The Republic of Dave header image 2

Central Texas BBQ: The Salt Lick in Driftwood

October 22nd, 2007 · 17 Comments ·

One Sunday afternoon we went out for barbecue, but we got a late start and missed Smitty’s in Lockhart, which closes at 3. So we thought we should fill a gap in our barbecue education and try one of the most renowned barbecue hotspots in the region and headed west to Driftwood and the famous salt lick. We’d been to their location on Highway 360 in Austin before, but had never tried the original. It was about time.

Driftwood is a small town 25 miles south of Austin in the ugly border of the Hill Country near Wimberly with its limitless supply of retirees and street fair vendors. It’s far enough from Austin to still have some country charm, but close enough for easy access from the Yuppie enclaves of West Austin.

The Salt Lick was nothing if not picturesque from first view on. The entire property was shaded by live oaks and pecans and surrounded by vineyards. The old rustic buildings were charming with a wishing well and lovely landscaping. Even the parking lot was scenic, with decorative vines covered fences surrounding the row after row of new Mercedes and BMWs and huge, expensive SUVs. Inside the restaurant, the main dining area and accompanying screened in overflow area had rustic charm too, with long tressel tables and a fantastic giant brazier for the meat to keep cooking on while waiting to be served.

Sadly the atmosphere was the high point of the overall experience. I knew something was different at the Salt Lick when I saw a parking lot full of expensive cars and a crowd waiting outside at 3:30 on a Sunday afternoon. Then I was given a pager and told there would be a 40 minute wait. Suddenly I had the feeling that I was at The Olive Garden rather than the country barbecue joint I had thought I was visiting. Once we got inside things were different too. It’s one of very few barbecue places I’ve been to which had a hostess to seat guests and actual waitresses providing table service.

To their credit, once we’d waited and were finally seated, the service was very fast and efficient. It was a bit disconcerting to order from a menu rather than a list on the wall, but we adjusted and managed to order a bit of everything, which meant standard barbecue selections like brisket, pork ribs, chicken, turkey and sausage, all served on hard plastic three-section school/prison cafeteria plates. Sides consisted of just coleslaw, potato salad and beans. At a time when the best barbecue restaurants are diversifying and experimenting with interesting alternative meats and sides, it’s surprising to see such a trendy restaurant with such a limited menu.

We tried as many of the meats as we could manage, which meant giving the turkey a pass. Plates normally come with the meat covered with sauce, and their sauce was pretty good, but as always, we got it on the side so we could get assess the quality of the meat more thoroughly. The best thing we tried was the brisket. It was lean, tender and had a smokey flavor with a tasty sweet rub on the outside. It was surprisingly flavorful for such lean meat. The pork ribs weren’t bad, but as far as I could tell they were cooked on a grill, not smoked. They reminded me of the baby back ribs at Chilis. They were good, but the sweet sauce that covered them was a bit overpowering. They’d probably be appealing to people used to short ribs in the midwest or north. The chicken was tender but a bit dry and short on flavor. The sausage was the worst item. It was a dry, fine-ground and vinegary ring sausage, distressingly similar to the most mass produced grocery store ring sausage along the lines of what Eckrich produces, with maybe a bit of black pepper thrown in. Truly horrible. If you’re going to make your own sausage, it’s got to be better than the bottom of the line grocery store option. As far as sides and condiments, the plates came with pickles, onions and bread. The pickles were good, but the bread was a stale slab of Mrs. Baird’s rolls. Wonderbread would have been better.

On the whole the Salt Lick was below expectations. The barbecue was adequate, but not great. It was certainly not up to to what you would expect from their reputation and not in the same league as the best barbecue in the area. It might be appealing to yuppies from the north, but it falls short of the Central Texas standard. The site and the atmosphere can’t be faulted, but it’s the meat that makes the meal, not the setting.

Dave Nalle has worked as a magazine editor, a freelance writer, a capitol hill staffer, a game designer and taught college history for many years. He now designs fonts for a living and lives with his family in a small town just outside Austin where he is ex-president of the local Lions Club. He is on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus and Politics Editor of Blogcritics Magazine. You can find his writings about fonts, art and graphic design at The Scriptorium. He also runs a conspiracy debunking site at IdiotWars.com.

Digg!

Tags:

17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Julia_1984 // Oct 24, 2007 at 7:05 am

    This is the only way I found to leave you my mail address since for some odd reason I did not find yours. I also sent a mail to Eric, hope it works.

  • 2 Home Interior Design // Nov 6, 2015 at 4:16 am

    excellent submit, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

  • 3 lawyer // Nov 22, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Good site! I really love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS feed which must do the trick! Have a great day!

  • 4 Iris Queen // Nov 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I am often to running a blog and i really admire your content material. The article has actually peaks my curiosity. I am going to bookmark your website and preserve checking for new information.

  • 5 legacy definition // Feb 6, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you. This is really a wonderful website.

  • 6 curious gorge // Feb 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    hire ireland

  • 7 EusebioTRary // Feb 17, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Im not really that much of a online reader to tell the truth however, your blogs very nice, keep
    it up! I’ll proceed to bookmark your website to return down the road.

    Many thanks

    My webpage – EusebioTRary

  • 8 snack box jakarta // Feb 28, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  • 9 roulette rules casino // Mar 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    This info is priceless. When can I find out more?|

  • 10 Verena Alvarez // Nov 3, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    And then Clint’s subconscious gave him that final boost of confidence to go all the way with me. He had a dream of his dead dad, my sexy Uncle Clinton, telling my cousin he had to put both our families back in order by fucking us all. Me first, since we were in so much love. He popped my cherry last night. And then we learned the shocking news—his mom and my mom were lovers. They were sisters and lovers.

  • 11 Candis Quint // Nov 6, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    “So we’re going to get you nice and juicy for your first time,” Mom moaned and shoved two fingers into my sister’s hot, tight twat. Melody moaned, shuddering as Mom licked her tongue up through her taint and between the cheeks of her ass. “We’ll use spit and pussy juices to get you lubed up.”

  • 12 Sibyl Millian // Nov 7, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    And I was eager for it because Clint wanted it.

  • 13 Takako Cooperman // Nov 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Ravished them.

  • 14 cheap tickets // Jan 16, 2017 at 8:32 am

    Hi there I am so delighted I found your website, I
    really found you by error, while I was researching on Google for something else,
    Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a marvelous post and a all round interesting blog (I also love
    the theme/design), I don’t have time to read
    it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also added your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the
    awesome work.

  • 15 click here // Feb 10, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for the good writeup. It if truth be told used to be a amusement account it. Look advanced to far brought agreeable from you! However, how can we be in contact?|

  • 16 grawerowanie // Jun 7, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Hello there, I found your blog by way of Google even as searching for a similar topic,
    your site came up, it appears great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hello there, simply was alert to your blog via Google, and located that
    it is really informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate in the event you continue this in future.
    Numerous other people shall be benefited from your writing.
    Cheers!

  • 17 Google Opinion Rewards MOD APK // Jun 19, 2017 at 2:02 am

    This actually answered my problem, thanks!

Leave a Comment