Hill Country Barbecue Market

[ 4 ] August 19, 2011 |


Good BBQ in DC. For many years I fought with the concept that the District could actually have a BBQ joint comparable to the ones that I tasted while spending some days in Dallas, Texas. Ever heard “everything is bigger in Texas”?? Well the District missed this part of the memo until Hill Country Barbecue Market entered the scene. Larger, bigger, juicy, falling off the bone are just a few of the characteristics sadly missing in a lot of the BBQ around the District. I found it refreshing to try out the new Hill Country BBQ with hopes that it would meet my Dallas expectations.

Funny story on how I came across Hill Country BBQ. On my way to meet a friend for lunch at another downtown eatery, I reached to open the door to that establishment and was distracted by the smoky scent of fresh wood chips. Almost as if I had been hypnotized, I turned to find the source of the succulent scents and there was Hill Country resting high on the hill. My first visit to Hill Country unfortunately fell below my expectations where the menu process was a little confusing, the waiter/waitress system seemed a bit unorganized and the corn bread was a tad on the hard side.


This however, was all trumped when I tasted the BBQ chicken: smoky, tender, juicy, moist…the list goes on and on. I returned on a later visit to catch up with some of my fave food friends and the owners of the downtown BBQ joint. This was the visit that changed my perception from my first visit. Perhaps, it was the award winning brisket paired with the cucumber salad or the collard greens that I can still taste and smell almost two weeks since my visit.

No matter how you feel about the side items, the BBQ at Hill Country is certified gold. Tender, lean cuts of brisket that can be eaten solo or topped with Hill Country’s house-made BBQ sauce, are reminiscent of my time spent in Texas. Though ribs and brisket share most of the spotlight when it comes to BBQ, the BBQ chicken and jalapeno cheese infused Kreuz sausages are not to be overlooked when you visit Hill Country. The desserts cannot be ignored either with Blue Bell ice cream, warm Bourbon infused bread pudding and chilled banana pudding.


Taking up a massive piece of real estate in the heart of the District’s Penn Quarter, the restaurant has made good use of its space with a stage on the lower level used for live performances and an in-house butcher shop. Though the process of getting to the food might seem a little confusing, when you actually sit down and take your first bite there will be no confusion about it: this is real, undeniable Texas BBQ.

Hill Country Barbecue Market on Urbanspoon

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Category: Food.Fun.Stuff., restaurant reviews, Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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  1. Hill Country Barbecue Market « william1243 | September 24, 2012
  2. Johnna Knows Good Food Five Year Anniversary Giveaway | November 26, 2012
  1. Maybe Hill Country is not great at first impressions. I was there for the first time just recently and, in the final analysis, wasn’t impressed. I enjoyed the brisket. But the chicken wasn’t great. Maybe I need to make another visit.

  2. Johnna says:

    Yup, I think it is worth another try. I’m glad I did in the end, sometimes the second times the charm;-)

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