I remember the first time I went to The Salt Lick just outside Austin, TX. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I am not a BBQ junkie by any means, I can throw down if need be, but I’m not one of those BBQ nuts. The Salt Lick is one of the very few, like I can count on one hand if I was missing my trigger finger few, restaurants in the US of Eh that has an open BBQ pit inside the restaurant! Just writing about it is making me hungry. Family style seating, that’s bench seating if you don’t already know, paper plates, plastic forks, stacks of napkins and loaves of white bread are already on the table. God damn, I love this place! – DAN
The roots of The Salt Lick run back to Mississippi in the mid-1800s. Scott Roberts, the current owner of the Salt Lick, had a great-grandmother, Bettie Howard, who came to this land from Desoto, Miss. in 1867. James Howard was a surveyor passing through Desoto. She said that if he would marry her and take her to Texas, she would bear and raise all his children.
James took Bettie up on her offer. After crossing the gulf from Biloxi with their wagon in pieces on a boat, they landed in Indianola, Texas and reassembled their wagon.
On the trip by wagon train to Driftwood, Bettie barbequed meat by searing it and then slow cooking it over coals – the same method the family uses today. When Bettie arrived in Central Texas, she proved to be a woman of her word. She populated her new hometown of Driftwood with nine Howard children
One day he took out a yellow legal pad and wrote down 54 things the family could do and stay in Driftwood. The idea for the Salt Lick was 14th on the list.
But in 1967, Thurman, who was known for his delicious barbeque at family reunions, decided he would cook meat for paying customers. Thurman and his two sons built a huge barbeque pit. Thurman would go to the pit on Thursday night and start cooking. He stayed for the weekend, sleeping on a cot, until all the meat sold. He kept coming home earlier and earlier. After a few months, the boys and Thurman built a little screen porch around the pit. The Salt Lick has grown from there.The Roberts family now serves mouthwatering barbeque to thousands of folks each week.