Rachel’s Food Tourism: Franklin BBQ

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Back in April of 2014, we went to Austin, TX for vacation. We saw some amazing things and had some outstanding food. The highlight for both of us was Franklin BBQ. A friend recently told me about a web series on PBS Franklin did sharing his tips on all things BBQ. I can’t wait to check it out! Franklin is a small BBQ shack owned by Aaron Franklin in Austin that is known nationwide (possibly worldwide) for having some of the best brisket. It’s known for selling a limited quantity that typically sells out by 1:00 in the afternoon (it opens at 11). You may have heard people talk about it with an almost religious devotion. Derek and I were both skeptical, but thought we had to check it out since we were there. We’d heard about the long line, so were prepared to wait.

We got there around 8, with coffee in hand and sure enough a long line had already formed.  Even though we’d heard about the line, I half expected it to be a myth.  The smell of the smokers was intoxicating.  We listened to our audio book (Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas) settled in for the long wait.

Soon after it opened an employee came down the line with a sign and gave it to a group of people not far in front of us.  We discovered it was stating that that was the last group that would be guaranteed to get food.  The group right in front of us left (suckers!), but we would not be deterred. We waited this long, dammit, we were going to hold on. Lucky we did because we made it inside and each got an order of brisket.  We both got sampler plates to try some of the other BBQ which we quickly realized was an amateur move.

I’m sure I’ve already lost some of you with the fact that we waited so long.  I am here to tell you IT WAS WORTH IT.  We waited in that long and after one bite of that brisket I wasn’t even sorry…..and I’d do it all over again.  Hell, I’d probably get there at 7 to ensure we could get even more brisket.

I’m sure you’re wondering “what makes it so great?”.  Well, the flavor is just insane, smoky with a hint of coffee.  It has a lovely bark and smoke ring that has yet to be paralleled anywhere else.  It was also wonderfully tender.  It might sound odd to compare it to butter, but that’s the only way to describe it.  It was rich and succelent, meaty and salty in all the right ways.

I see on the website that if you pre-order 5 pounds or more, you can “skip the line”.  Part of me feels like those people willing to skip the line aren’t deserving, but then the other part of me says “if we were rolling in dough and had a couple other friends to eat it with, I’d fly down there in a hearbeat and do that”.

While I know waiting in a long line on your vacation for BBQ may seem insane to you, I had to be sure to share this experience.  It was worth it, no matter how unbelievable that sounds.

Our memory board from the Austin trip.

Have any of you been to Franklin?  What did you think?  What are other places you’d wait in a long line for?


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