Wander Over to Salt Lick in Driftwood for BBQ with a View

It's not quite in Austin but it's not so far away that people would skip the drive out there. Salt Lick in Driftwood (Texas Hill Country) has more than just tasty barbecue to keep you there; it's set up to accommodate quite a lot of folks who might want to spend special occasions there on account of its ideal layout. It's beautiful out that way actually, and with the Salt Lick Cellars next door, you'll have a grand time. We went out here after an ATV adventure with a group of people and partook in the Roberts' family recipes (from the mid-1800s!) wholeheartedly.

One thing to note as you make your way to this Salt Lick location is that there are plenty of signs to help you point to the right entrance. If that doesn't work, well just follow your nose...or the many, many cars turning down a certain driveway. The parking lot is massive, and considering the amount of seating on-site, it makes sense. With the thousands that descend upon the restaurant weekly, Salt Lick has a lot of barbecue to make and mouths to feed. There is always a line no matter what time of day you go. Maybe that's also why the grounds have some quirky parts to them like a seemingly random Tardis near the pick-up area. You probably want something to look at as you loiter about, sniffing in the smell of smoking meat.

If you can't wait without quenching your thirst, make your way around the back area to where they have plenty of wine and cold beer. You can wait among the century-old oak trees and rest on any of their multiple wooden picnic tables while listening to live music. If you're curious like us, you might even just peek into the restaurant itself where several open pits of barbecuing meat are visible. The sight is enough to make your mouth water (see top photo).

When we finally got seated, it was difficult to make a decision with such great options before us. To be fair, there weren't really a large number of choices but everything sounded wonderful. In the end, we opted to go all in and get their Family Style for the table which puts you out $24.95 per person but pits you against an all-you-can-eat situation of beef brisket, sausage, pork ribs, potato salad, coleslaw and beans. Bread, pickles and onions are also unlimited and available on request. How does one say no to AYCE barbecue? Everyone dug so quickly into the moist brisket which was tender, smoky, juicy, and oh-so-satisfying. The pork ribs too were moist and flavorful though; while we didn't add sauce to the brisket, we could with the ribs and it merely enhanced the flavor overall. The sausage was hefty and a tad salty so we ate those sparingly (or as little sandwiches between bread) but still quite tasty.

I was also quite impressed with the sides accompanying the feast. The potato salad was unlike any that I had had before because it was, first of all, orange-brown and more savory than not. Could they have mixed some of the sauce into it? Regardless, it was the right amount of both smooth and chunky so acted as a binder in between bites of slow-cooked meat. Their housemade pickles and onions helped cut through the fattiness of the meat as well and were not overwhelmingly acidic. The beans had a brightness to them that made it okay to keep scooping more onto the plate. My favorite of all the sides was their coleslaw however because of its simplicity; it was thinly sliced, crunchy, and well-seasoned.

As we were fitting to burst, we ordered individual servings of the Blackberry and Peach Cobbler dessert options ($5.95 - with scoop of ice cream, additional $1.00) which were enormous. They were so rich in their own right, neither too sweet nor fatty, and required ice cream to finish up after overindulging in meat. I think everyone preferred the blackberry over the peach between the two. If you want to dive your face into the meats at this Salt Lick location which has stood ground since 1967, find them at 18300 FM 1826, Driftwood, TX 78619 and make sure to give yourself plenty of time. There is always a line!

Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook here.

The Salt Lick Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato