Sunday, March 15, 2009

BBQ Road Trip Day 3

Before we get to the BBQ analysis, there are a few more comments I'd like to bring to your attention. This morning, I noticed I had a new blog follower (Hi Katy). I now have 11. I told Wes and Leighton, jokingly, that if I can only get one more I could call myself the blog Jesus. Wes pointed out it was Sunday. I was undeterred.

On the way to Salt Lick, we noticed a Hindu temple. Leighton said that they have all sorts of weird "stuff" out here. I raised my hands in indignation.

So, on a beautiful Austin day, we drove to Driftwood to eat at Salt Lick. It's not in the top 50 but it is one of the places people talk about in the Austin tradition, along with Stubb's, Rudy's, Green Mesquite, etc. Anyway, on to the reviews.

Leighton: Let me start off by saying I have been to Salt Lick before, but it is an Austin BBQ staple so we had to add it to the list. Salt Lick had an uphill battle because it is a whole different category of BBQ joint. The others we have been to have all been small town places and Salt Lick is more along the mass produced BBQ line. That being said, the ribs and sausage were quite good. However, the brisket was not near as good as the other places. Salt Lick's BBQ sauce is fantastic. It has a strong honey mustard flavor to it, which I love. And unlike everyone else, I liked the habanero version of the sauce better. There were several negatives though. The service was not good, and I am big on service. The sides (potatoes, beans, and cole slaw) were not very good either. Also, the cobbler was just decent, but still cost like 7 bucks. One good note is that Salt Lick is BYOB, which added a bit. Overall I rank it a 6.5. Salt Lick is decent, but it could not compare with the bastions of BBQ that we have experienced thus far.

Jon: I've also had Salt Lick before, though I hadn't been to the actual restaurant. We get catered barbecue at my job every now and then, and Salt Lick has been head and shoulders above the others. After visiting Salt Lick proper I may want to stick to getting it closer to home. The food was good, but while I don't usually care about "the atmosphere and the attitude" when I go out to eat, Salt Lick suffers in comparison to yesterday's trip to Snow's. I won't go into great detail, but there's something to be said for eating barbecue off of butcher paper rather than a plastic three-compartment plate. The ribs were very good, and while the brisket was also good it wasn't nearly as tender as Snow's. I liked the sausage a little more than yesterday's, though there were a few pieces where the casing was tough. There also, unfortunately, wasn't any pork (at least not as part of the meal we had). The potatoes and cole slaw we had were, in a word, bland. The real standout at Salt Lick is the sauce. It's a little thicker than the sauce at Snow's and has a good balance of tangy and sweet. In the end, when I compare the meat at the two places I've had the privilege to visit on this strip, Salt Lick is a level below Snow's. Rating: 7

Wes: Great for the massive quantities of food they produce, but not in the same league as the other joints on this tour. 6

Vik: I also had not been to Salt Lick before, but had heard good things and had seen it on TV before. The ribs were very tender and fell off the bone. Sausage was very good, as was the sauce and bread. The brisket was pretty good but not anywhere near as tender as the other places. Don't get me wrong, it was good but just not fall apart tender. 7 out of 10.

See the photo above. Wes came up with a great idea for Super Bowl and other such viewing parties. A piece of brisket, along with sauce, a pickle and onion on top of one piece of bread. Not the whole sandwich, but open faced. Keep in mind this "snacker" is to be eaten in one bite. Don't try and eat a bigger piece in one bite, never mind if somebody says no way you can eat that and you say sounds like a wager to me and you eat it all and when you try to chew it you nearly vomit. Don't do that. Make smaller pieces. Trust me.

In other news, we played mini golf in the Barton Springs area. All I'm saying is, when we played a dollar per hole, I ended up winning $16. I'm just saying.

Finally, we went to eat dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant named Dong Nai. Jon begged me to act like an adult. I did pretty good until the food came out. I remarked "here comes a boat load of food." I did not mean to (hello Thai), but will admit that I did, nonetheless, make a joke about boat people. For that, I'm sorry. On a final note, that was one of the most PC things I said all day. None of those can be published here; this is a family blog.

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