AUSTIN | Franklin Barbecue needs no introduction. Look up where to find the best barbecue in Austin, or in fact the entire US if not the world, and Franklin Barbecue will either be at the top or very close to it. People come from far and wide to get a taste of Aaron Franklin’s famous beef brisket, with the only thing more famous than the brisket being the line itself. If you want to be assured of trying everything you want, arrive early and be prepared to wait for up to three hours.
The reason for the line is basic supply and demand. Aaron Franklin has been serving barbecue in Austin since 2009 but apart from expanding from a food truck to the current premises, an old no-nonsense brick building a few years back, production has remained steady. Demand keeps increasing, supply does not. Some people like to take people down a peg or two once they become successful, but its a testament to Franklin that he’s refused to sell out, and refused to outsource. If you go eat barbecue at Franklin Barbecue you know that Aaron Franklin’s quality controlling the process.
The line, while extremely long, isn’t exactly a chore. There are people from all over the US along with international visitors waiting in line and it’s all very jovial and fun with people chatting and relaxing. When I visited I befriended a friendly couple from Nashville who were in front of me – when we got inside I sat with them and we all shared food. You can bring your own drinks to enjoy while waiting, and samples of the food come out to give you a literal taste of what’s to come. Staff monitor the line and ask people what they intend to order, so you have a good idea of what’s going to be available by the time you arrive at the front.
Most importantly, Franklin Barbecue lives up to the hype – the brisket here is the best I’ve ever tried. Slow cooked for twelve to eighteen hours over post oak in an indirect heat pit, the brisket barely holds together on the fork and melts the moment you put it into your mouth. Make sure you get a mixture of fatty and lean meats when you place your order – the fatty is moister but the lean is more tender. And definitely get some burnt ends, they’re beyond divine.
It’s not just the brisket that’s great at Franklin either. The pulled pork is full of flavour and pulls apart wonderfully, the pork ribs are salty, tender and fall of the bone, and the pork and beef sausages, while not made in house, have just the right juiciness and snap to them. There are three sauces on offer, but the best is the Espresso Barbecue sauce, which adds a noticeable coffee kick to the sticky sweet sauce.
So the food lives up to the hype, but the question of whether it’s worth the wait is something different. The quality of barbecue is very high in this town, and you can find brisket elsewhere in Austin that comes close with a significantly shorter wait. Tough call, but the brisket at Franklin Barbecue is something you definitely need to try at least once in your life
900 E 11th Street
Telephone: 512 653 1187
E-mail: [email protected]
Tue – Sun: 11:00am until sold out (lunch only)