Our final meal of our Austin visit was Sunday lunch at The Salt Lick in Round Rock, which is north of Austin. The original location is south of Austin in Driftwood. Their website doesn't appear to make any mention of the north-side location. We had to call the Driftwood place to get the phone number for the other.
To get to The Salt Lick in Round Rock:
1. Head north on I-35 from Austin
2. Take exit 253 for US-79
3. Turn right onto US-79 AKA E Palm Valley Blvd (heading east)
4. Just past 4 miles in and The Salt Lick will be on your left just in front of the Round Rock Express Ballpark.
The smell of BBQ smoke seeps through the car's air vents as we searched for a parking spot.
This location is similar to the original in several aspects. In addition to wood dominating the interior and exterior decor, diners see the kitchen in full view as they pass to enter the main dining area. However, a big difference from the Driftwood location is that this one is not BYOB. This was a very disheartening lesson to learn first hand.
My wife ordered their pork ribs and beef brisket combo plate. The ribs were tender and easily came off the bone as we bit into them. Notice the beautiful pink coloring through out the meat. This permeating pink is a sign of low and slow smoking. The brisket was soft enough for folks without teeth. I once heard of another BBQ joint in TX whose slogan is "Don't need teef to eat our beef." Though that motto doesn't officially belong to The Salt Lick, you could probably fool a first-timer. The folks at The Salt Lick really know how to smoke their meats.
I ordered their special, which was a plate of beef ribs, beans, and au gratin potatoes. Before I get into the meat, these potatoes were amazing. That's saying a lot coming from a guy that isn't big on the pale root. These had plenty of butter and cheese to win me over. The meat on the ribs didn't "fall off the bone," which is expected of beef ribs. The ribs' connective tissues were tough, almost as if waxed paper was Superglued onto bone. This usually means one of two things, the ribs were cooked too quickly or the ribs came from an old steer. From the tenderness of the actual meat, I concluded it was just a geriatric bovine. This was a small price to pay for the richly marbled meat that came with ribs. Through ribs are typically messy, a dexterous diner could successfully eat pork ribs with a knife a fork. Beef ribs, on the other hand, requires a expectation of and commitment to saucy, oily hands, lips, chin, and, occasionally, shirt and pants. I'm proud to say that I extracted all the meat possible from these ribs. The remainder went to my dogs who acted like Christmas came early.
For dessert, we ordered a couple of their sinfully delicious blackberry cobbler. It comes out in a small bowl where a warm blackberry bottom layer is topped with a buttery cornmeal-based crust. Since the first time I had this years ago, it's been a must-have for every visit. There's no fotos of it because the dessert came out while I stepped away and the others at the table weren't patient enough to wait. But don't worry, I'll definitely visit again and will be prepared.