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Blue Smoke, Hill Country, or Hog Pit? Umm, or Redhead?

One night in the Big Bad City still needs to be filled with culinary delights...

At this point, it's a tie between the above mentioned locales. I realize Redhead is NOT a cue place, but the menu looks nice.

Thoughts and opinions, NYC'howers?

TIA, and always ready to return the favor should you visit Berlin some time!

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  1. You can take the Hog Pit right off the list the food is completely unremarkable at least it was at the old location and I haven't heard any different about the new location.

    I've never eaten at Blue Smoke. The idea of an haute BBQ place always struck me as odd. The juicy brisket and Kreuz sausage at Hill Country is good. It might be interesting for you to taste how German sausage translates when it prepared in Texas (where Hill Country gets their sausage) and smoked.

    I like the Redhead but unless you get there early expect a long and crowded wait.

    1. If you're searching for BBQ I personally like RUB more than Hill Country since the , lamented departure of pit master Bobby Richter. (Yes, I know he's about to open a place in B"Burg).

      5 Replies
      1. re: Ann900

        Thanks, Ann, that is good to know. I'll check out their menu!

          1. re: KTinNYC

            The website doesn't list prices -- can I assume that it is cheaper than Blue Smoke, too?

            That would be the deciding factor, I think.

            1. re: linguafood

              It is cheaper but Blue Smoke has undoubtedly better atmosphere and service.

              1. re: linguafood

                Yes, it's cheaper than Blue Smoke- if memory serves me correctly it's about on par with Hill Country.

        1. Most would recommend you to skip the BBQ in the city. I've heard ok things about Hill Country and Blue Smoke I have been to and would say it is ok but nothing to write home about.

          1 Reply
          1. re: StrongIsland

            This is nonsense. I'm in Memphis pretty often for the past year and the top places in NYC would do fine there, aside from the prices.

          2. The sides at Hill Country are disgusting. If the sides are important to you at all then Hill Country is not for you. Hill Country is about the brisket.

            Rub and Blue Smoke are much more well rounded. Blue Smoke is more upscale but the barbecue is on par. If ambiance is a factor then choose Blue Smoke. If not, then RUB because it is cheaper.

            1. Depends what you are looking for. I think RUB has the best pulled pork in the city. I go to Blue Smoke for either the burger or beef ribs and rarely order anything else there. I dont love the sides at RUB but am a fan of the fry bread and mac and cheese at Blue Smoke. Price may be slightly cheaper at RUB by a few dollars. RUB is much more casual. Never been enamored with Hill Country.

              1. We are regulars @ Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard downstairs if you want some great music with your BBQ. Have not been to the other places you mention.

                1. My favorite BBQ joint for ribs (and wings) is Dinosaur BBQ, followed by RUB (admittedly I haven't been there in awhile). Hill Country doesn't do sides well, but the fatty beef brisket is quite good there.

                  I am a huge fan of the Redhead, food is very good and I like the vibe.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: boccalupo

                    So is it recommended to make a rez at Redhead? It's either that or RUB, Dinosaur's too much of a haul.

                    1. re: linguafood

                      no reservations at Redhead unless you are more than 5 and eat early (before 6 i think).

                  2. RUB is wonderful, wings pastrami are great.
                    Simple but nice storefront.
                    Blue Smoke is a real restaurant, their burgers are larger versions of the shake shack, cant go wrong with either.
                    Blue Smoke much, much larger menu and a dining place.
                    RUB is an eating place.
                    Split the difference, go to RUB for lunch and Blue Smoke for dinner.
                    Enjoy and send the leftovers to me if there are any, I am broke but hungry.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: foodismylife

                      Ha. Sorry, but all my lunches are basically planned, and none of them will have leftovers, trust me (Oyster Bar, Yasuda, some dim sum place tbd).

                      But I think in the end we've decided on Redhead.

                      1. re: foodismylife

                        I really miss those smoked wings from RUB. Onion strings are also delicious.

                      2. RUB is the best choice. Price wise it's a little cheaper but not by much, so don't let that be the deciding factor. I'll also warn that the noise level can be unbearable. Still, the pulled pork, and brisket are pretty great, and the sides are top notch.

                        Hill County's side are indeed awful, but I really liked their ribs, even more so than their brisket.

                        Redhead's food is overhyped, to put it nicely, but I agree, the menu is a great read.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: sugartoof

                          So what are you saying re: Redhead? How "overhyped" is the food? I ask b/c the buffalo-style sweetbreads and the buttermilk fried chicken caught my eye in particular.

                          Since it's not on the cheap-ish side, I'd like to avoid total disappointments; spending enough moolah as it is the other days...

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I am a big Redhead fan, but I do not think that fried chicken is the best thing they do there. That dish is probably "overhyped." Maybe that is due to the lack of quality friend chicken in Manhattan. Blue Ribbon and Rack and Soul are often mentioned for their fried chicken, but I haven't tried either place.

                            I do like several of their apps, their shrimp and grits, their specials and the free cookies that come with the check. Good cocktails and beer on tap as well.

                            Was recently their for Mardi Gras, and they had some nice N'awlins influenced specials and cocktails that night.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              I'd skip it. I have friends who really like the place, and I was really excited to try it based on the reviews, but the fried chicken in particular just wasn't cooked well. It tasted of old grease, and the texture of the bird itself was off, but based on the spicing, and style of batter, I can't imagine getting excited over this even on a good day. My dining companion had similar complaints with the burger which was served on a bun that was literally cold. Not room temp, but cold. None of the dishes arrived with the biscuit that so many reviews rave about, and the bacon brittle was ok, but it didn't save the meal, or make me want to take a jar home.

                              I get the feeling they have a die hard following from the neighborhood (so did another mediocre Southern influenced place which is now long gone, called Old Devil Moon) but there's much better options. It's not a destination restaurant in my opinion.

                              1. re: sugartoof

                                OK. How about a suggestion for a nice diner/bar type o place in the EV that won't break the bank? Good beer on tap a plus.

                                  1. re: boccalupo

                                    OK, the menu doesn't rock my world, but maybe I'm missing some glorious dish that you are particularly fond of? Such as .... please, I needs to know!

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      I don't have the menu in front of me. Slow cooked pork is very good. Nice fresh oysters on Thursdays. The sausages and charcuterie are excellent. They try to use fresh local foods as much as possible. Nice beer list.

                                  2. re: linguafood

                                    Back Forty (Fried Chicken, and a similar menu to Redhead)
                                    Momofuko Noodle Bar is doing a fried chicken dinner
                                    Northern Spy Food Co.
                                    Jimmy's 43 is good for the beers.
                                    Ukranian Home is a bargain, and has beer.
                                    Lots of Ramen choices.
                                    Motorino for pizza (not a bargain)
                                    Cacio E Vino
                                    The Smith
                                    Caracas Arepa bar

                                    1. re: sugartoof

                                      Hey, meant to thank you for all the suggestions (not that I've gone yet, but still). We're probably gonna give Back Forty a shot. And I promise to report back. Cheers, lingua.

                            2. Hill Country all the way. Blue Smoke is good but Hill Country is my favorite BBQ restaurant in Manhattan by far. Their pork ribs are fantastic

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: alessandroacq

                                and if it is for a real big night, go with their monday night AYCE special.

                              2. Had dinner tonight at Hill Country for the first time.

                                I've been to the Lockhart, TX barbecues that Hill Country states it is based on (including Kreitz Market, where they buy their links). I believe we hit six or seven places in one day -- it was fantastic and it nearly killed me. (Thank goodness for the lemon meringue pie "palate cleaner" that we had between restaurants five and six...)

                                Debating barbecue is like debating religious or politics and it can get ugly fast. I can only tell you that:

                                A) I thought the barbecue at Hill County was fine

                                B) I did not find the side dishes objectionable, and

                                C) For the price of three dinners at Hill Country you can fly from NYC to San Antonio, rent a car, drive the hundred miles or so to Lockhart, and have barbecue at several different places that would make most barbecue afficionados weep and make any NYC pitmaster hang their head.