BBQ at Hill Country in NYC!

I love BBQ. I kind of miss it sometimes: the smokiness, the smell and the delicious taste of the meat.  Yes, I wrote meat and not fish as for me BBQ is all about meat! Although fish on a BBQ is not bad...I remember one time going to a shack in France for Mother's Day where you first catch a trout that would be cleaned by the owner and then grilled on...a barbecue! That was very good.
What is interesting is that BBQ differs by country. What we call BBQ in France is in fact grilling in the US: grilling would refer to fast cooking over high heat, while barbecuing refers to slow cooking over indirect heat and / or hot smoke. From what I understand, especially after seeing the last Top Chef episode, Texas is the land of BBQ: you do not need to tell me more to think about going there...

In New York City, there are plenty of BBQ joints. This time, I went to Hill Country. I guess the decor is supposed to render the atmosphere of a typical texan BBQ restaurant with wood everywhere and a big Lone Star that you cannot miss when you enter. The way it works is unusual: they give you a meal ticket that will be stamped (stickered would not be better if ever this word existed) at the stations (one for the meat, one for the sides and one for the drinks and desserts). Once you finish eating, you go to the cashier, present your menu cards and pay accordingly.

The menu offers all the items meat lovers would like: beef, pork, chicken, in the form of ribs / prime ribs, chops or sausages. The selection of sides is mouth watering: Cheddar Mac & Cheese, corn pudding, baked beans, chili, deviled eggs...
The meal ticket offers combos at reasonable prices that can fulfill any appetite. I went for the pitmaster: 1/4 lb Lean Brisket, One Pork Spare Rib, One Beef Rib, Quarter All Natural Chicken and two sides. For the sides, we chose: Cheddar Mac & Cheese, White Shoepeg corn pudding, green beans casserole with Durkee onions and smokey chipotle deviled eggs. Let's talk about these items:
The meat:

  • The way it was presented was very rustic: they put 4 slices of white bread on brown paper and then disposed the meat on top of it. I guess this is a Texan way: Texas toast. The packaging was like a little gift that you have to unwrap slowly, to discover some amazing pieces of meat. 
  • In term of taste, I loved the chicken: it was well cooked and moist. The brisket was good but a bit dry: I had to put some BBQ sauce that was on the table to eliminate the dryness. The beef rib was good but a bit tough: I was expecting the meat to fall off the bone. Then I got the pork rib: it was so salty!
The sides:

  • My favorites were the Mac & Cheese and the corn pudding. The cheese in the Mac & Cheese did not taste like processed cheese and it was pretty good, not dry. Then the corn pudding was a nice addition where you could taste, but not too much, the sweetness of the corn.
  • Then, I did not like the green bean casserole (bland) and the deviled eggs (off taste for me although I love mayonnaise). Bad choice on our part.
I was a bit disappointed by the experience, especially as I heard good things about it. Was it an off day? I do not know. Considering the number of BBQ places in New York City, I will try somewhere else next time...

Enjoy (I did not really)!

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