You can't talk about great Texas barbecue without mentioning Driftwood's most famous barbecue joint of all time – The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que. Through the years this Central Texas haunt has gained both fame and popularity for its delicious barbecue meats – well known for their preparation over an open pit. Come November, the restaurant will have its first cookbook, written by Jessica Dupuy, author of Uchi: The Cookbook, and Scott Roberts, owner of The Salt Lick Bar-B-Que. Roberts talked with TEXAS MONTHLY about The Salt Lick Cookbook, the history of the restaurant, and moving forward.
What made you guys decide it was time to do a book?
We've been thinking about it for a long time. I've always been proud of the fact that we've been around for so long and how we came be. I had been thinking about the book for ten or fifteen years, and about a year ago everything lined up. We realized we needed to stop thinking about it and start doing it, so we met up with Jessica. She and I spent a long time together talking about the stories, the history, and the recipes of The Salt Lick.
A lot cookbooks come out nowadays that are a balance between recipes and the story of a restaurant or chef. What was the story you wanted to tell in The Salt Lick Cookbook?
I wanted to tell the story of the family behind The Salt Lick. Like the story of how my great grandmother came to Texas in the 1880s, how the Roberts came in 1867, how they got here, the way they cooked then, and the way we cook today. That cooking technique has been handed down for generations. My father's parents were significant in my life, and there was a whole lot of stuff that has happened through the years that I thought would be nice to share with people. The Salt Lick is tied to my family, so they were inevitably going to be mentioned in the cookbook. Jessica said the fact that my daughter is learning everything was a big deal, too, so we wanted to include the next generation in there as well.
Were there certain recipes or stories you really wanted to feature?
I wanted to include the fact that as a young child of about six or so I would watch my grandmother and her sisters grinding up meat and cooking these sausage links on a wood-fired stove. I can still remember the sound of the [meat] cooking and sizzling. My job then was to stay out of the way [laughs]. I had many stories like that one, and it was great to share them and honor the whole family.
What will be the recipe in here that readers will be excited to see? Were there any that were difficult to part with?
I'll put it this way, we put all the recipes from the restaurant in the book except for the barbecue sauce. That's going to remain a secret. I think people will really enjoy meats like the pork ribs and beef brisket. I think people will also really like my grandmother's biscuits and her fried-chicken recipes. And one of the ones they are really going to love is my mother's lemon meringue pie.
You guys have had a newfound notoriety recently with things like Top Chef Texas. How do you want to move forward into the future?
We want to continue to do what we've been doing, but add some new things along the way. We're going to start concentrating on the wines and start working on a few new items like barbecue oysters. We want to continue to support local foods, so things like the barbecue oysters will be only Texas Gulf oysters. We want to keep doing what we've always been doing, but just add bits and pieces as we go.
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