Anyone who has ever been to Texas, or even followed the Texas food scene, knows that in Texas, we have no shortage of one thing: Barbecue. Barbecue is something of a source of pride for us Texans, and the only thing we love more than talking about barbecue is eating it.
This weekend, I went to one of Austin’s most famous barbecue joints, The Saltlick, to celebrate a dear friend’s 24th birthday. You may recognize the name from The Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, where Bobby Flay named Saltlick his favorite beef BBQ ribs. Or maybe from The New York Times’ “31 Places to Go This Summer”. Created in 1967, The Saltlick is a small family establishment that makes some of the most delicious barbecue in the city. Today was no different – just take one bite of the pork ribs, and you can instantly tell that they have been slow cooking on the BBQ pit for hours and hours. And while the barbecue is mouth watering and delicious (just see below), it’s even better when when it’s being eaten with great friends.
Saltlick is great (and the scenery can’t be beat), but its not the only must-eat barbecue place in Austin. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out a few of these other Austin staples:
Franklin Barbecue – Opened in 2009 as a food trailer, Franklin Barbecue became an instant BBQ sensation in Austin, forcing owner Aaron Franklin to open a brick and mortar location in March of 2011. It’s quickly earning a reputation both within the city limits and the nation – in 2010, Bon Appetit named Franklin the best BBQ in America. If you want to try some of their tantalizing grub, you better plan to get there early. Franklin’s only makes a certain amount of food each day, and you’ll typically find a line around the block.
Lockhart – While Lockhart is actually a town rather than a BBQ restaurant, it’s well known for being a BBQ lover’s haven. Only 45 minutes outside of Austin, Lockhart is home to four rivaling BBQ joints – Blacks, Chisolm Trail, Kreuz, and Smittys, each one a Lockhart legend, and each one known for something unique. My personal favorite? Kreuz BBQ because of its simplicity. Your meat comes on a piece of butcher paper – no silverware, no condiments – so it really gives you the opportunity to appreciate the meat. If you’ve never been to Lockhart before, it’s definitely worth an afternoon trip – you can even make a detour to Shiner, Texas for a tour of the Shiner Brewery.
My list of must-try BBQ places could go on and one, but I’d rather know: what are some of your favorite barbecue haunts? I’m always looking for a new place to try, so let me know in the comments section.