Not sure why, but I’ve been in a Texas BBQ sate of mind of late. I guess it’s partly because I’ve come across some really great articles on Texas BBQ over the past few days, and this one from Business Insider Australia covering the Salt Lick BBQ restaurant in Austin, TX is no different. Just the right balance of historical background and hard core BBQ food porn. I think you’ll agree.
Texas BBQ In the Rolling Hills Outside of Austin
The Salt Lick has been serving up Texas BBQ since 1967, but the Roberts family traces their history in Texas back much further than that.
The roots of The Salt Lick run back to Mississippi in the mid-1800s. Scott Roberts, the current owner of the Salt Lick, had a great-grandmother, Bettie Howard, who came to Texas from Desoto, Miss. in 1867.
In 1956, Scott’s mother and father moved with their two young sons to Driftwood. But his father, Thurman, had to travel constantly across the state working for a bridge construction company. Thurman dreamed of spending every day where his family had put down generations of roots.
One day he and Hisako [who is of Hawaiian heritage] took out a yellow legal pad and wrote down 54 things the family could do and stay in Driftwood. The idea for the Salt lick was 14th on the list.
The Salt Lick has grown from there. The Roberts family now serves mouthwatering BBQ to thousands of folks each week. Read more here…
The Salt Lick specializes in ribs, sausage, and beef brisket, all roasted and smoked on the limestone pit that first graced the restaurant’s Driftwood location back in 1967 when BBQ was served only a few days a week. The photo above gives you a good idea, but for the full effect, take a look at this crazy photo from the cover of owner Scott Roberts’ book The Salt Lick Cook Boook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love:
And if that shot isn’t enough, here’s a video from Adam Richman’s Man vs. Food show featuring the Salt Lick BBQ Pit in action!
There’s a lot to love about the Salt Lick BBQ. It’s definitely made it’s way onto my BBQ Bucket List, along with Franklin BBQ in Austin, Louie Mueller BBQ in neighboring Taylor, TX and of course Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse.
Reviews for The Salt Lick BBQ Restaurant
As a means of giving you some insight into what those who have dined at The Salt Lick have to say about their experiences, I ‘ve included a few reviews:
“Bring your appetite” to these “true Texas” BBQers for a “first-class orgy of meat” via “piles” of pit-smoked, “fork-tender brisket”, “spicy sausage” and “fall-off-the-bone ribs” served “family-style” in a “rustic” atmosphere with “great” live music on weekends; it’s cash only with “looong waits” at Driftwood and Southeast Austin, and although it’s BYO beer, you can also pick up a bottle of wine from their tasting room to open at the picnic tables; P.S. “buy a whole brisket at the airport to carry home and your friends will love you.” — Zagat Reviews
Consistently good brisket, sausage and pork ribs. Great, sweet sauce. If you haven’t been, you haven’t experienced the best of Austin. — TripAdvisor Review
When Texans argue about the relative merits of barbecue joints, the Salt Lick usually winds up at or near the top of the heap. Getting here entails a 30-minute drive southwest of Austin, but diners who make the trek are rewarded with finger-licking-good ribs, beef, chicken, turkey, and sausage slow-cooked over an open pit and accompanied by a tangy sauce (unusual for central Texas) and the usual sides. Slaw is fresh and crisp, not smothered in mayo. If you can manage it, top your meal off with peach cobbler or pecan pie. The area is dry, alcohol-wise, so if you want anything stronger than Dr Pepper, bring it with you. It’s cash-only, but there’s an on-site ATM. — Fodors.com
The Salt Lick BBQ Final Thoughts
I think it goes without saying that I’m going to have to get to Texas ASAP to get my brisket fix. The wait at some of these places will probably mean I’ll be spending a week there! If you’ve eaten at the Salt Lick, please leave a comment below and share your experience! Since the initial article I read was from the Business Insider Australia, I expect that this place has or will be seeing a ton of folks from down under soon!