Friday, March 16, 2012

Salt Lick BBQ

Every part of the country has it's own special cuisine that it's known for. Philadelphia has cheesteaks, New York has pizza, and in the South...we have barbecue. If you've ever watched the Travel channel or Food TV, you know there are several different regions with claims of being the best in the country. St. Louis has a style of it's own focusing on ribs and these wonderful things known as burnt ends. (They are literally the burnt ends off of a brisket. They are so amazing!) North Carolina...well, they have something that I'm not particularly a fan of...but to each his own! Then of course, there's the real stuff. Good ol' Texas BBQ. Texas is an enormous state, and big enough to be a country all on it's own. There are different regions in Texas, and different forms of BBQ. Dallas' best claim to BBQ is Sonny Bryan's. Excuse me while I go anywhere else...that's just not BBQ. Sorry. I personally think the best BBQ in Dallas comes from my Daddy's backyard. I digress...when you get into Central Texas, that's when you find the real stuff. Central Texas was largely formed by German immigrants, and they brought all of their wonderful sausages with them! You can find more sausage in the H.E.B deli section on any given Tuesday in Austin than you can at a Market Street anywhere else in the country. It is delicious, too!

One of my favorite barbecue spots in the Austin area is Salt Lick BBQ. You will see their billboards on 35 starting in Georgetown that say "You can smell our pits from miles away!" They aren't kidding, either. Whether you are in Dripping Springs at the original location, or the satellite in Round Rock, you really can smell the greatness a mile away! When my hubby and I moved to Austin, we decided to first try all the restaurants that were on an episode of Man vs. Food that we had recently seen about Austin. Salt Lick was first on our list! We went to the one in Round Rock, simply because of the location. The locals tell me that the original in Dripping Springs is so much better than the Round Rock location. As good as the Round Rock location is, I would be in BBQ Heaven if that's true! The Round Rock location is also located directly next to the Dell Diamond, which is where the Round Rock Express play.

Our first visit was last summer. I was pleased when we walked up because even though there was a long wait (which is always a good sign), they had opened up the stone patio and the outdoor bar. After an excruciatingly, hot Texas day it was so very nice to kick back on a patio with a beer. The hour we waited didn't seem like that long at all, and when got in we were seated at family style benches. The first thing that catches your eye is the GIANT barbecue pit on your left. They truly cook their meat old style, on a pit, right there in the middle of the restaurant. My hubby is a total nerd, and wanted to take a picture of the pit. So he asked the waiter if he could take one, and he actually took him back into the kitchen and took a picture of him right next to it!

 We decided to try the ribs and the sausage. A true staple for both of us. The combo plate came with two meats, beans, coleslaw and potato salad. It was reasonably priced, too. Only $12.95, and you can actually get up to 3 meats if you want. I just double up on the ribs. Talk about delectable!

They bring you white bread, which I'm usually not a fan of due to the fact that it almost always tastes like it's made with Elmer's glue. Theirs was actually really nice, and went perfectly with the sauce and the meat. The ribs literally fell of the bone when  you picked them up. The sausage was perfectly spiced. It almost tasted like venison sausage to me, but it isn't. It's pork sausage, but maybe they used similar spices. At any rate, it was delicious. They have two sauces, the regular and a spicy. Their sauce is different. I wouldn't go in expecting it to taste like Rudy's or whatever you may be used to. It's really, really good. It has a tang to it. It's slightly sweet, but still slightly spicy. It's their own invention, and nothing like anything I've tasted before. Apparently the secret recipe actually goes back to the wagon train that Scott Roberts (the owner)'s family was on in the 1800s. All I know is that is has 40+ ingredients, apparently mustard is one of them. Although, you really couldn't pinpoint that flavor in there.

The staff and service is absolutely wonderful. You can tell they all get along with each other. The manager, Maggie comes off tough as nails, but a really nice lady when you sit down and talk with her.  It's like going to a barbecue at a friend's house.

They have these pecan pies on display when you walk in that look amazing, but we've always been too full to order dessert. I can't imagine going in and saving room for dessert with food like that. Maybe one day, I will have to get one to go.

I absolutely love Salt Lick BBQ, and that would be the first place I'd take any friend looking for authentic Texas BBQ!

You can check out their website here.

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