Hill Country: Most overrated BBQ in NYC
Utterly disappointed is the best way to describe my experience with this 26th St. "Authentic" BBQ place last night. Granted it was a Saturday night around 9pm, but I don't think that's a fair reason to have run out of half of the items on your menu. Nor do I think the fact that the Texas Longhorns played a big game to be a valid reason either.
We had the pork ribs which I admit were very tender and tasty. The "Moist Brisket" was horrible. Seriously, I'd rather gnaw on shoe leather for ten minutes than try to choke down another serving of this meat. My wife said it was only because it wasn't sliced thin enough. I don't buy it.
On top of that, the setup of the place, while maybe perfectly suited for Texans, was annoying to say the least. Waiting on line for food, waiting on line to pay, picking up one order here, one over there, sides at this counter, drinks at that, etc. was enough to drive the most patient diners nuts.
If you want to wait in line for 25-30 minutes to eat overpriced, chewy beef BBQ, Hill Country will be perfect for you. Personally, I'd rather fight off elbows from the frat boys at Brother Jimmy's than deal with this place again.
The debates can go on and on about BBQ in N.Y.C. or elsewhere for that matter...but I respectfully disagree with you regarding Hill Country. I find it one of the better bbq options...all the meats we tried, the ribs, the spicy smoked sausage, even the sides were quite tasty. As for the layout, if you travel to Texas and surrounding BBQ territories many of more authentic 'joints' sort of serve in the 'cafeteria' style.
I would go back...
I've been there 4 or 5 times. I agree that it does not live up to the hype. The food just isn't that good.
However, I do have to wonder whether you had to wait so long because it was a busy Saturday night. I've never waited more than about 5 - 10 minutes (including on the weekend).
I must agree, the food is pretty bad. I'll give props to the chicken, the beef ribs, and the lean brisket. I've had the pork ribs, the moist brisket, and the mac & cheese a few times, all very disappointing. Probably the mac and cheese the most - zero flavor. However - it's good drunk/latenight food, for sure - doesn't really matter what kind of meat/sides you're having at that point. But as a destination, definitely less-than-impressive.
The original hype around Hill Country was due almost entirerly to their original pit master- Bobby Richter. Bobby is an award winning pit master and one of the only New Yorkers to have ever been invited to participate in the Jack Daniels BBQ competition- an invitation only competition considered the top compeitive BBQ eventi n the country. I'd eaten Bobby's que fir years at BBQNYC and other events and it about as good as you could ever wish for. When Bobby left Hill Country the que quickly went downhill and has never been the same quaklity. (Bobby is working on an asian BBQ place in Brooklyn with Zak ? Pellaccio- the fatty crab guy)