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BBQ near Austin

From what I've seen on this board, folks recommend going outside of Austin for the best BBQ. A few years ago, we went somewhere in the Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio to a great BBQ place, but I no longer remember the name. I know it was in a dry county, and folks brought coolers of beer, and it was in the middle of nowhere. Could anyone point me back in that direction, or somewhere else with equally great BBQ? We'll be coming to Austin from San Antonio for a weekend, and going back to SA afterwards, so something that's roughly close (say 50 miles or so) of either city would be great.

Thanks, folks, and if you ever need advice on midwest Ohio dining, I'll be glad to reciprocate!

Cheers
Niki

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  1. you're probably talking about the Salt Lick in Driftwood. It's not a dry country (don't think there are any dry counties in Central Texas) but it is BYOB. Most posters on here will tell you to avoid Salt Lick for the food, but I think it's decent enough and the atmosphere makes up for it. I think there pork ribs are pretty tasty, but the brisket is just so-so. They also have better sides than most bbq restaurants. If you really want to sample some of the best bbq in the state, head over to Lockhart or Luling, both of which are east of I-35 between Austin and San Antonio, or head northwest from Austin to Llano. Have fun.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ftf

      how long is the drive to lockhart or luling out of austin? and if there i'm not going to be able to get out of the city, where would you recommend i go?

      1. re: daimyo

        Luling is around an hour away. Lockhart is about 45 minutes out from downtown (as is Taylor).

        Check out this thread for barbecue in the city: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/336293

        1. re: Knoblauch

          From Downtown, Lockhart is more like 30 minutes, Luling about an hour, and Taylor about 45 minutes. I make these drives with some regularity. Don't speed through Mustang Ridge (about mid-way between Austin and Lockhart) and you'll have a happy trip.

    2. Yes, you're right - it was the Salt Lick in Driftwood, and I liked the ribs and the sausage. But maybe this trip we'll have to try to hit Lockhart or Luling; where do you recommend?

      Thanks in advance!

      7 Replies
      1. re: Niki in Dayton

        Between Lockhart and Luling, I would opt for Lockhart. Luling has some good BBQ too, but Between Kreuz's, Smitty's and Black's in Lockhart, you can't really go wrong. Especially if you haven't been.

        1. re: Homero

          Thanks; I did a search for Luling and Lockhart on this board and we plan to hit Lockhart; I'll report back after.

          Cheers
          Niki

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            As a Boston Yankee, I have to suggest that you go to both Luling and Lockhart. In Luling, try City Market for some ribs and sausage and then drive on back to Lockhart (about 10- 15 minutes) for some brisket and sausage at Smitty's and/or Black's. Since you order by the slice, link or pound, you don't have to over do it and you can sample a little from each. It is truly barbecue heaven. Agree that Salt Lick , while a fun place, is inferior barbecue to the others.

            1. re: Northender

              I googled Lockhart and Luling BBQ and found a bunch of links about the "texas BBQ trail" which included info about the vendors, hours, etc. Our plan right now is to hit both places on a Saturday afternoon, sort of on the way from SA to Austin. Then I think a late-ish dinner of burgers at El Camino, and maybe Sunday a visit to Little Thailand. I appreciate all the advice from the hounds on this board!

              1. re: Niki in Dayton

                If your plan is Luling, Lockhart, Casino El Camino, and Little Thailand, then let me be the first to say:

                You have planned an AWESOME chow trip! Congrats, and best of luck!

        2. Salt Lick is in a dry precinct so it's BYOB. It's down on the good BBQ scale though. Probably not in the top 10 for meat but it definitely has the best sides, cobbler, and experience.

          1. I'd also nix Salt Lick...weird sauce if nothing else.

            Considering that Luling only adds a little over an hour to the pilgrimage I would include City Market. 2nd best brisket next to Black's, 2nd best sausage next to Smitty's. Don't ask for utensils unless you like dirty looks...

            1. Note -- some of the best BBQ places concentrate on getting the meat ready for lunch hours, so they either close early, run out, or have overcooked leftovers by dinnertime.

              Also note -- many of the best are closed on Mondays, holidays, or even Sundays so it is best to call and check ahead.

              I'm a tourist with family in Austin so I get there once a year or so and have sampled several of the major local BBQ places. Tastiest by far, but across the tracks and decidedly divy, is Sam's. Brisket was great, chicken ok, and will get the ribs next time.