Oh. My. God. That’s what Ev and I thought… then whispered… then screamed… as we pulled into the parking lot. But let’s back up. Our original dinner plan this evening was to hit up Conscious Cravings (t.b.b.*), a local, healthy vegetarian trailer that I’ve enjoyed before and that we both had at Gypsy Picnic (with tepid reviews). So why all the Lord’s name in vain business? Because right next door to our vegetarian destination sat the most heavenly sight to behold. The unbearably delicious Salt Lick BBQ has set up shop in an old Air Stream trailer not 5 minutes from our apartment.
Before we even got out of the car we silently agreed our plans had changed. We walked through the dark parking lot up to the trailer and got real friendly with the menu. It’s completely different from THE Salt Lick experience. There’s no giant meat pit, as you can imagine, and their offerings are more aligned with the on-the-go mentality of a trailer. That means no all-you-can-eat plates, no giant loaves of Texas toast, and (thankfully) no 30-minute drive down to Driftwood. The familiar picnic benches are there, the long lines are nonexistent (so far), and their amazing barbecue sauce still rules all. But please, let me first discuss the (obscene amount of) food that Ev and I ordered and subsequently devoured under the cover of darkness.
The handwritten dry-erase board menu was broken up into six-ish sections, ranging from sandwiches to quesadillas. Like I said, more mobile than a full rack of ribs. Ev and I, taking advantage of our indecision, hungry bellies, and quest to try everything, went with a “tapas” approach, ordering up a storm. So what’d we get? One carne guisada taco, one pork tomatillo taco, one chopped beef posole**, one shrimp creole posole, and one pork quesadilla. Sounds like something you’d order from a Tex-Mex place and not an offshoot of an epic BBQ place. We also ordered some awesome Salt Lick potato salad, but sadly they were out. The man behind the window (who was very helpful to this point with our ordering indecision) brought us from free trailer-fried potato chips, which totally count as a vegetable.
So what of it? Everything was awesome, but a few favorites stood out. The tacos are enormous; they might just be the best bargain on the menu. At $2.95 apiece, there must be a quarter pound of meat on each one, with a nicely toasted tortilla struggling to keep it all together. No veggies, cheeses, or other paraphernalia to distract your tastebuds from the meat. Add a little extra BBQ sauce and it’s hard to beat. I preferred the pork tomatillo to the carne guisada, but each was great in its own right. As for the posoles, they held the highest “unknown” factor. Our chopped beef posole was tasty, particularly since it was covered with extra sauce. The shrimp creole posole, however, was possibly my favorite item of the night, magnified by its underdog status. A BBQ place making shrimp étouffée? Well, it worked amazingly well. I’d go back for a dozen of these $2.50 gems. The fried bread part for each of them was amazing, with a crispy outside and soft, bread-y inside. Really, though, the only difference between the posoles and the tacos is the carrier that you use to get the food from table to mouth.
The disputed champion of everything we ordered was the pork quesadilla. Loaded with pork and accented with peppers, onions and cheese, one might call them the best quesadillas in this Tex-Mex-saturated city. Accompanied by some pico and pickled jalapeño, everything about this basket was amazing. The one fault to mention, and the reason I say “disputed” champion, is that the tortilla was perfectly toasted on one side and barely warmed on the other. It’s certainly a one-off issue, and I won’t hold it against them this time, but it was worth clearing the air.
While loading up on meaty goodness, Ev and I realized the potential danger of having The Salt Lick, in whatever mobile form this may be, so close to our apartment. Making matters worse, the master behind the meal came out to chat, letting us know they’ll likely be having live music and occasional free beer (no license, so he can’t sell, but free is ok, go figure). We agreed to limit ourselves to once per month, probably on the live-music nights. Interestingly, when I asked why we hadn’t heard anything about it, he said they talked to a few newspapers and would be getting word out to “bloggers” after Thanksgiving. I hope I’m not stealing his thunder here! One thing is for sure, at least for me, is that they need to get more active with Twitter and Facebook to keep their fans updated. If they’re going to be a fixture at their new location, they’ll need to be able to let people know when they’ll have music, when they’ll have specials, and when they’ll have changed hours. I’ll gladly volunteer my services for repayment in meat. Just sayin’.
*To Be Blogged
**A posole (we’re only 80% sure that’s the actual word, but I’ll update once I’m 100%) is a New Orleans invention, which is something like a small, round piece of bread, scooped out like a bread bowl, filled with étouffée, lid replaced, and the whole thing deep fried. The Salt Lick trailer version is an interpretation of the New Orleans original, which more resemebles fried bread that is sliced/scooped and filled with something delicious. It’s more sandwich-like, but small.
|The Salt Lick
|1901 Rio Grande St.
Austin, TX 78705
|The Salt Lick