Texas Barbecue Pioneer Hisako Roberts of Salt Lick BBQ Has Died at Age 104
Her warm spirit and love for food and down-home hospitality live on.
You don't need to be from Texas to know The Salt Lick, the celebrated-is-an-understatement barbeue spot founded in Driftwood. In fact, most Southern 'cue enthusiasts can readily call to mind the taste of their otherworldly brisket melting in their mouth.
This week, though, Texas' revered barbecue scene glows a little dimmer, as we mourn the loss of one of the pioneering female greats in the industry: Hisako Tsuchiyama Roberts. As Texas Monthly sadly reports, last Thursday, January 18th, Roberts passed away peacefully at the age of 104. Having first founded The Salt Lick with her husband Thurman in 1967, the Hawaii-native brought both her Hawaiian and also Japanese roots into the Texas BBQ fold (perhaps most noticeably in the restaurant's potato salad and vinegar slaw with a generous whirl of black sesame seeds).
Though her husband passed away in 1981, Hisako continued to work for the restaurant until 1987 when the couple's son took the helm. "Call it 'I Do Barbecue.' The smoke of The Salt Lick in Driftwood reaches into myth and matrimony," Southern Living has previously written of the fabled jount. "People don't just drive to The Salt Lick; they go there on pilgrimages for dinner with friends, for family reunions, and for weddings, held creekside and catered with 'cue."
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Next time we make it to the Lick, we'll be spooning into a scoop of vanilla ice cream and peach cobbler, and toasting you, Hisako.