The place is busy, since it is an Austin institution, so I wasn't surprised at or annoyed at the wait. What did surprise me was what I was waiting for-- the food was just so not worth the wait or the drive for me. I'd rather travel out to Taylor to get Mueller's or to Llano get to Cooper's than come out to the Salt Lick, which is only 20 minutes away from my house.\r
Overall, I would have to rate the food as being average to okay, in terms of Texas barbecue. The brisket is sloppily cut, greasy, and you have no choice as to the moistness of the cut you'd like to eat. The meat isn't too seasoned, which is fine, but the sauce is so god-awfully sweet that you're better off just using salt and pepper and nothing else. The sauce is a bizarre, sickly-sweet honey concoction that tastes like something you'd eat out of a bucket at KFC. The ribs are covered in another sauce, which totally detracts from their natural flavors. I'm not a fan of sausage, but I will commend them on having a decent sausage.\r
Even the sides are bizarrely sub-par. I didn't know you could mess up potato salad, but apparently you can. The cole slaw is okay but not particularly good, as are the beans. They serve pickle spears instead of chips and thick, pull-apart bread loaves that are dry, crumbly, and not easy to fold over into sandwiches.\r
The prices are high. $15 for ""eat until you get sick"" style but it is $10 for a plate with over half a pound of meat and half a pound of sides. I suppose the normal person can do just fine with the single plate, but I think most people would go for the family style since they expect to be able to eat themselves into a coma. Honestly, I think the grease would prevent that. I ended up sharing a plate with another guy and we were plenty full. We did not order dessert, but it was expensive anyway.\r
Save your money for a butcher-paper-on-a-tray over-the-counter sort of joint. I don't trust these ceramic plate ""barbecue"" places anymore.
Pros: Neat location, BYOB, Great to bring out-of-towners who don't know better
Cons: Cash only, Not for Texans who know good barbecue