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Hill Country's been smoking up Central Texas-style BBQ since 2007, and we're still blown away by their tender slices of brisket and sides. Portions here are immense, and wonderfully so; Hill Country is dedicated to feeding you as much food as you can possibly stuff in your gullet, and that's the way a meal here is meant to be enjoyed. Try the aforementioned brisket, which comes "moist" (a.k.a., fatty) for $23.50/pound, or lean for two bucks less—but get the moist, because if you're going to do it, then goddamn do it, amirite? For sides, opt for the stellar, creamy mac 'n cheese ($5.75-$21) and sweet cornbread with ancho honey butter ($3.50), and wash your meal down with a glass of Sweet Tea served in a 16 ounce Mason Jar ($3.50). Hill Country also hosts an all-you-can-eat night on Mondays for carnivores who think they can handle epic amounts of grub; $27 will get you five hours of feasting, heart monitor not included.
However Texas-meets-Disneyland the place might be, this bi-level ode to the Lone Star State (and specifically, the Kreuz Market in Lockhart, Texas) displays its serious barbecue chops when it's doling out thick wedges of fatty brisket and plump sausages imported from the very market that inspired the space. Load up on meat and sides like corn pudding and black-eyed peas and head to the downstairs bar where you're likely to find a live performance. Past acts have included Tom Colicchio and Joe Bastianich, who tugged at both heartstrings and guitar strings to celebrate the launch of an "industry night" special a few years ago.
You have to "schlep your own food to the table" at this Flatiron roadhouse, but fans endure "long" counter lines for "bold", "Lone Star state"–worthy BBQ and "real-deal" sides; though the "cavernous", bi-level setting can get "raucous", that's because it's so popular.
The world capital of barbecue—as a region, not a city—is arguably Texas Hill Country, an area so committed to smoky excellence that many of its adherents refuse to use even sauce or seasoning. Hill Country, the restaurant, is a prettified homage to that region, and its food is not unworthy of comparison to the Lone Star originals. Among the sacred offerings are succulent brisket, meaty spare ribs and straight-from-the-source Kruez sausage. As in Texas, the meat is ordered at a counter by the pound and served on butcher paper; from there it’s communal tables, so this is not the place for a romantic date.
Texpats can find a little piece of home in the smoky warmth of this behemoth, bi-level Chelsea honky-tonk, opened in 2007. Meticulously modeled after Lockhart, Texas’s legendary Kreuz Market—Kreuz patriarch Rick Schmidt personally christened Hill’s pit with a half-burnt log from his own smoker—the 10,000-square-foot Lone Star oasis pours Shiner beer, scoops Blue Bell ice cream, plays rootsy, two-step tunes and, most importantly, slices up some killer beef. Meal ticket in hand, herd near the upstairs counter for “moist brisket” ($23/lb), an indulgently fatty mix of deckle and tip smoked for 12 hours over Texan post oak. A slab of beef shoulder ($23.50/lb) comes as juicy and rosy-rare as good roast beef, ringed with a charred salt-and-pepper crust. Alongside homestyle sides like bourbon-spiked sweet potato mash ($4.75) and vinegary, crisp cucumber salad ($3.95), meats are doled out in butcher-paper bundles that soon moisten with dripping fat—the paper-towel rolls plopped at each picnic table come into good use, if you can resist licking your fingers first.
Open Daily at NOON
Sunday - Wednesday: Kitchen closes at 10pm
Thursday- Kitchen closes at 11pm
Friday & Saturday- Kitchen closes at 12am
Late Night Menu until 1am
Hill Country Bar is open until 2am
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