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Jan 4, 2012 02:42 PM

Agree strongly--Bobby Flay, you got a Texas wife, you should be ashamed of your raves!

Very very telling that so many people from say New York--who know nothing at all about BBQ, come to this place and out come the hyberbole! Paul Schafer, David Letterman, I'm talking to you. Cheryl Crow? I know, between the pilates in L.A., whatever...

The truest posts here are from those who acknowledge what I just said as true, 'this Yankee has never...' and/or notice that Salt Lick is much more theme park than great BBQ restaurant. and sauce? Who really thinks the sauce is that good at Salt Lick? Really? Why?

Just got back from Salt Lick, and my gosh, Rudy's is SO Much better. MUCH more tender brisket, BETTER sauce, side dishes are night and day better--my gosh. The generic potato thing Salt Lick does from the ice cream scoop is like what one would expect in prison. It's not really mashed potatoes and it's not really potato salad. It's yucky. The cole slaw? Everyone around makes it better. I did try the beef ribs--but I was unable to gnaw the meat off the bone without use of a steak knife, so I sent them back. They still tasted like they were smoked a week ago. Salt Lick does make okay babybacks, but not nearly as good as Rudy's.

My theory is that Salt Lick is successfully pushed by marketing phenoms to unsuspecting sheep who like to stand in very long barely moving lines and go 'baaah baaah...saw it on Food Network...baaah baaah, best ever!' It's kind of like the Emperor's clothes.

You in Austin now? take your dang pictures in front of Salt Lick's open pit if you must. But if you want great BBQ go to Rudy's. If you're in KC, Smokin' Joes and KC Masterpiece (and so many more) have nothing at all to worry about with Salt Lick...

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  1. If you are in Austin, why bother with Rudy's. It's a quick drive to Lockhart. And of course, there's Franklin's right there in Austin, if you really do like to queue up.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lambowner

      Because I don't live in Austin and lack your local knowledge. Thanks for the tips, though, cause I will be back.

      BTW: what don't you like about Rudy's? Is it the connected gas-stations, their original creamed corn side, or that the lines move along relatively well?

      1. re: RealSlimK

        The Rudy's I've been to (San Antonio/New Braunfels) have had incredibly tough brisket. The other meats I've had (sausage, ribs, chicken) are very good. Can anyone verify that Rudy's has a commissary that cooks everything and distributes the food to the stores?

        1. re: RealSlimK

          We Tried Rudy's in Austin and really didn't care for it. I don't know if its the way they served it or the little plastic cups with the coleslaw and potato salad and beans were served. It just didn't appeal to us. We now have a new Rudy's in Arlington and We haven't gone back. It just wasn't the best we've had.

          1. re: justaladyintx

            Justaladyintx: I think when you post in a debate about BBQ with comments about 'the way they served it or the little plastic cups being unappealing' a lot of people from Southern Texas are nodding their heads and saying to themselves..."Dallas people." Are we talking about BBQ or your favorite Jerry Jones plastic surgery options? and really, not very helpful, that you did not cite your prferred BBQ er, serving style place...with its er more superior to-go boxes and whatnot...

          2. re: RealSlimK

            Rudy's in San Antonio (the location on I-10) is just OK, in my opinion. The only thing really that really stands out to me is the creamed corn which is amazing. The brisket can be good but also can be too fatty or too dry. The ribs are too peppery but OK. Sausage is fine but nothing to travel for. Chicken, the one time I got it, was mushy.

            Last time I was there - last summer - the line was 40 minutes and it was HOT. When I got close to the front of the line I could hear the cutter telling customers there was no brisket. I was really annoyed that they not announce that to the line so people didn't stand around in 100 degree heat for no reason. They did let us come back in 15 minutes and skip the line to get brisket . .but that was not fun at all since the angry, hot people waiting in line just assumed we were cutting and gave us seriously dirty looks.

            I prefer Harmon's or Smokey Mo's to Rudy's.

          3. re: Lambowner

            I haven't been to a Rudy's but I live in Houston where good BBQ is scarce and Rudy's has been described as the best of the not so great BBQ in Houston, so I intend to visit sometime. It is also a chain, which is an auto-neg. Franklin's in Austin is known as the best BBQ in the state. A line forms long before it opens in the morning and the BBQ sells out before noon. Stopped by there in November hoping to score some, but we were too late. As an aside, we were driving around after that and stopped at a BBQ place called Green Mesquite that was bad to the point of inedible. What a terrible let-down from the anticipated Franklin's. So far, Smitty's in Lockhart is my hands down favorite of the Central Texas BBQ places I've tried.

            Agreed on Salt Lick, it is over hyped mediocre food. The environment is fun though.


            1. re: Lambowner

              Thanks very much--of course I've heard about Lockhart, but haven't been yet. The 2 Rudy's I've been to are in North Austin and Cedar Park, and both of those are consistently great--no worries about tough brisket there. What about their creamed corn, though? I know on Yelp, you read people say things like "who cares about the sides?" for BBQ places, but I do. Like the fried okra at Bubbas in Ennis. Worth a try, right? even though it's not as good as the creamed corn at Rudy's, and the cole slaw and potato salad are also really good. Sauce is even a little bit hot.

              So, I would not agree that being considered part of a 'chain' is an automatic negative. Maybe it is appreciated by folks such as myself, too old now to be considered slacker/hipsters with hours of free time on our hands to stand in line for any food, no matter HOW great. You don't have to stand in line for hours at the best of KC, I wonder why it's necessary in Austin? This is what I worry. If the line is like that everyday, the restaurant could add a cashier or 3. the wait some kind of perverted snob appeal thing? Is there a certain kind of person who thinks that the line and wait itself means the restaurant must be good? and if the line is shorter, or moves more quickly, how less cool is his hipster suffering? Just asking. I have 3 little kids, and wouldn't wait 2 hours in any line--not even at Disneyland. They have fast-passes now, you see, in deference to their customers.

              p.s. I played football at Spring Branch.

              1. re: RealSlimK

                I have wondered why Franklin's owners don't expand to satisfy the demand. Maybe they just don't like money. That would be my business plan if I had their recipe. I'm not going to stand in line either. We arrived at 11 a.m. and the line was maybe 50 yards down the street. I like Q, but not that much.

          4. KC Masterpiece closed a few years ago. Terrible barbecue. I'm no fan of Smokin Joe's either.

            6 Replies
            1. I have a comment to rexster314, regarding his charge that Rudy's had "incredibly tough brisket." Rudy's is the one BBQ place that I know of which bring you what you just ordered--without sauce on it, for your approval before you pay, and ask "Is this okay?". The buyer can even ask the employee to carefully 'fork' a piece of meat apart. Wouldn't you be able to tell an 'incredibly tough brisket'? Rudy's also offers a choice, extra lean or moist (for higher fat content). These two facts cast doubt in my mind on Rex's criticism.

              1. re: RealSlimK

                Never been offered anything like that you describe. It's just put in the tray after ordering. Of course it's given to you without sauce, sauces are all on the table. Never got the "moist" don't like all the fat. I get the lean which is the "flat" of the brisket. I would also question RealSlimK about raving about Rudy's when he/she has never been to Lockhart to compare. Cast all you want.

                1. re: rexster314

                  Fair enough, Rex, different locations, different managers perhaps. But please, be generous like Lambowner and 'name names' concerning your favorites (such as 'Smittys'). Lockhart is a town. A very famous BBQ mecca town, but still. I will try it one day--last time I was in Austin, it was 7 days. Maybe the same next time! Salt Lick has already been eliminated...(I suspect Food Network liked that one because it accommodated all of their cameras and lights--and had that pit for centerpiece where Mr. Flay could rhapsodize.

                  As an aside, I notice on Yelp (which is all non-scientific opinion, same as here, true), that the quibble that comes up about Franklin's other than length and duration of the line is 'the fat' content. My editorial comment? The kids say 'duh' don't they? If I wanted to pretend I'm eating health-foods, there's probably some fake meat BBQ-tofu I could buy at the Chinese healthy grocers.

                  1. re: RealSlimK

                    Salt Lick has outgrown it's "trendiness" I've been there once and thought it was over-rated, even though the lne was completely out the door. Tried to go back once more several years later, but when we saw how much a line there was, kept on going.
                    Far as Lockhart goes, we prefer Smitty's. Plain simple bbq, not sauced. Black's is ok if everything else is closed, but not one of our go to places. City Market in Luling just down the road is pretty much consistent and is one of our favorites. Thing about Rudy's is if they would keep the brisket in the smokers a couple of hours more, it would be more tender. That's why I think it all comes from a central commissary, if it was cooked the way it should, it would probably fall apart due to the transport to the different locations.

                    1. re: RealSlimK

                      I think the quality at The Salt Lick has really dropped in recent years. It seems to be a blessing/curse when a restaraunt gets famous. The lines get longer, prices get higher and the quality of the food and service go down. After a while, the place is a parody of it's former self. I've really come to dislike the Food Network and this phenomenon is no small part of the reason why.

                      1. re: San Antonio Sam

                        Thanks, Rex. Thanks, Sam: you could be diagnosing the problem which befell KC Masterpiece (which truthfully I have not been to since Gore almost became president).

              2. have to laugh about your opinion on salt lick its right on the money. nothing to write home about back in the 70s yeah Im an old guy, it was very good. The old cowboy the father of the current owner would just sit down sometimes at my table along with his wife and just talk about anything. He would be shocked what it has become today, standing room only medicore food no thanks.