You Can Take the BBQ Out of Texas . . .
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Hill Country Barbecue Market
Last year, word of a new barbecue restaurant spread through New York’s Texas-expat community. Usually, this kind of thing doesn’t cause much of a stir. We see a lot of “Texas barbecue” joints up here where they take a brisket that tastes like pastrami and drench it in sauce that tastes like sweet-and-sour. But the Hill Country Barbecue Market turned out to be an amazingly, almost disarmingly, authentic kind of place. The owner, Marc Glosserman, is the grandson of Sam Glosserman, who was mayor of Lockhart from 1955 to 1964, and modeled his place on Lockhart’s Kreuz Market. It was as if that century-old meat shop had suddenly appeared on West Twenty-sixth a few steps off Broadway.
At Hill Country, as at Kreuz Market, brisket is sold by the pound and wrapped in grease-soaked butcher paper. The brisket is cooked with a salt-and-pepper rub in Ole Hickory smokers, with post oak that has been gathered just south of Lockhart. The Manhattan dining scene demands a few changes: the inclusion of barbecue sauce, most notably, and also side dishes like white shoepeg corn pudding and sweet-potato mash made with bourbon. But Hill Country never strays very far from the original, and there is a wonderful eye for detail. New Yorkers are asked to choose between white bread and crackers (this is bound to get some quizzical looks); they can buy Big Red by the bottle; there are even photos of the Lockhart High football team in the restrooms.
But should an iconic piece of Texana be so casually exported to Gotham? Well, I thought, as I sliced into a perfectly cooked, pink-and-white Hill Country pork chop, we do live in a globalized world. The distance between Texas Highway 183 and Fifth Avenue is getting smaller every day. I was working up some other deep thoughts, but I am pleased to report that they were undermined by the prime rib, the sausage (from Kreuz Market), and three ultrasucculent beef ribs. I’ll take another half-pound of brisket for the subway, please.