Good BBQ in NYC? A Review of Hill Country BBQ
From what I have heard, “southern” restaurants are popping up all over Manhattan. I spend a good bit of time up there for business, but have only had one opportunity to try one. I have been to Maysville on 26th (maybe because it’s also a bourbon bar . . .) and had their crispy grits (very good) and Carolina Gold Rice Balls (not good), but have not been able to hit a bbq restaurant yet. Then one day while channel flipping I came across Burgers, Brew & ‘Que on Food Network. They just happened to be doing a special on Manhattan, so I settled in to find the BBQ joint that I would visit first.
First of all, I am glad I watched the episode. They started at a restaurant called The Little Owl in Greenwich Village for their meatball sliders. I have actually been there and had those sliders – they are incredible! Next on the review was Hill Country BBQ – here we go!! There are 3 locations: one in DC, one in Brooklyn, and one in Manhattan on 26th street. 26th Street!?!?! I had seen that place! Right down the street from Maysville! Marc Glosserman is the founder – his grandfather was mayor of Lockhart (see Old Smoke’s post from a couple of weeks ago by clicking here), and his favorite memories of visiting his family were of eating at Kreuz Market (yep – the same one Old Smoke reviewed). So he has brought the taste of Texas to the city, and I couldn’t wait to try it.
The place had a really cool setup. When you walk in the door a bar lines the entire right side of the restaurant. On the left is a little store where they sell t-shirts and whatnot, and straight ahead was a halo of holiness shining down on 2 food stations: a BBQ/sausage station and a sides station. I stood in line at the BBQ/sausage station where you buy your meat by the pound. I ordered some brisket, ribs, and asked the carver for his thoughts on the third meat – he gave me some smoked turkey to try and I was sold. I then went to the sides station and ordered some dirty rice and cornbread.
The moist brisket was divine (you can also choose lean – not sure why you would . . .)! Great, subtle smoke flavor (they use post oak), cooked perfectly and sliced just right. I turned my attention to the ribs – was the holy grail in NYC? Not bad, but not the best I’ve had. It, too, had great flavor and was very juicy, but I had to work a little too had to get all of the meat off the bone. The turkey was outstanding, though. So moist, amazing flavor, and just overall fantastic. The rice was really pretty bad, but the cornbread was incredible. So 3 of the 5 things I ordered were great, 1 was pretty good and 1 was forgettable. Overall, 4 cleavers because I think I just ordered wrong getting the rice. Looking back, my plate was pretty brown, wasn’t it????
To round out the episode of Burgers, Brew & ‘Que, they went to Burger & Barrel in Soho. Secret – chef Josh Capon puts mustard on one side of the meat patty before cooking it, and he only offers American cheese. 3 weeks ago I made this a stop with my parents when they came up to see me, and the burgers were really, really good. Certainly up there with the best burger I have ever had.