The Salt Lick Barbecue Sauce.
The Salt Lick Barbecue Sauce is the one ingredient we use from start to finish with our food. We use it before we start to cook meats, we use it to baste while we’re cooking, and we serve it at every table as the perfect condiment for your meal. We even included it in a few of our side dishes as well.
Long before we started to bottle and sell it, people would stop by the restaurant and request a to-go sampler of it. Now we sell it at the restaurant, in stores, and online. I’ve had people tell me that when they can’t get Salt Lick barbecue, they’ll at least use their home stash of our sauce to doctor up barbecue from somewhere else. We use a vinegar-based sauce rather than a tomato-based sauce, which would burn and add an acrid taste to the barbecue.
Ours is essentially a Southeastern style of sauce that has been Texa-fied with a list of ingredients – cayenne and chili powder, to name a few. When the roots of this sauce left the Carolinas with my relatives in the 1870s, I am sure it had no cayenne pepper in it. But over the years it has taken on more of the terroir from which it is served.
Excerpt from The Salt Lick Cookbook, A Story of Land, Family, and Love. By Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy
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What makes The Salt Lick so unique?
The Bar-B-Que sauce has no tomatoes so it won’t burn or become bitter. It does have sugar – a Southeastern tradition – so it will easily caramelize. We sear the meat and then move it away from the hottest part of the fire to cook slowly. We finish our products over an open fire fed by live oak wood.
Live oak is the most solid and heavy oak wood. It burns cleaner, more uniform, and the smoke particulates are finer. It gives a more distinct and lighter flavor and doesn’t become gritty on the meat. We don’t use mesquite because it has too much tar in it, and we feel it creates a bitter taste. When the fire flares, we throw into the flames pecan hulls soaked in water.
We put sauce on the meat four times. The high sugar and acid content causes it to caramelize on the outside. Basting and caramelizing work to hold moisture in. Sauce drips and hits the coals and the fire flares. The smoke from these flares gives the meat a unique flavor.
The first recipes for the side dishes were originated before refrigeration so they come from simple and fresh ingredients. In a normal year we cook over 750,000 pounds of brisket, 350,000 pounds of pork ribs, 200,000 pounds of sausage and more chickens than you want to count. The chicken is the only place we broke from Thurman’s tradition. He would never allow chicken on his pit.
Briskets are cooked 20-24 hours and pork ribs 2.5-3 hours. We hold to the hot-and-fast school of thought on ribs. We use high temperatures and lots of basting to keep them moist. The longer you leave them on the fire the more they dry out. They are not like a thick brisket. Sausages are smoked for 3 hours with 45 minutes on direct heat until they swell and spit juice. They are a combination of beef with pork for taste. Ribs are traditional full spare ribs.
We stop the cooking process on meats before they are finished and refrigerate them for at least 24 hours. This process increases flavor. It is similar to what you do with spaghetti sauce. The problem with doing this at home is that you have to get the temperature of the meat to 38 degrees within four hours.
Can I make reservations?
Reservations for the Salt Lick Driftwood restaurant are available through RESY.
For reservations at our Round Rock location, please call the restaurant directly at (512) 386-1044.
How is meat delivered?
Our meats have been fully cooked on our famous pits and are then frozen and vacuum sealed. To ensure freshness we ship the meats using FedEx. Same day order fulfillment is not available. Central Texas orders may be shipped via Ground while all other orders will need to be shipped 2nd business day. Next business day is available for many zip codes at an additional charge. FedEx may deliver 9AM – 7PM or later during the holidays. There is no way to determine the time of your delivery, it depends on where you fall on your local FedEx route.