Places to Eat

The Salt Lick: Cooking Up Family History with a Side of Barbecue

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address

 

 

After hearing Salt Lick Barbecue owner Scott Roberts’ story, as we did in January, you could imagine his father Thurman saying, “Put a fork in it. We’re done!” And I’m not talking about the meat.

Thurman was readying himself to build the pit in the mid-1960s that would eventually hiss, crackle, and smoke its way to fame, delighting thousands of barbecue pilgrims every year. He wanted to make sure he could comfortably reach the round pit’s center from any angle. So, he made one mark on the ground with his boot heel and another mark reaching forward with his barbeque fork. He then enlisted Scott to help build his dream.

The Salt Lick: Cooking Up Family History with a Side of Barbecue

Photo: John Spaulding

After they collected enough rock, sand, and gravel on the property, they laid a concrete slab, and built a small structure with a temporary wooden wall to enclose the pit. That small space originally sat 12 hungry Texans but included no electricity or running water. As the eatery grew, Thurman wanted Scott not to change certain things about the restaurant. While mostly honoring his father’s wishes throughout the years, Scott broke only two of them—he added telephones and air conditioning. His customers continue to be grateful for the latter.

Those humble smokehouse origins began over 50 years ago, when the drive from Austin to little Driftwood was nearly three hours, now a half-hour drive away. “My father was an optimist,” Scott says. “He would move that wooden wall and expand the seating every time the wait got to be as long as an hour. He said, ‘If anybody were to honor me by coming all this way, I don’t want them to wait much longer, and I’m not going to run out of food.’” He was true to his word.

The Salt Lick: Cooking Up Family History with a Side of Barbecue
Photo: John Spaulding. Original interior of Salt Lick building. (Photo taken before coronavirus guidelines enacted)

Page 1 of 3:123