I was in an airplane one day flying from Austin, Texas to Reno, Nevada. I sat next to two guys from Austin and started talking about how amazing the barbecue restaurants were in Austin. One of my personal favorites is Salt Lick in Driftwood, Texas which is about an hour outside of Austin, Texas but well worth the trip.
The story of Salt Lick started in 1867 when fourteen-year-old orphan Bettie Howard met a surveyor, James Howard. James was passing through Desoto, Mississippi when Bettie asked if he would marry her. She never promised to love him, however, she assured him she would be a good wife and bare his children.
The two of them set out to Texas by crossing the gulf on a boat with their wagon broken down in pieces. Once ashore in Indianola, Texas, they put their wagon back together and started for Driftwood, Texas. During their trip, Bettie would barbecue meat by searing it the cooking it slowly over coals. Once they settled down in their now home, Bettie and James had nine children over the years.
Fast forward to Bettie’s great-grandson, Scott Roberts. Scott was born in Kauai and his parents, Thurman and Hisako, moved their family back to Driftwood where they could spend more time with family.
Thurman opened Salt Lick in 1967 with his two sons. They had built an enormous barbecue pit and on Thursday night would start slow cooking meats just like Bettie had for the wagon train so many years ago.
Today, Salt Lick is one of the most popular places to get an amazing meal. When my husband and I were staying in Austin for a few months, we would look at each other and say “Salt Lick” simultaneously when looking for a place to eat lunch. They have a beautiful picnic area that is large enough to host weddings and events.
If you go, be sure to get there early as the lines are huge! The restaurant is in two large buildings and features family style seating. They don’t serve alcohol, but you are welcome to bring in your own. We have seen people wheel in an ice chest full of beer and wine. There are over eight thousand reviews online for Salt Like with a four-point six-star rating.
Back to my plane story. The two guys I was flying with whole heartedly recommended Franklin Barbecue located at 900 E. 11th Street in Austin, Texas. They said that it was a must get there as early as people stand in line for hours to eat their barbecue.
Owner and pitmaster, Aaron Franklin got his humble beginnings by hosting backyard barbecues with his wife in their back yard. In 2009, they set up a tiny barbecue trailer next to an interstate. Their popularity grew so quickly that they decided to open Franklin Barbecue in a permanent structure.
Nobody can argue with the over six thousand six hundred internet posts raving about their food. We personally never got the chance to try Franklin Barbecue while we were there. However, if you ever get a chance to go, don’t hesitate.
Terry Black’s Barbecue on 1003 Barton Springs road in downtown Austin, Texas called to my husband and I one day when we were at Lady Bird park enjoying the weather and taking our dog for a walk. The smell of smoked meat was overwhelming to our senses, so we headed to their establishment.
Terry Black’s was not what we expected when we got there and saw there was a line out the door. There is seating inside and out, so I grabbed a table outside – as my dog could be on the patio – and waited for my husband to bring the food.
We were not disappointed with the quality. The meats fell off the bone of the ribs and the sausage was very tasty. I am sure this business owned by two brothers will meet your expectations of true Texas barbecue. There are close to three thousand positive posts on the world wide web and that says a lot about how loyal their clientele is.