I love barbecue. Growing up in North Carolina, it was a summer staple that fed me on many road trips, beach days, and afternoons at the pool. When I started dating my boyfriend, I was introduced to Texas barbecue, which, I hate to say it, I love even more than North Carolina’s pork. We’ve smoked several briskets together, and eaten many, many barbecue sandwiches. But then we moved to Philadelphia, where great barbecue is very hard to come by. We also don’t have a backyard, so we had to give up our smoker. Like many apartment dwellers living in a Northeastern city, we’ve found ourselves struggling to get access to the low-and-slow smoked meats we love.
That’s why, when I found out that Baldor Foods (a restaurant food distributor that has now opened up it’s wares to home cooks) was working with Hill Country Barbecue to ship boxes of their barbecue across the country, I was delighted. We ordered the Weekender, a box containing everything you could ever need to satisfy your barbecue craving and feed a crowd. We invited a couple of friends over to sit (socially-distanced, of course) on our stoop and crack a couple of beers.
The box comes with pork ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket and Texas-style sausages, plus pickled onions, homemade pickles, barbecue sauce, coleslaw, plenty of buns and tortillas and even a jar of spicy, tangy chow chow. They also send several baking pans so it’s easy to reheat the meat with little cleanup. Everything was neatly packaged for travel, and they also include super-simple reheating instructions so we didn’t have to worry about messing up the meat by accidentally scorching it. If you’re feeding fewer people, you can also opt for the Bird and the Bone box, which includes ribs, a whole chicken, and a big tray of macaroni and cheese.
It was more than enough food for our evening with friends, perfect for getting that backyard cookout feeling without the actual backyard. The next day, we packed a picnic and spent the day swimming in a river, eating sloppy barbecue sandwiches topped with coleslaw and plenty of sauce. The barbecue transported us to a simpler summer, and gave us a totally comforting of home.
I love cooking in the summer, but sometimes you just want a break. Hill Country’s barbecue box gave me exactly what I wanted, without having to sacrifice eating a delicious meal. If I had been lucky enough to snag a long weekend at the beach or on a lake, this box would be an easy way to feed a group without forcing anyone to spend all day cooking. It’s a perfect hack to make you feel like you’re on vacation, even if you’re stuck at home.
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