Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hill Country, NYC

Every year, Sheila and I travel into New York City in December to kind of fire up the Christmas spirit. For me, NYC has a way of taking things and energizing them, and we have really come to enjoy our December getaway.

Last year, we tried Daisy May's BBQ during our December journey, so this year's dining choice was a no brainer. Hill Country. I was really bummed that the Brethren Bash at Hill Country last month took place while we were on vacation in California. So this was an easy decision.

We arrived at around 3PM. When you arrive they explain the market style ordering process to the rookies like us. You come in and go to the barbecue and sausage counter and order.
Then you go to another counter and order sides. At your table the waitress takes your order for drinks.

In order to get a good sampling, I ordered a bunch of meats. I got some pork ribs, one beef rib, some moist brisket and a jalapeno and cheese sausage. You bring a ticket up to the counter, they put the price sticker on it, then they give you your meats on butcher paper.

The brisket is carved to order, as are the ribs.

Now, I can see why some people could find this type of system a little confusing. But I found it easy to navigate, and a refreshing change from the restaurant norm. It helped that the staff were all very friendly.
I thought the moist brisket was fantastic. Sorry about the bad picture.

But my favorite was the pork ribs. They also offer lean brisket, which I did not try. They were spares, very tender and flavorful. We didn't use sauce on anything.

The sausage was fantastic, but I only took a couple of bites and brought the rest home.

The beef ribs were ok. I only got one and it didn't have much meat on it. Still tasted good. Beef rib below.

As a bonus, we were able to get a tour of the kitchen and check out the smoker area. They have three huge Ole Hickory smokers, each of which operate at different temperatures for different meats. The smokers are situated right behind the meat market counter, basicly the centerpiece of the place. Here are a few pictures from the smokers.

I even go to sign one of the smokers. I didn't make it on the celebrity wall but I did get a nice spot on the pitmaster side.

As we were wrapping up our tour, pitmaster Robbie Richter arrived for the evening.

It was good to see him again. We met at the Hudson Valley Ribfest in 2006, when the restaurant was still in its formulative stages. We had a long conversation as we were packing up after the event.

We had a great visit to Hill Country, and I cannot wait to bring my Texas sized appetite back to Hill Country for some awesome BBQ, Texas style.


Backyard Chef said...

Nice review, Ted! Glad you enjoyed the food.

Robbie is a great guy and a true pit artist....

Hope you'll come down and visit when my new place, Wildwood BBQ opens in the spring...


Ted Lorson said...

Hey Matt,

I can't wait until your place opens up. I've been following the progress in your blog and others, and am holding out hope of being invited to the grand opening!