From what I understand, there are very few open pit barbeques left in the US, even in Texas, and one of the few is the Salt Lick, about 30 minutes outside of Austin in the town of Driftwood (to me, driftwood is huge silvery logs washed up on Puget Sound beaches . . . the operative word there being "washed" . . . I have no idea why this town, in the middle of this arid state, has this name.).
The Salt Lick is crazy, like a Texan Knotts Berry Farm (not really like that, because the only amusement seems to have been the meat). The parking lot alone holds hundreds of cars, and the buildings where you eat seem to go on forever. Driftwood is in a dry county, so the place is BYOB. I'm not sure that being allowed—no, encouraged—to bring your own beer and alcohol, and open it on the grounds and drink it around everyone's children, really follows the spirit of the law, but we were happy to do it.
Bas came with us, and as he'd been there before, he pretty much took us all under his wing (did I say that Bas is about 6'5"? We could all, even Ian, fit under his wing. He is the perfect example of why KLM has more room between rows than any other airline on the planet.) and finagled a good table, then pushed the menus aside and ordered family style for five. Family style was served with bowls of sides and a platter of meat: potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, pickles and onions, and pork ribs, beef brisket, and some kind of sausage, fresh out of the pit and slathered with barbeque sauce, with chipotle BBQ sauce to add if you wanted. We ordered at least three platters of the meat, and ate as if we were Hoover (We had made an attempt to not eat too much too close to dinner, although there is a fine line. J&C have coined a term for what many of us become when our blood sugar gets low: Hangry. And five hangry people is not a good combination.)
We finished off with a shared bowl of blackberry cobbler, bundled up our leftovers, and hit the road back into Austin. I had to make an emergency pit stop along the way (those bowels! They have no idea what to do with this crazy new schedule), which probably saved me some of the more enduring issues of the rest of the group.
Ian, for example. We were lying in bed hours later, still sated, lights out, and Ian just couldn't get comfortable. He kept flailing about with the sheets, and then he would roll over to a cooler part of the bed, which felt to me like he rolled over three times to do it. We were on an inflatable bed, which I normally hate, but this one is really great. The secret is the foam pad under the mattress pad—it takes care of the coldness of never being able to heat up the mattress because of all the air and, conversely, the problem of getting sweaty because of lying one thin layer of cotton away from vinyl. Not Sunday night, though, for Ian. He was a furnace, presumably from his body ramping up, trying to process all that meat. We eventually opened the window and, panting, he was able to drop into sleep.