When I first proposed Hill Country Barbecue for a wine dinner, I experienced some misgivings from the wine collectors and sommeliers on the guest list. "You want us to drink our treasured old vintages with down home BBQ? Why should we do that?" But I wasn't suggesting that they add notes of KC Masterpiece to their Barolo and Super Tuscan descriptors, I was proposing that they drink red wine with big cuts of meat. A good portion of the world drinks red wine with big cuts of meat every day, and a lot of people are drinking red wine with a big cut of meat right now, as you read this. The amount of beef they consume in the Piemonte is astounding. Toscana has its own breed of giant cattle, and famous steaks. Why wouldn't you drink the wines from those regions with Texas 'cue, which is essentially a big cut of meat served without sauce? Pairing wine to un-sauced meat is one of the easiest things you can do, a no brainer recipe for good results.
And bringing your own at Hill Country Barbecue is also easy. The BYOB policy is $15 per bottle for wine corkage, and the amount of bottles that you can bring, like Texas poker, has no limit. That's generous by New York standards, and getting this arrangement doesn't require being a regular, knowing somebody, or calling in a certain favor. You simply have to show up with your wine, and maybe some glassware if you are picky about that sort of thing. The staff at Hill Country Barbecue is friendly, and will pretty much leave you on your own with the bottles. That is great when you want to control the pours to let a wine open up, or avoid letting the other guests at the table drink too much of what you brought.
Pairing wine with the Hill Country menu is about as easy as can be. You don't have to think about a sequence of appetizers which may be very different than the main course, or a series of small plates with wildly contrasting flavors. What Hill Country Barbecue has is meat. You go to get it yourself when you want some, and you pick the amount that you want. Plus, it is ready to serve when you are ready to eat it. Pretty simple. Hill Country Barbecue is one of the easiest solutions for wine BYOB in Manhattan, and my go-to watering hole when I am thinking about what to pair with a lot of red wine.
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