Stingray and visiting rock star Anne T prepare to Lick
We spinster aunts, we’re the mavericks of the aunt world. We’re loners, pariahs. There’s a gonzo melancholy in our hearts and a swift roadster in our garage. Sometimes a spinster aunt just has to ramble. Sometimes she yearns for smoked meat. Sometimes both.
Recently I had no choice but to fire up the aforementioned velocipede, stuff these two other spinster aunts into it, and hie for Driftwood, TX, home of The Salt Lick Barbecue Restaurant.
To get to the Salt Lick one inserts the AC Newman CD, plunges headlong into the bottleneck of Ford trucks at Highways 290 and 71 (known poetically as “The Y At Oak Hill”), remembers in the nick of time that Hays County is dry, squeals into the Kwik E Mart for a six-pack, berates Stingray for getting Miller Genuine Draft of all things, flips off assorted SUVs encrusted with war magnets, and crawls at 2 miles an hour until the turnoff at Ranch Road 1826. Then one puts the pedal to the metal. Little gratifies a rogue aunt like the wind in her peach fuzz en route to barbecue.
Thirteen serpentine miles of Hill Country later, just past the turnoff for Buda, it rises out of the dusk, a benevolent spirit divining the spinster aunt’s boundless hankerin’.
The Salt Lick is a limestone pavilion furnished with enormous picnic tables in the midst of which a giant pit slowly, ceaselessly infuses meat with smoke. It is strange that meat infused with smoke tastes good, but there it is.
There are four things on the menu at the Salt Lick: brisket, ribs, sausage, and turkey. All smoked. The best thing to do is order one of each. Or you will always wonder.
Your barbecue is brought to you on a green plastic plate with slaw, potato salad, pinto beans, white bread of the Mrs. Baird’s school, pickles, raw onions, and extra sauce, in under five minutes. The server effervesces and gleams, burnished with joy immense at the opportunity to stuff you with smoked meat.
He will witness your gluttony, but he will not judge you.