Monday, October 5, 2009

NYC-Hill Country

First night in New York, and we go to a Texas BBQ. Go figure. But, by golly, I’m glad we did. Hill Country is a little taste of Texas in the big apple. The best taste of Texas that I can remember having, and I know this is going to sound dismal, was at my grandmother’s funeral. She passed away in Ruidoso, New Mexico, which is right on the border of Texas. All of the members her church brought food to the memorial service because what’s better to do when you’re mourning but eat. Food heals pain. And this shit was the real deal, from granny’s kitchen. Hill Country was by far the best BBQ that I have had since then.

The restaurant is huge; two stories with the lower one having a stage for live music they host every night of the week, and the upper story housing the enormous smokers and the over-the-counter service stations. First mission, choose the meat. I had to go with the brisket. They had 2 different types of brisket; lean and moist. We decided to go with the moist per the butcher’s recommendation. I inquired about the lean, and so he went ahead and threw a hunk of the lean meat on the butcher paper gratis. The BBQ chicken wings were on special, so we added couple of those on the platter as well. Next choice, the sides. Now this was a toughie. There’s nothin’ I like better than some down home sides. I was tempted to ask them if I could have a Dixie cup of each side just to try, but I figured that was a little over the top. We turned down the chipotle deviled eggs, skillet cornbread, and sweet potato bourbon mash with reluctance, but happily decided to take the longhorn mac and cheese, campfire baked beans with burnt edges, and the green bean casserole with durkee onions (you know, those crunchy, fried onions…yummy). Toss on a side of pickles and jalapeños, and we were ready to roll.

We took a seat downstairs to watch the honky-tonkalicious band, ordered a bucket of PBR’s, and then it was time to feast. I started with the moist brisket, which was smoked to such perfection that the delicate meat was easily torn to a bite-sized piece. The smoky, oaky flavor went through a revolution on my taste buds, and finally releasing a peppery-kick from the charred edge. Next I went for the lean brisket, which although was more inexpensive than the moist, I thought the dry meat added even more complexity to the smoky flavor, really bring out the hints of the Texas post oak which Hill Country uses to smoke all of their meats. I reached for a chicken wing with very low expectations only because I am not a huge fan of chicken wings. Damn, these babies were good, and it was all about the BBQ sauce. The wings were saturated in a sweet, smoky sauce that had an intense spicy bite to the after taste. We also found some of this legendary sauce on the table, so we were able to squirt and dunk as we pleased with the rest of the meat. The baked beans also held that smoky flavor that made them really taste like they were cooked over a campfire. The green beans for the casserole were in thick, fresh chunks, and my only complaint of the whole meal was that there weren’t enough of the crunchy durkee onions. And finally, the mac and cheese, a southern necessity. The longhorn cheddar was sharp and superfluous, making it difficult to share the small portion with my friends. The meal was tantalizing, and surely tickled my fancy to go and visit the real deal in grandma’s old stomping grounds. Unfortunately, we had no more space in our bellies to try the hot apple cobbler or the ancho chili cherry brownies. Guess I’ll just have to go back to NYC to get some more!!!

1 comment:

Gregory said...

Was the brisket as good as your brother's? I would have selected the sweet potato mash. That sounded yummy.