The Salt Lick, Austin, TX
I remember my first time to Austin, hearing on the plane that the best BBQ in Austin is at the Salt Lick, and making the long 1 hour drive out into the middle of nowhere (and getting lost, mind you) before finding indeed one of the best BBQ's I'd ever had. Fortunately, we didn't have to make that trek this time, as there is also an outlet conveniently at the airport. I was definitely going to stop here on my way out.
And just as I had remembered it, the Salt Lick was pretty good. I got the brisket and sausage platter, and I definitely like the sauce here better than at Rudy's, which I think uses too much black pepper. Admittedly, the meat quality was a bit better at Rudy's (especially the sausages), but it's not like the Salt Lick was bad either. Actually, the thing that amazed me at the Salt Lick was the cole slaw, which is not the creamy type that I like, but is seasoned with celery seeds, which furnishes a very delicate taste. What surprised me even more was the potato salad, which I originally thought was an apple cobbler of sorts until I tasted it, and it also featured the celery seeds. The beans were a bit boring though (I was hoping for little niblets of pork or bacon in it), but certainly not bad.
This airport outlet had a couple differences from the real location. As mentioned above, the airport outlet offers the regular Salt Lick BBQ sauce, which in and of itself, is pretty good. Strangely though, they didn't offer their alternate habanero-based Lauren's Sauce, which I was quite disappointed in. The saving grace was the fact that they did sell bottles of the spicy sauce as souvenirs, so I just bought a full bottle, opened it on the spot, and poured it on top of the regular sauce, which I'll now bring home with me too (and use on the plane? ha ha). The other interesting difference was that this outlet served beer, whereas the original location was in a dry county, thus forcing everyone to haul in coolers of beer themselves. Finally, I think I remember that the original location is all-you-can eat. This place only gave me a platter for $10.
Anyway, I still think that the Salt Lick beats Rudy's - mainly due to the sauces and the sides. Maybe one could buy the Rudy's meat and pour the Salt Lick's sauce on it (especially since I heard that Rudy's is actually sold at a gas station, kinda like the BBQ place on Old Oakland Road across from San Jose Municipal Golf Course). I really don't like Rudy's sauce.