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The Salt Lick BBQ

PHOTOS: michaël stone/Flickr

Barbecue isn’t just a food group. It’s an experience. And the single best overall BBQ experience in Austin (which isn’t actually in Austin) is The Salt Lick.

There’s nothing better than the feeling of driving out of Austin city limits and speeding down the empty, grass-lined highway on your way to The Salt Lick. (Make sure to plan a pit stop to fill your cooler with beers - in true communal Texas style, The Salt Lick is BYOB.) During the entire 45-minute drive, we always feel like we’re 12 years old on the way to Schlitterbahn (or whatever local waterpark you had growing up) asking our parents if we’re there yet. And when we pull up to the gravel parking lot, we can barely stop ourselves from sprinting to the building.

Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Upon entering The Salt Lick, you’re immediately greeted by a giant pit: piles of meat on top of the grill, all kinds of sausage hanging from the top, and the most delicious smells you will ever smell. The good news is you can’t f*ck this up. The Salt Lick is very easily in the conversation of the best BBQ in the state, and any order here will be a good one. Just make sure you have the foundation of some brisket and some sausage on your plate, and the rest is up to you. Take full advantage of the free loaves bread you’ll be given and load up on the excellent sauce you’ll want to put on everything.

This family-run establishment has been around forever, and whenever you visit you’ll feel like you’re part of the family, too. The Salt Lick offers an epic day of gluttony, and while it’s a great day trip for two, it’s best enjoyed with a crew. We’ve used it for birthdays, graduations, and reunions of all kind - but in the end, you need no reason to come to The Salt Lick. Just get there soon.

Food Rundown

Brisket

Brisket is an art form in Texas, and these folks have perfected their craft. Get yourself a half pound. This is the starter plate here.

The Rancher

It’s a plate of sausage, brisket, turkey, and pork ribs. You get the full spectrum of what’s offered here without overcommitting - this is the way to go for first-timers.

Family Style

Drop 25 bucks down and get all-you-can-eat meat, potato salad, cole slaw, and beans. This is the pro order.

Brisket Sandwich

Chopped or sliced is your call. We go sliced, and it might be our favorite brisket sandwich anywhere.

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