30 W. 26th St., nr. Broadway; 212-255-4544
While RUB’s bacon and Dinosaur’s lamb ribs continue to have their devotees, the city’s barbecue scene was taken by storm this year by Hill Country’s impeccably pure Texas product. A confluence of rich brisket, post-oak fumes, and a simple but aggressive seasoning of salt and pepper and a tiny hint of cayenne, the Hill Country “moist” brisket (known in BBQ circles as deckle, and made from the rich upper shelf of the muscle) is a potent, smoky, meltingly rich expression of all that makes barbecue great. Hill Country’s immense, untrimmed pork spareribs and beef short ribs might, frighteningly, be even better.