Originally Posted by Biggskip
Does Salt Lick live up to the hype? I understand that it's not really in downtown, but just looking to get an insiders POV.
Salt Lick is usually denigrated by BBQ snobs for various reasons, including emphasizing the sauce and pork ribs. I still like it - it's a pretty spot, it's meat, and it's byob. The top 5 in central Texas are usually considered City Market in Luling, Smittys, Louie Mueller, Kreuz's, and Snow's. None of these are in Austin. Franklin is in town and an up and comer and definitely some of the best brisket I've ever had, but you have to wait in line and it's in a trailer and a pia (opening a brick and mortar shortly, hopefully the downsides will be remedied). You really have to get to Franklin before noon to make sure they aren't sold out (and expect a long wait unless you are there before 11). House Park and Sam's are my favorite old school Austin spots. Iron Works is just passable. There is much better, even in town. Closeby is Lambert's, although it's "non-traditional" and offers more interesting fare than their BBQ. I think the best in between between real Mexican (La Condessa, El Naranjo, etc) and the old line velveeta Tex Mex (which I don't much like, but which includes places like Matt's El Rancho and El Azteca) are places like Polvo's, which is my favorite and El Meson. I can't imagine the OP would like a place like Matt's or a place like Fonda, which is pretty dated. A spot like Polvo's or El Naranjo are at least honest and fun. OP may also like a place that caters to Mexican immigrants and has some unusual stuff, like Las Cazuelas.