Salt Lick is one of the main barbecue places people tell you to try when you’re in Austin. Finally, after years of living here, I have tasted the famed BBQ . It is definitely one of the tastier barbecue places I’ve been to and if you like the more savory and smoky barbecue taste, I would definitely recommend Salt Lick to anybody looking for some good Texas BBQ.
Salt Lick sits on the outskirts of Austin in Driftwood, by the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, and as a welcoming sight for airplane passengers at the Airport. Driftwood is the original location where you pay only with cash and can B.Y.O.B. However, since we were on the north side of Austin when we got a hankering for barbecue, we ended up at the Round Rock location.
The location I went to, Round Rock by Dell Diamond, is the one where Nolan Ryan likes to eat and is in eyesight of the baseball stadium that houses the minor league team for the area. The Driftwood location is the original and infamous for its BYOB policy and necessity of cash. The location at the airport is a great place to stop by and get a little barbecue before you leave on the plane. The food at the airport looked quite similar to the food at the Round Rock location and even had a tiny barbecue pit of its own.
The best deal for a lot of food is Family Style. It’s a little pricey per person, but it is SO much food for one person. Definitely worth it if you can take it. However, since my stomach is small, I got the meat combination plate with the pork ribs and beef brisket. The barbecue is good. Not too fatty and definitely a smoky taste. The ribs were the huge spare ribs kind and well seasoned, but quite full of bone. You know it came from an animal. The brisket was perfectly moist to a little on the dry side, but if you want a lot more juicy brisket, you can order “moist.” The seasoning for the meat is great and I really wish there was more, but the sauce was OK as additional flavor. The sauce itself is slightly spicy and more sour and savory versus sweet.
The sides were really amazing. Not any of that processed fatty stuff, but that good ol’ homemade rib-stickin’ kind. The potato salad is not the kind full of mayonnaise, but the sort where the potatoes have been slightly mashed, seasoned, and aged to a softer texture. I guess you might call it German style and goes right along with our Texas history. The cole slaw is also not full of mayonnaise, but well-marinated and crunchy. The beans were cowboy beans as in no oversweetened BBQ sauce to drown and soggy the beans. It was the real stuff and it was delicious. You do get normal sandwich bread for the sides, but it was fine. It sopped up the sauce well and did not take away from the flavor of the meat. There were also pickles and onions for additional flavor and texture.
Finally, even though we were full, we were tempted enough to try the peach cobbler. It was OK, but not great. Not something you drive miles for, I’ll admit. However, it was good homemade cobbler and the peaches were not too soggy or overly sweet. Absolutely delicious with the Blue Bell ice cream, a Texas and especially Austin classic.
Overall, you can get the real ambience of a Texas BBQ. However, because of this, everything is a bit more sour and peppery than you’d usually get at a barbecue place. The sauce is more savory and spicy than sweet and the place is not catering to those who eat with a fork and knife. We’re talking about loud, meat-eating, finger-lickin’ diners so be prepared to come out a little messier than the way you came in.
Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 ½, I would recommend it to everybody if you like a different type of barbecue than you’re used to. For everyone else, I will admit, try out Rudy’s if Salt Lick isn’t your thing. Rudy’s is still one of my favorite places for BBQ in Austin. However, you’re totally missing out on the delicious sides and one of the best BBQ rubs I’ve tried in a while.