In Texas and throughout the South, myriad barbecue joints claim the title of “best barbecue.” Many barbecue enthusiasts would nearly fight to the death to defend their favorite, and the Salt Lick is certainly a contender. But Salt Lick owner Scott Roberts doesn’t care about that. He’s more interested in the smiles on his customers’ faces as they leave the restaurant. With more than 600,000 customers served each year, he may be onto something.
That’s because Roberts is building on the foundation his family laid down more than 130 years ago, as his great-grandparents made their long journey to Texas. On the trail, they prepared food and cooked meat in ways that preserved it. Roberts keeps those techniques because they are simple and proven. His great-grandparents settled in Driftwood in the 1870s, and his grandparents farmed the land and were sustained by its bounty. They helped raise Roberts and instilled in him a love of the rural way of life.
This is not a book just about Salt Lick barbecue. It’s about how the barbecue came to be: a story of respect for the land, its history, and the family that planted its roots in Driftwood and cultivated a well-deserved reputation.
Scott Roberts has spent his life fostering a family heritage that began in Driftwood, Texas, more than 100 years ago and building on a dream he and his parents began in 1967 with the Salt Lick barbecue restaurant. Many people say that when it comes to a great barbecue restaurant, the barbecue itself is what’s most important, but to Roberts it’s the smiles on his customers’ faces that mean the most. “Remember,” he says, “I am not a chef. Just a cook.”
Jessica Depuy is a freelance writer who has written for Texas Monthly, National Geographic Traveler, Imbibe, Texas Highways, and numerous Austin and regional publications. She has also written Uchi: The Cookbook, in conjunction with James Beard Award-winning executive chef Tyson Cole. Dupuy lives in Austin.
“The book’s charm lies in the affectionate family history that began when Scott Roberts’ great-grandfather bought the land way back in the nineteenth century. The recipes keep memories of a great meal alive…”
— Jane Manaster, Portland Book Review