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CNN reporter declares Salt Lick ‘heaven’ and starts a flame war on Twitter

Matthew Odam

Can’t everybody just let people like what they like and let it rest? I guess not when it comes to barbecue. (And, hey, pot calling kettle “black,” I confess.) And, especially when it comes to Salt Lick BBQ. CNN political analyst/serial hot taker/comedian Chris Cillizza did something he probably thought was fairly innocuous (and it should have been). He went to an unarguably charming and pastoral setting (Salt Lick), ate some barbecue and declared he had found heaven. Trust me, after living in D.C. and eating some barbecue out that way and points further north, I have no doubt that for a District denizen drifting into Driftwood, the Salt Lick would feel heavenly, especially on a beautiful spring evening when twilight seems to last for four hours.

Do I think Salt Lick serves some of the best barbecue in Central Texas? No. Did I Tweet at Mr. Cillizza with some more ideas, while not shaming him for his choice? Yes. Did other people get much more carried away with Cillizza’s declaration? Of course. Because the internet. And barbecue. To his credit, Cillizza handled the mocking with aplomb, and a full stomach.

As the popularity of barbecue and the proliferation of great barbecue options in the Austin area has increased, so has the vitriol for anyone who dare say anything nice about Salt Lick, one of the places that many of us who have decades of history in Austin will always hold close to our hearts for nostalgic purposes, if nothing else.

So, without further ado, the public shaming and rushing to defense of a reporter who his Tweet. Folks, if we keep treating visitors like this, nobody will ever move here.