New York BBQ: Hill Country Goes Whole Hog Every Tuesday, Starting Tonight
There have been a few unpublicized dry runs already, but tonight Hill Country (NYC) officially kicks off its weekly Tuesday Night Whole Pig event. Although whole pigs are available elsewhere in the city by advance reservation and by committing to the entire animal, Hill Country is changing the pig paradigm by offering it in any quantity to anyone who happens to get a craving around 7:00PM. It will be sold by weight and be priced at around $22 per pound, about the same as the moist brisket.
Pitmaster Pete Daversa recommends getting there early. “In our test runs we elevated the pig on upside-down hotel pans on the meat counter, and that attracted a lot of attention. We sold out in less than 45 minutes.” He also encourages customers to request any part of the animal they like: “The cheeks, the hams, the loins, the legs, you name it, you can have it.”
Daversa has been experimenting with various sized pigs and should have one weighing more than 50 pounds for tonight’s festivities. He immersed it in a brining liquid last night so it would be ready for its 11 hour stint in the smoker. “The brine is to infuse moisture, not flavor,” notes the pitmaster. “We want to maintain the integrity of the pig’s natural flavor.”
Granted, Hill Country is a Texas barbecue joint and whole hog isn’t exactly a Texas staple, but Daversa shrugs that off. “Despite the stereotype about Texas barbecue being primarily beef, there’s a lot of pork being done down there, whether it’s ribs or chops. We decided a long time ago that we weren’t going to do pulled pork sandwiches, because everybody else is doing that. But this sets us apart. This is our take on pulled pork.”