My father attended grad school at The University of Texas in the late ’60s, long before urban sprawl began encroaching on the surrounding Hill Country. Every spring, my father, brother and I converge on Austin to gorge on barbecue, driving through Hill Country to eat at many of the same restaurants that were available to my father forty years ago. Before driving to the airport and heading our separate ways, we always stop at The Salt Lick, a now legendary barbecue restaurant that has reduced two family members to tears.
Last year, we visited the Salt Lick on Mother’s Day, which led to almost an hour wait. This time, we arrived earlier and got a seat right away.
We ordered family style dinner ($18.95 per person), all you can eat pork ribs, brisket and pork sausage. As always, the brisket was luscious. The ribs could have been meatier, but were practically lacquered, with caramelized skins. The sausage had taut skin and massive flavor.
After eating five other barbecue meals at some of the most highly lauded spots in Texas Hill Country, we still have big respect for The Salt Lick. Sure, the Lick is developing a national presence, and they even have a booth in the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport food court, but consistently high quality has kept the original location a deserving gastro-destination.