At long last I made it to the famous Franklin Barbecue today. My very good friend @theleftoverchef had told me that the line was ridiculous and that the food was equal to the painful task of waiting. For those of you who don’t know the good Dr. he is without question the most discerning eater I have ever known and his recommendation for a food joint is not something to take lightly.
Myself being an enormous fan of Texas Hill Country BBQ (especially brisket) cooked over a hot oak fire I had been excited about Franklin since they opened the trailer 2+ years ago. Why had I not already eaten there, you may ask. Because, I don’t do lines. Simple as that, I just do not wait in line for anything. I will drive 15+ extra minutes through city streets to avoid lines of cars on the highway. I will go for sushi at 5pm sharp to be the first in the door at the bar, and you can bet your sweet ass I never go to any film on premier night. Nightclubs, not a chance, ice cream on a warm spring day, I get it from the grocer.
All of this being said, Franklin had been touted as freakin’ Mecca for cue heads and while I am not some bowling shirt-clad Guy Fieri douche boy getting my primal man versus food fix, I am quite the fan of salty meat and fat interplay with a heaping helping of carcinogen crust. I knew after 6 months away from Texas I needed to bite the bullet and endure the line on this cloudless 72 degree day in Austin.
Juliet and I met another of our meat-loving friends and we chatted up the full 1 hour and 35 minutes before we got to the counter to order. $83 worth of brisket, ribs, sausage, sides, and pies were shortly on some pre-greased butcher paper and staring us in the face. $83 damn dollars for cue stung like a full jigger of Sex Panther stings the nostrils, but just like everyone else in the joint we were smiling as we paid and damn near high by the time we left. This is serious stuff and while the sides were actually pretty weak compared to some other local producers, the meat was exceptional across the board.
Of course, eating this kind of weight in salty meat makes one dry up and bloated like a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and Franklin would really do themselves and their clients a favor if they added a toilet or two with a high flush capacity. People are not going numero uno here friends.
At the end of the day the line was actually kind of fun and filled with chatty expectations for a meat feast like nothing else in the city. I for one still prefer the overall charm of Lockhart, TX and the drive to get the cue there is a Texas right of passage. For the city of Austin though, Franklin now gives Austin the clear crown of best large BBQ city in Texas and makes the Hill Country hands down the top BBQ region in America for Brisket.
I will leave this with photos of what we loved and while I still miss a $6.99 3 meat plate at Bubba’s in Ennis, TX. I can see where the allure lies in paying heavy shekels for this kind of rare experience.
My strong advice is to skip breakfast, take a Zegerid, and get in line about 10:45 AM on a cool morning. I think a party of 4 is about the right size to sample everything and to walk away completely gorged like a Brazillian competitive eater at a Churrascaria.
I will likely be back someday here in the Big A, but I will not be ending my drives to Lockhart as the confident owner of Franklin’s suggested I would do after trying his cue.