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New York City Restaurants – Dish Buzz: Hill Country

Posted Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 9:00 am by Lara in Cultural Bees. More in 10010

Hill Country Barbecue, FlatironHope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. In my family, we have a Thanksgiving tradition when it comes to food: It’s always homemade. Always. Last year was an attempted exception with a big fat failed attempt to deal in a turkey from Jive Turkey in Brooklyn (I will not and cannot say anything positive about them and their operation) along with our sides. However, in my perhaps 500 square foot apartment with all of a tiny corner strip kitchen “area”, it’s not too easy to prepare a full-on Thanksgiving meal.

Enter gamble number two: In reading the food blogs I frequent, I caught wind of an offer at Hill Country Barbecue for Thanksgiving Take-Out.

They had two options – “Feast for 9-12” ($255 + tax) or “Feast for 5-8” ($175 + tax). The larger option included a whole pit-smoked turkey of 14-16 pounds, cornbread & butter, four sides, and two 10-inch pies or sheet cake for dessert. The smaller option included the whole turkey (slightly smaller at 9-11 pounds), cornbread & butter, three sides, and one 10-inch pie or sheet cake. While we are only four, the price tag really wasn’t too bad for all of the stress which would be avoided, so we opted to gamble.

Sides, Hill Country BarbecueWhat sides were available, you ask? There was sweet potato bourbon mash. This one was quite good, although my mom would weigh in it was too “boozy” for her taste. The Texas Toast Stuffing had some kick, including small pieces of pork for a little extra umph. I would pass on the Longhorn Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese the next time. Its heart was in the right place, but the long penne noodles overpowered the ultimate lack of cheesy goodness. And bread crumbs? Sadly none were be found here in this slightly runny dish.

Other sides we did not choose included green bean casserole with Durkee onions, cranberry sauce, and a farmer market salad. They did not skimp you on portion sizes, providing 32 ounces of each side.

Pit-Smoked Turkey, Hill Country BarbecueAnd the turkey? Amazing. The seasoning permeated clear through to each moist sliver of the breast meat. I’m still eating off of it in my fridge and it tastes just perfect. (My dog would agree.) The restaurant also provided a big tin pan and dummy-proof directions if you should want to reheat it, although we opted to slice and serve because (1) it was that good and, (2) the tin … um … well didn’t quite fit in my tiny oven.

For the dessert, we had the ginger snap pumpkin pie. A huge fan of all things pumpkin, I always find myself wanting to eat the pumpkin pie but losing interest after a bite or two. Sometimes it’s missing a little something – perhaps a little too blah? This one had the perfect balance with the sharp bite of the ginger. I’m spoiled now on pumpkin pie. I want to find a recipe with ginger in it. Perfect. Other options were a bourbon pecan pie, Grandma Betty’s apple pie, or a German chocolate sheet cake.

Ginger Snap Pumpkin PieI’d rate them A plus all around. Part of me was a little sad not to have my Southern mama’s home cooking this Thanksgiving, but we were all completely surprised. Not only was the food great, but they had this system down to a science. There were people waiting for us to state our name and there was an assembly line of people who pulled together all of the pieces of our order. There was even a small greeting card thanking us for letting them be a part of our Thanksgiving. I do believe we’ll be back to Hill Country next November.

Have a crew who always comes into town to your place? Something to consider for next year…

Hill Country – 30 West 26th Street (between 6th Avenue and Broadway) – 212.255.4544

 
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