Pulling back the curtain on a classic Texas BBQ sauce
Growing up in Austin in the 90’s and 00's, there wasn’t great barbecue around. We would have to drive to Taylor or Lockhart for the classic meat market style joints to get the best brisket but multiple times a year for birthdays or holidays our family would go to the Salt Lick in Driftwood for a big celebration.
The meat itself at the Salt Lick was never the draw. It was the atmosphere of the Hill Country, the appeal of BYOB, the fact that with an All You Can Eat order you could TAKE HOME A BOX! And, ultimately, it was about the sauce.
As Guy Fieri says, I’d eat it off an old flip flop.
The Salt Lick sauce, is unlike any other bbq sauce. It’s “mustard based” but we’ll address that in a minute. It’s tangy, sweet, not smoky, and has the absolute PERFECT viscosity for coating everything from ribs and brisket to their famous sesame seeded bread and coleslaw. Traditionally, Texas BBQ is served with sauce on the side. When I dine at the Salt Lick, everything I eat gets drowned in the sauce.
For years I tried to recreate the sauce based on taste memory. Everything I ate was either too acidic, too sweet, or the wrong texture until one day I looked at the ingredient list on the bottle in my refrigerator. Vegetable oil was the first listed ingredient and therefore, made up the majority of what was in it. I took the mustard sauce I was currently working on and added about 50% oil and it turned out fantastic. The Salt Lick sauce isn’t mustard based, it’s an oil based sauce with flavors of mustard, vinegar, and a little sweetness to round it out.
Our version of it is less sweet but still similar in viscosity and it pairs perfectly with all of our pork dishes and (just like Salt Lick) all of our sides.
Mustard BBQ Sauce
2/3 C worchestershire sauce
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
3/4 C white vinegar
1 TB granulated garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
2 TB coarse black pepper
1.5 C sugar
1.5 C yellow mustard
1/2 C Frank’s Red Hot
2 C vegetable oil
1 g xanthan gum
Combine the Worcestershire, vinegars, spices, and sugar in a medium sauce pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Once the sugar is melted and the spices are hydrated, about 5 minutes, puree the hot liquid mix into the mustard and Frank’s hot sauce in a large deep container with an immersion blender.
In a separate container, combine the oil and xanthan gum and whisk to combine.
Emulsify the oil into the liquid portion of the sauce by pouring slowly with the immersion blender running.
Taste for seasoning, add salt if desired.
*This recipe was converted from a batch 10x it’s size.*