So much to show you! Words will be brief today. This right here? This is Hamilton Pool in the Hamilton Nature Preserve about an hour west of Austin in Hill Country. Um, it’s gorgeous.
The water was 61 degrees (kinda chilly) but it sounded perfect after the 3/4 mile hike down to the pool. In about 5 weeks that water temperature will probably be bliss as things heat up here. Today? It was 84. Yup. Still a very happy camper.
That water’s pretty clear, ey? Hard to see where the water starts and the land begins…
If there’s a lot of rain, there is a waterfall here. Today? Lots of drips.
Everyone there was trying to take photos with the water behind them. But if you turned around and let the light hit the subject, it was amazing. Who wants to hire me to come back for a photo shoot? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
We eventually left the pool and drove about 40 minutes to The Salt Lick. We were gifted a brisket from this place for Christmas and holy moly that’s the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever tasted EVER. So of course I was on a mission to get to the actual spot which is in the middle of nowhere…
… and it’s gorgeous here. Tons of trees and grasses and tables and breezes and a winery next door and that’s just the OUTSIDE.
Oh hi cute little lizard man!
And then you get inside and it is NIRVANA. I mean, seriously, look at that delicious meat.
And pecan pies!
And air conditioning if you need it!
I love this photo.
So, I should also mention that about 45 minutes south of Austin is Lockhart, Texas which is the BBQ capital of the world (or so I hear). Jamie had a gazillion places he wanted to check out here, but since we had just eaten at Salt Lick (we shared that plate up there and a slice of pie) we were kinda full. But! We wanted to at least visit! So onward we went.
And the speed limit between Austin and the BBQ capital of the world is EIGHTY FIVE. These people are hungry.
We knew we could only stomach one more spot, so we chose Kreuz because it’s got a very serious reputation. So serious that they don’t serve sauce. I think this is blasphemy, but I remember that Rendezvous in Memphis (one of our first BBQ visits as a couple) also didn’t make the ribs with sauce and those were amazing. So we thought we’d give it a go.
The first thing I noticed from the outside was the amount of wood for the smoker that is all locked up. That’s a lot of wood.
Next? Above the wood is a lot of air conditioners. Can you even imagine that bill?
Inside we ordered some brisket and this guy right here grabbed it straight from the smoker and cut it off with that knife (that’s a serious knife, btw) and it fell off like butter. Mmmmmm…
And then they serve it in this paper envelope with a knife. There are no forks. You eat with your hands. This place is pretty serious.
After today’s trip, there was a lot of discussion about the best bbq we’ve ever had. Here is where we are landing at the moment:
Best Ribs: Rendezvous in Memphis, Tenn
Best Brisket: Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Missouri
Best sauce: The Salt Lick. And their brisket is a close second to Joe’s above.
Best burnt ends: We are just realizing this is a special thing in Kansas and Oklahoma! They don’t have these in Texas or Tennessee! But the best ones we’ve ever had were made by our buddy Josh Crutchmer who is from Oklahoma and worked at the paper. Holy cow, get this man a restaurant.
So you tell me, what are your favorites? And yeah. None of these are from Minnesota. Our home state needs to up its game in a bad way.