NYC Dining Preview: Hill Country NYC BBQ

Hill Country NYC
30 West 26th Street (Between 6th and Broadway)

Click Here for Hi-Res Photos!

Related OTB Post: Click here for Hill Country opening night photos

Hill Country NYC is a restaurant who’s opening I have been anticipating for years. Before it was a restaurant, it was a competition barbecue team, lead by Robbie Richter, a New York City native and host of the successful and much beloved BBQ-NYC event.

Robbie and his partner/primary investor Marc Glosserman have done what many has thought to be impossible — exactly duplicate a real, Lockhart-style Texas barbecue restaurant (see previous OTB post) in the heart of Manhattan. Glosserman has spared absolutely no expense, almost to the point of insane ridiculousnesses, in re-creating a true Texas Hill Country experience, down to the most minute detail — Post Oak from Texas is trucked in for smoker fuel, and even the beers, soft drinks (Big Red! RC! Mexican Coke!) and ice cream (Blue Bell!) are the real deal, all imported from the Lone Star State.

Perhaps one of the most key imports at the restaurant is their use of Kreuz (pronounced KRYTES, rhymes with Kites) Sausage, which is one of the most famous hot link producers and BBQ restaurants in Texas. In fact, I would say that the whole aesthetic of the restaurant looks remarkably similar to Kreuz, with the exception of it being two stories and they can’t legally have open fire pits in the middle of the floor. Other than that, you might as well be on Highway 183, not 26th and Broadway. And the Q? Let’s just say the bar has been raised, and this place hasn’t even opened yet!

There’s an awful lot of photos here and I don’t have the energy tonight to annotate them all, but I’ll get them filled out later. In the meantime, enjoy… I certainly did.

The restaurant’s soft opening also served as a promotional event for a number of Texas Hill Country wines, so some of the dishes here, such as some of the hourderves, may have been served specifically for this event and will not appear on the final menu.

Hill Country NYC opens on Friday, June 8.

Hill Country’s space on 26th Street near Broadway.

A large welded steel 5-pointed star in the entranceway indicates you’re entering the Texas Embassy.

New York has finally gotten its real Texas Barbecue. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more!

The meal ticket. No girls, there is no @#$%^&* vegetarian option!

Capiche? Y’all get it?

Huge piles of corded Texas Post Oak line the back of the dining room, used as smoking wood for the pits.

Upstairs Seating Area

Big Red, THE definitive Texas soft drink, made with real sugar. Coca-Cola from Mexico, also made with sugar, is in the background.

If Big Red or Coke isn’t your speed, there’s always Royal Crown.

Pit Beef pops.

“Texas Caviar”

Meritus, a very nice Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Texas that goes very nice with BBQ. 14.5 percent alcohol, its got a kick like a mule.

This is one of the Texas dessert wines that was offered for tasting.


Brisket pops, nice and smoky.

Brisket close-up.

Red Cabbage Slaw

Downstairs dining room seating

Hill Country’s BBQ sauce. I like that they named it “If you gotta have it” — Texas style Q doesn’t really need sauce, and several places, such as Kreuz, outright refuse to serve it. However, its a good BBQ sauce and its good for using a little bit on the side.

A view of the bar area.

Kreuz Sausage, imported from Lockhart, TX.


Deviled Eggs

Mac and Cheese, which we thought was excellent.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes.

Brownies with Ancho Chili, Dried Cherry, Scharffen-Berger Chocolate

Prosciutto-wrapped Dried Figs.

Bacon Peanut Brittle

Pecan Pies

Blue Bell ice cream, FEDEXed from TX.

Me and Gourmet editor Sara Moulton

Radishes with Lima Bean spread

Green Bean Casserole. This is the fancy, made from scratch type. No canned soups or veggies here.

BBQ beans, which is decidedly the spicy, savory, non-sweet type.

Owner Marc Glosserman (right)

Marc opening the pits

Hill Country has 3 of these Ole Hickory pits, each of which has a smoking capacity of 1000lbs of meat.

An antique meat bucket

Pitmaster Robbie Richter with “Big Lou” Elrose, his right-hand man.

A whole smoked beef brisket

Pitmaster Robbie Richter

This is a “finishing pit” which is used to hold the BBQ for service.

Executive Sous Chef Richie Caruso, who will be driving the non-BBQ menu and runs the kitchen operations for Hill Country. Rich hails originally from Rosa Mexicano.

62 Responses to NYC Dining Preview: Hill Country NYC BBQ

  1. E.Nassar says:

    Great TX bbq pictures Jason. I love this stuff. A properly smoked brisket is a heavenly thing. I think you mean Blue Bell ice cream not Blue Bonnet though. right? I’ve been living in TX for quiet some time and people here love the stuff and are so proud of it. On the risk of being expelled I’ll say this…it’s ok, not great and overpriced to boot.

  2. Blue Bell, corrected. :)

  3. redbankblues says:

    That place looks amazing!!!!!! I must go!!!! Thanks for the head’s up.

  4. wonders says:

    Do you know what price range they are in ? And if they serve sweet tea? :D

  5. I beleive their prices are competitive with other BBQ places in Manhattan, such as Blue Smoke, R.U.B. and Dinosaur.

    And they most definitely serve SWEET tea. I tried it and and I can vouch for it!

  6. josef says:

    I am from Houston. There should not be sweet tea in a Texas place. That is a southern thing, not a Texas thing…

    As far as Blue Bell ice cream, fond memories of “we eat all we can, and we sell the rest…” Would be better if it were Amy’s but oh well…
    Do they have Shiner Bock and Lone Star?

  7. Josef: They have Lone Star. Shiner Bock has no distribution channel in New York, but the owner is working very hard on becoming that distributor and getting it into the restaurant. There are a number of other things he is working on getting in, such as Dublin Dr. Pepper.

  8. E.Nassar says:

    Yes…Amy’s is THE best ice cream in houston if not in the state. I sure hope you guys get Shiner up there soon. I am still gawking at that BBQ BTW…

  9. Rachel Perlow says:

    re: the Sweet Tea. They don’t have “Sweet Tea” as in Southern Sweet Tea. They have iced tea that is sweetened, but not nearly to the level of “Sweet Tea.”

  10. wonders says:

    Great! It’s so hard to find places that serve good southern sweet tea here, sometimes I just make my own. I can’t wait to try this place! Thanks!!

  11. Its sweet. It wont require an immediate Insulin prescription like what they serve in Atlanta but its sweet enough for government work.

  12. spamwise says:

    I’ve been running around work today. Nice photos though. I’ll be sure to check them out.

    And just in time for the Big Apple Block Party 2007 too. :)

  13. josef says:

    If you like ‘sweet tea’ try Daisy May’s. You even get the mason jar.

  14. […] aims to give diners the experience of Texas Hill Country barbecue without ever leaving Manhattan. Off the Broiler gives a mouth-watering preview. 30 West 26th Street between 6th Avenue and Broadway, […]

  15. […] NYC Dining Preview: Hill Country NYC BBQ Hill Country NYC 30 West 26th Street (Between 6th and Broadway) Click Here for Hi-Res Photos! Hill Country NYC is a […] […]

  16. daddyo says:

    lord knows, i hope you’re right about this place. but the brisket in the photos above doesn’t look much like what i got in lockhart (which looked a lot like what’s on this page:

  17. Seth says:

    Looks like a nice place, have to check it out, but i don’t see any pork shoulder/butt on the menu, for shame robby, for shame


  18. Daddyo: Remember these are hourderve sized portions, and you are seeing extreme closeups of them. Take a look at the BBQ-NYC link in the introductory paragraph and you’ll see some pretty damn convincing brisket slices.

  19. Seth: You wont find any Pork Shoulder in Texas either, dude. Pork Shoulder is North Carolina or Memphis style. In Texas its all about the beef.

  20. M says:

    Looks great, thanks for all the pics etc… between this Daisy and RUB I think we have all the options we need on the West side (not to mentio0n Dino for the uptowners).

    Regarding the million inevitable “it’s better in Texas” posts… yeah, we know. but we don’t care. because we do not live in Texas, we live in/around manhattan. So if we have the option of eating here or in Texas we choose here, because 1 dinner here costs a whole lot less then the 1 dinner out+airfair+lodging it would take to eat the same meal in Texas.

    In other words: we are happy with what we have and will leave the silly comparisons to others.

  21. Dave says:

    Great. Eight blocks from work. Time to be poor again.

    I can’t go to Daisy Mae’s because of the inane TV ads with the “I’ll try every fake Southern accent I know all in one monologue” waitress.

    (“hors d’oeuvres”, by the way.)

  22. Peter Ochs says:

    Ya looks like y’all are on the right track – does this mean “Austin Cool” is actually becoming a migratory phenomenon? Did Gore say that BBQ migratory patterns would be a canary for global warming? – if so – I may have to re-think my stance of “anti-” ;D

    by the way, Texans are not dumb, just our politicians are – taste some of our food or hear our music and you’ll see – as a MN-born but double-decade+ Dallasite/Texan I’ll give my thumbs up to this place just based on the photos and the odd assortment of side dishes which I’ve found are conspicuously lacking and/or less than impressive in our typical local Texan BBQ joints

    but – I don’t recall seeing any baskets/barrells of peanuts-in-the-shell anywhere though ;;)) – nor a scant mention of SHINER BEER – HELLLOOOOO?

    I’ll try to bring a case for y’all next time I’m going up there…

  23. Peter Ochs says:

    Oh – and Kudos on the Big Red – I can’t really stand the stuff – like swallowing gulps of bubble gum – but ya it’s authentic Texan alright!

  24. Shiner is hopefully coming soon Peter… see comments above.

  25. Jon says:

    I can just imagine Jason standing there grilling the owner on whether or not his sodas have real sugar in them or not! Then being walked over to the refrigerator case where (to any enthusiast) its obvious that the Coke is Mexican produced.

    The need that Dublin Dr. Pepper though. That’s a biggie.

    Jason: Did you get to try the Beer Can Game Hen? I’m curious.

  26. No, they didnt have any of the chicken at the party. But if you’re a good boy and behave, you can come and eat some with us tomorrow night :)

  27. Rick Silverman says:

    Wow! Heard ya’ll opened. Good pictures and great additions to the menu aside from the great Kreuz Lockhart, Texas BBQ stuff. Best of luck from all of us here in Houston. We just know that you have a winner. (Not that we didn’t expect it.) What happened to all the pictures you took of us at Kreuz’s when we came over from Houston with Brad?

  28. […] Jason Perlow takes us inside Hill Country, an Authentic Texas BBQ joint opening in Manhattan [Off the Broiler] […]

  29. republix says:

    Can anyone confirm that Hill Country is indeed open tonight for dinner?

  30. Rachael says:

    Born and raised from Texas and now living in the city, I am VERY excited about the possibility of this authentic BBQ!

    HOWEVER……… I am not thrilled that I saw the avg meal price being $20 -$30 dollars!! That is not Texas prices, which make texas bbq so great.

    Texas BBQ for the elite NYC goers? Why the high prices?

    Give a poor college girl a bone………preferably with a little meat left on it…..

  31. Rachael says:

    PS. I have a possible solution…..

    Discounts for real Texans who show IDs!

    Any thoughts?

  32. […] Here is a comprehensive preview courtesy of Off The Broiler. […]

  33. […] Nite Pit Tour Friday night, we went into Manhattan to go check out the pits (and to eat at Hill Country NYC BBQ on opening night, more on that […]

  34. […] couldn’t get enough of Hill Country during its pre-opening Texas Wine Dinner (click for previous photos) so we decided to head in  Friday night to sample the Q on opening night. We weren’t […]

  35. BShannon says:

    (Snob alert)… Does HC serve pickles and onions (and possibly jalapenos) with their ‘cue? At other joints in the city the workers always look at me weird when I ask for such items with my Texas BBQ.


  36. dummy says:

    just wondering – all you regional BBQ experts…
    where do the great pit traditions of ceviche and proscuitto wrapped figs originate?

  37. Jon says:

    I saw raw onions over at the sides table. You have to ask for them. The other two items may have been there as well–I don’t recall.

    They also had tomatoes, which I was told by someone is supposed to be eaten with a salt/pepper combination sitting in little jars at all of the tables.

  38. amyvcooper says:

    This post made my year. Especially the comments. The photos are great as well. I’m going to try this place out tomorrow night.

    I’m sending this out as my quote of the day:

    “It’s sweet. It wont require an immediate Insulin prescription like what they serve in Atlanta but its sweet enough for government work.” -Jason Perlow

    Hahaha! I’m 1/2 Texan, born and raised in Louisiana but most of my family is in Austin now and i’m a huge fan of Pokey Joes. I’ll report back, y’all. Thanks for the review!

  39. Freddie Fender says:

    As a Lockhart resident, I must strenuously protest.
    To say that something is modeled after an original, and then adulterate it to the point of making it a completely different genus, is heretical.
    Start with the forks, Kreuz’s has none, and then you have that “non-BBQ menu.”
    It looks more like a “Planet Hollywood Texas” than Texas BBQ.
    Glosserman has apparently spent more time in NYC than Lockhart.
    How would a “New York hotdog” on bruschetta with a mild gruyere cheese and sprig of tarragon strike most New Yorkers?

  40. Mama J says:

    My son, 5th generation Texan on both sides, currently lives in NYC. He sent me this review, and then he called after he and his lady (also Texan) visited the place. He is enough of a BBQ afficionado that they always visit the meccas of Central Texas BBQ (sorry, not Lockhart, I feel it’s vastly overrated – Coopers, Salt Lick, Schoep’s, etc.) when they are back home, and I periodically have been known to send BBQ care packages to sustain them in between visits.

    They report it’s spot on, and the ‘Q is excellent. (My question was, “Where do they get their beef?” They promise to find out.)

    I’m promised, when I finally make it up to NYC, a visit to confirm. I look forward to it (with some suspicion, it’s true).

    Oh, and I’ve been drinking sweet tea (and sweetened tea, not at all the same thing) for, oh, close on to 60 years now. In Texas. It’s absolutely necessary when you’re bringing in the hay.

  41. “How would a “New York hotdog” on bruschetta with a mild gruyere cheese and sprig of tarragon strike most New Yorkers?”


  42. Jeff says:

    Oww. This place in no way reminded me of the BBQ places of Texas, and at best fuels the contempt I continue to have for the “Hey New York, this is what it’s like in Texas” concept of the state. Like an upscale Cracker Barrel, this place shined and shimmied with lights, stars and texaphanalia abound. It made me gag. When we got there they ran out of Lonestar, one of the few from Texas I can’t get at the store, and the famous Kreuz’s sausage was undercooked. As mentioned above, there was no buffet of onions, pickles and white bread. Further research on Texas BBQ places, Drexler’s BBQ in Houston, Austin’s BBQ in Eagle Lake, Sam’s BBQ in Austin, and hell even the BBQ restaurant/stop and go that is Rudy’s BBQ would have yielded better results.

  43. The Kreuz sausage isn’t necessarily the best thing they have there, the brisket and beef ribs are excellent, as are the sides. Their roasted/BBQ chicken is also among the best in the entire city.
    Any theme restaurant in New York is always going to be a Disney-esque version of the original. If you can get past your Texas pride and just concentrate on the food itself, you’ll have a good time.

  44. txnj71 says:

    As a born and raised Texan, I was curious as to how a dining establishment in Manhattan was able to have Blue Bell ice cream on the menu, so in the interest of research, I ate there last night with some friends. I had a taste of both kinds of brisket and they were very very good, not like the crappy brisket I had at Blue Smoke. I think the place works better as a market and not a restaurant only because EVERY ITEM IS OVERPRICED. There’s a reason that the menu doesn’t show the prices of the items. Sure, it’s Manhattan, it’s Chelsea, the prices will be higher…whatever. All I had there was a small side of mac and cheese (never had mac and cheese made with ZITI rather than actual macaroni…), the bourbon pecan pie (needs more bourbon!) and a diet coke served in an old fashioned little coke bottle (not a fountain drink with ice and free refills) and the total for all three items was $14.09. The whole reason I went there in the first place was for the Blue Bell ice cream and found out it was sold in the little single serving paper cups AT FOUR DOLLARS EACH. Add a buck to that and I could buy a whole gallon of Blue Bell in Texas. The meat is sold by the pound. The dining experience is very loud and noisy, at least on the main floor next to the market. If I return, it will only be to get some brisket and sausage to go.

  45. In all fairness, tx, this was the preview thread for the restaurant so the prices weren’t posted yet. There’s also the thread on the actual restaurant opening which has all the prices listed.

    Yes, its expensive. But its also Manhattan, and they spent a fortune on that restaurant. Its to be expected.

  46. Mike says:

    Offthebroiler, it seems to me that you work for this place by looking at your comments. As for me, I would take the Texans’ opinions of Hill Country over anyone else! Why? Well, they would know better than any of us New Yorkers. I stopped by to check out the place on a Friday night around 10pm and the place was already closing down. Now a REAL Texas BBQ place would be in full swing at this time, blasting loud/fast country music, people dancing, and pigging out on CHEAP food and drinks. This place did not offer anything of the sort. Also, a secret in business……have lower prices and in the long run, you’ll make MORE money because THAT’s what will draw more people. Also, don’t say that it’s just a NY thing because Brother Jimmy’s BBQ’s prices are slightly lower than HIll Country’s and they draw in much larger crowds and make MORE money. Take lessons from the REAL BBQ places as seen in Texas and all over the south. NY needs a REAL SOUTHERN BBQ place, not just another disney rip-off. But, keep HIll Country the way it is and I can promise it won’t last more than 10 years, if not less. If you can’t do anything else, at least play COUNTRY MUSIC!!! Otherwise, change the name of your establishment and don’t be a hypocrite.

  47. Mike: I don’t work for any of the restaurants I write about for this blog.

    As to the 10PM thing, I think you are being unrealistic. Many New York restaurants close between the hours of 10 and 11, particularly in that part of town. You can’t expect people in New York City, particularly kitchen staff, to work at late hours. Bar staff is another matter altogether — plenty of bars that serve food close their kitchens at 10 but continue to serve alcohol.

  48. Susan says:

    do you have a room for private parties? Please email me directly if you do.

  49. chuck says:

    Going there on Saturday. Can’t WAIT! I’m drooling. Bacon peanut brittle! Too much!

  50. Louis says:

    Hill Country might be TX BBQ, but RUB just got their first of many deliveries of Shiner Bock

  51. Kay Dee says:

    What kind of music is playing? Country I hope?? Is there any live music and will there be any country couples dancing???? Food looks Great! Thanks and best wishes!

  52. Crystal says:


    I am also from Texas (Abilene). We always had sweet iced tea at our house. Not just sweet tea, but sometimes even sweetened sun tea. Everyone I know in Texas drinks sweet tea. Maybe the preference for sweetened/unsweeted varies by region?

  53. JJ says:

    Top BBQ in Texas, Coopers, sorry Kruez’s. Best BBQ chain, Rudy’s. Haven’t been to Hill Country yet, but many menu items make authenticity doubtful. However, haven’t found anything close to Texas style among all the KC style stuff, so I am hopeful. Gotta have the onions, pickles and white bread though.

  54. extramsg says:

    1) “Texas BBQ” doesn’t mean much by itself in actuality. If you’ve travelled around Texas, you’ll find that there are a variety of Texas BBQ traditions. There are the African-American traditions, the east Texas traditions, the west Texas traditions, the south Texas Mexican traditions, and the Central Texas traditions that these guys seem to be trying to emulate. Afterall, the place looks like Kreuz had a going-out-of-business sale and they bought them out. Central Texas BBQ is indeed first and foremost about beef, but most Texas traditions are much more opportunistic that they’re given credit for. You’ll see lamb, goat, pork, and beef on many menus. The places in Lockhart specialize in brisket, but all have spareribs and sausage, and some of their best things are items like prime rib and pork chops. Rubs are minimal and sauce is generally avoided. But these rules aren’t as hard and fast as Kreuz’s toursity digs suggest. People should pick up a copy of Robb Walsh’s Legends of Texas BBQ. btw, these central Texas places are more likely to be serving food at breakfast time than dinner time. Sometimes they will have largely sold out of meat by mid-afternoon.

    2) The problem I foresee is the pit they’re using. Yeah, the show pits — the “holding pits” — are cool. They’re exactly what you’d see in Lockhart at Kreuz, Smitty’s, or Black’s, or down in Luling or up in Taylor, etc. But the Ole Hickory pits are going to give different results. I’ve played around with commercial smokers and know people who own BBQ restaurants that use and have used a variety of pits. The thing about those central Texas pits is that they’re all wood, give off a nice steady stream of fresh smoke, and can get really hot. The Ole Hickorys have a max temp of 325. What people don’t realize is that the central Texas places don’t cook as low and slow as generally accepted. They cook farely hot, at least for a while, which builds a nice bark on the briskets, a bark like you won’t find throughout most of the country. It’s really hard to build that nice of a bark even at 250 degrees. Also, the steady stream of smoke makes for a very smokey product that nonetheless doesn’t become caustic or chemically. The smoke penetrates really nicely, too, because all the heat generated is from the wood/smoke. At least that’s the theory I’ve heard. And the combustion of the wood produces a moister air that electric and gas can’t. Instead of an Ole Hickory, I think they would have been better off with a Oyler from J&R that was all wood. They’re UL approved, etc, and I’ve seen them produce really nice results. btw, I think those pits probably do more like 500 lbs each.

  55. Orelle Young says:

    I have had the honor of being a part of Hill Country before opening. I viewed the intense labor for construction and even helped move in the initial hundreds of pounds of post oak wood. I plan on working at Hill Country for a long time. Good food…good people…and good food. I’ll be serving you all your hot cuts of fine BBQ five days a week. If you have any questions feel free to send me an email –

  56. rayray7 says:

    I will be paying Hill country a visit soon. I am sure they must have red wines to go with the deliciuos looking ribs. After my visit I will post article on my blog for all to read. Great story and the pictures are the best !

  57. […] crappy Cingular 8525 camera phone I’ve been ‘rocking’. But check out the photos here.) Hill Country 30 W 26th St New York, NY 10010 (212) […]

  58. Dannyc says:

    Hill Country is good, but is OVERPRICED. If you go there uninformed (like me) you could wind up spending $90 for lunch 2 people (like me). They sell by the LB, and 2 pork ribs one the bone probably weigh a LB. Pay attention to the people around you with SMALL brown paper and SMALL side dishes, those are likely people who have been there before and could probably guide you to correct menu choices.
    Also, $6 for a cupcake seems excessive.

  59. Kaytrey says:

    TWO HOUR WAIT on a Friday night. I don’t know what we were thinking, but after 1.5 hours it became a competition between us and the hostess. we refused to leave, having been quoted a 45 minute wait time. Really. Is anything worth a two hour wait for a table for three? I mean, the food was good and all, but seriously. I would never go again for dinner. Maybe lunch on a Tuesday, but never dinner. And as a previous poster mentioned people were leaving by 11pm even though there was great live music. No dancing…so weird.

  60. Ronnie Santos says:

    Myself, wife and son went there lastnight and loved it. Listen, everyone’s palate is going to be different, so most of you who visit this blog- just go try it out. The lean brisket was very good and had great flavor. The sausage was juicy and cooked well and the ribs were delicious. I grew up in San Antonio, Tx. with Big Red, Blue Bell ice cream and the pecan pie, so they were all the driving force for me to get there! It’s all with what you grew up with. My grandparents lived in Karnes City and we always ate @ a place called Smolik’s- nothings ever come close to that place for me. I’ll agree with most on the board here that it’s expensive/overpriced but, IT’S MANHATTAN! Did you really think it was going to be cheap? The bell should’ve gone off as soon as you heard “market prices”. I didn’t think it was going to be cheap and neither should any of ya’ll. We’ll go back ’cause it is the closest thing I’ve had to real Tx barbq since I moved here. I recommend. Oh, and I hope they get Shiner Bock- never liked Lone Star beer.

  61. LarryXA says:

    Thx, this has definitely made my day!


  62. masterlock says:

    I agree with Danny, the prices are a little steep. The important thing is to go in there informed, and then to decide if it is worth the expense or not.

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