My family trekked from the Bay Area to Central Texas to visit my brother and sister in law who moved to the Lone Star state a few years ago. They live halfway between Austin and San Antonio so this trip afforded me the opportunity to try a few BBQ restaurants in the area including Franklin’s BBQ in Austin.
Before going to Franklin’s we ate at a couple of other restaurants. I made a point to make sure that I tried everyone’s brisket for comparison purposes. Franklin’s brisket is known around the globe for being flavorful, tender and moist and I was very curious to learn whether the eating experience would live up to the hype.
We arrived 3 hours before Franklin’s opened for lunch and found around 50 people in line ahead of us. 3 hours sounds like a very long time but Franklin’s staff does a good job of keeping the crowd informed on what to expect and when to expect it. If you go, make sure to bring a lawn chair and beverages.
Two hours before opening, visitors are allowed into the lobby where you can go inside to order drinks and check out the souvenir shop. Around 1 hour later, a Franklin server asks what meats you want to order and help you decide how much to order. Meat orders our placed by the pound. Once Franklin’s runs out of meat, they are done for the day. I think they are only open for 3 – 4 hours per day (not including the time that the pits are running which is basically all day and night).
We ordered pork ribs, jalapeño cheddar and original sausage links, turkey and of course….. a few pounds of brisket. We opted for half and half combo of lean and fat brisket. The restaurant opens for lunch service at 11 AM. At this time, customers work their way up to the meat counter where they chop your meat and take orders for whatever sides that you want.
We reached the meat counter at 11:45 AM so in total, we waited almost 4 hours before we got our food but it honestly didn’t feel like it was that long. I chit-chatted with a few people who noticed that I had a camera and asked for the name of my YouTube channel.
Up to this point, I was thinking that the brisket that I smoke at home is every bit as good as the brisket that I tried at the other BBQ joints over the past few days, UNTIL I experienced Franklin’s brisket. It was love at first sight and that first bite was incredible! I bought his book from the souvenir shop and now I’m determined to take my brisket to new levels!
Franklin’s pork ribs were also incredible, especially the tenderness. Their jalapeño cheddar sausage is also a hit. It’s clear that Franklin’s process is what separates his BBQ from legions of great pitmasters and the magic starts in the smoker-room where his huge offset gallon smokers do their thing.
Although Aaron Franklin was not there, I did manage to get a sneak peak into his smoke-room. Check out the video below!
I also recorded a podcast about my Central TX experience. Follow me on social media for updates and subscribe to my What’s Smokin’ newsletter (remember to check your email for the opt-in message to fully subscribe).