come through.  It’s cooked well but I prefer the pork rib.  It has the right balance of meat and fat and the flavor is porky but not overpowering.  These ribs are Texas style so it is well smoked with all meat flavor; unlike sweeter Tennessee style ‘que.  The lean brisket was okay but don’t let it get cold as it will taste drier.  The moist brisket is indeed juicier and is worth the extra cost.  Finally, the bbq chicken is surprisingly juicy and nicely slathered with a baked on bbq sauce.  Make sure to opt for the dark meat.  The bourbon sweet potato mash, mac & cheese, and corn pudding sticks to your ribs.  They are very filling and has that home made taste.  Don’t mess with Texas and don’t mess with these rich sides.

Some notable observations:  ceiling high stack of hardwood in the corner, giant car sized smoker doors, hand-washing station with foot pedal IN the dining room, large downstairs with additional bar and stage.

Good
The moist brisket, bbq chicken, and any of the sides
There are food & drink specials almost every night

Bad
I doubt anything is vegetarian friendly, not even the sides. (some would consider this a Good)

Ugly
After a few PBRs and the pit master combo, you won’t be ready to lasso a calf, let alone move.

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