Feb 19 2006

Babe, I Gotta Ramble

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.


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  1. Liz

    Woohoo! I just went to their merchandise page and ordered a black “Smell Our Pits” t-shirt. But of course what i really covet is the glorious garment of Stingray. Dare I ask…???

  2. Ashley

    I weep. I yearn.

    I’m coming home to Austin in two weeks, and have actually planned my flights so that I am at the airport at mealtimes in order to stuff my gaping maw with the Lick.

  3. wordgirl

    Texas BBQ and a cold beer. It’ll give you religion.

  4. larkspur

    Best post ever.

  5. marsha

    Damn, wish I knew of this place when I was driving through texas…

  6. Twisty

    Stingray is modeling the only I Blame The Patriarchy zippered sweatshirt in existence. I had it made for her for Xmas at Neighborhoodies. It is fetching, no?

  7. will

    Where do I sign up with the Twisty-Austin Eatery tour?

    And will there be singing involved?

    Do I get a discount because she only has one breast?

  8. Renee

    I want that sweatshirt!!!

  9. CafeSiren

    Stingray’s duds prompt a question: can those of us who want to fashion similar garments for our own use (not for sale) use “I blame the patriarchy” and the Twisty Faster name?

    To wit: I was thinking of using CafePress to cobble together a “What Would Twisty Do?” t-shirt (perhaps with “I blame the patriarchy” on the back), to wear as protection from the patriarchy-rays that are threatening to soak into my skin at my yuppie-infested SoCal gym. It might not help when faced with self-absorbed real estate developers hitting on dangerously underweight women with big fake boobs, but I suspect I’d feel at least a little better.

  10. Violet Socks

    To wit: I was thinking of using CafePress to cobble together a “What Would Twisty Do?” t-shirt

    Yeah, forget Andrea Dworkin — Twisty is the new Christ!

    Who would have thought Jesus would come back as a lesbian atheist Texan spinster aunt?

  11. Twisty

    Hey Cafe,

    People ask me this from time to time, and I really ought to put it in the FAQ somewhere. I don’t have any objections to the use of the slogan “I blame the patriarchy.” I mean, I don’t own the words or anything. Go on with yer bad self.

    I would hope that nobody would purloin the patriarchy-blaming concept for commercial use, though, since the commodification of ideas is something I blame the patriarchy for. That’s why I don’t sell T-shirts and stuff on the site, or run ads. I don’t make any money off this shit and don’t see why anybody else should, either.

    Of course, the likelihood of anybody turning patriarchy-blaming into a going concern is laughably remote. Haha!

  12. antelope


    They’ll just sell t-shirts that say stuff like, “Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.” to be bought by people who thoroughly support the patriarchy, and for that matter, the stupidity of boys, but like to complain about it while assuming that nothing whatsoever can ever be done.


    This is one of those e-mail things where I probably come off sounding facetious or like I’m disagreeing with Twisty when I’m really not. I really think that “I blame the patriarchy” is an infinitely more subversive & worthwhile thing to say, or to sport around town on one’s chest, than “boys are stupid.”

    I don’t believe that nothing whatsoever can be done. I seriously expect to see positive change sometime within the next 500 years.

  13. Ancrene Wiseass

    That sweatshirt is indeed very, very fetching.

    And now I really want some smoked meat.

  14. LL

    I’ve lived in Austin for over 20 years (ok, there was a brief, frightening stint in Waco) and I have never been out to the Salt Lick. I smell a roadtrip in my future.

  15. Betsy

    Twisty writes: Of course, the likelihood of anybody turning patriarchy-blaming into a going concern is laughably remote. Haha!

    Oh dear Twisty, you would be surprised. To wit: many years ago, a demure historian included the words “Well-behaved women seldom make history” in an article about trying to recover the stories of women from days of yore who did NOT make into the court systems (where they left records that were more easily discovered by historians). (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “Vertuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735”) In the ensuing decades, the phrase “well behaved women seldom make history” (or “rarely make history”) has found its way onto innumerable bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and buttons, produced and sold (usually) by happily capitalist enterprises. So your patriarchy-blaming slogan may yet have a dark future as a commodity.
    But, in truth, it makes an awesome hoodie, which I covet.

  16. Liz

    Ok, so now I want one with “WWTD?” in small letters, followed by a larger “I Blame the Patriarchy” on the front. And “A Day Without Twisty Is Like A Day Without A Cerebral Cortex” on the back. And I want at least 20 of them so I don’t have to be doing laundry every damn time I eat barbeque.

  17. norbizness

    Can I make a little money off it then?

    The Salt Lick for me reminds me of starving myself in Georgetown, buying a case or two of Lone Star at the Beer Barn in Georgetown, then making the hour trip to get the most out of the all-you-can-eat format. The last time I was there (about a year ago), it was so hella-crowded with Westlakians that I thought I wandered into a fucking Hummer Owner Convention.

  18. Kat

    I have a real hankerin’ for ribs now, and that hoodie rocks.

  19. kate

    Well that’s it, all my female relations, mom, sis and two daughters are getting “I Blame the Patriarchy” wear, the design of which I haven’t quite decided yet.

    Actually, by making them ourselves and passing them to our same feeling compatriots we make a statement not only about where we stand with the present culture, but also a strong statement against commercial dilution of original thinking and individual expression.

    Sorta like revolutionary expression and a build up of solidarity at the same time, across borders and without economic restriction (hell you can use Goodwill tees and write it on them with a dollar store marker if you wanted).

    Now I like that. A lot.

  20. Twisty

    I never see Westlakians there, and I go at least once every couple of months. Maybe the Lick’s no-credit-card policy scared’em off. There’s lots of Asian tourists, though. And rednecks. O the rednecks.

  21. anne t

    disclaimer: i usually avoid pork.
    many thanks to twisy for the salt-lick intro. spinster aunt hospitality is quite a treat, especially for those looking to escape for a bit from anti-spinster stlmo (complete with billboards). i am doing my best to deposit the best ribs i’ve ever eaten all over the gateway city, home of its own brand of fabulous bbq, and laughing all the way. though not into the blame game, i do blame the patriarchy for colon cancer. and my one-off bit of merch shall read “i survived dinner with twisty.” it’s good for aunts to travel in packs, especially in heavily republican-populated areas, and thanks for not taking that corner and tossing me out of the roadster. next time, lone star, not mgd, okay?….back to winter and still full!

  22. Hissy Cat

    That ‘I Blame The Patriarchy’ sweatshirt is fucking awesome. I’m totally going to neighborhoody myself me one of those for my birthday!

  23. Lorenzo


    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.

    Holy shit! There is sauce barbecue in Tx? Every Texan I’ve ever spoken to on the subject has been like ‘there is no sauce in Texas barbecue!!!!!!’.

    I’ve actually had the intense pleasure of eating at Kreuz (aka Krites). It was incredible.

  24. Twisty

    Lorenzo, the sauce is sort of on the side.

  25. Dean


  26. Lorenzo


    Lorenzo, the sauce is sort of on the side.

    Ah, that explains it! I was literally shocked at the vehemence of a number of Texans I’ve spoken to on this point! LOL

  27. doggerelblogger

    Ooooh. Thank you for this. Momster’s heading to Texas in a week. She’ll love you forever for this hot BBQ tip.

    Hey – anytime you want to find good pad thai in Ontario? You come to me. I’ll set you straight.

  28. shawn

    Is that THE Anne T?? From many, many fabulously rockin’ bands??
    Fuck the ribs, I want Anne.

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