If you’re from Austin or have seen Jon Favreau’s movie Chef (2014) or The Chef Show on Netflix, then you have heard of Franklin Barbecue. For our final post to wrap up our Austin weekend whirlwind, we take a look back on our journey to Franklin’s. Let’s go for some barbecue!
The Line Up
There was a debate with our group whether or not to we wanted to be in line ups since this trip wasn’t for a con. In the end, we decided that lining up at 6 am for Franklin’s 11 am opening would be doable. After all, if we could survive San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H line and Disney’s D23 Expo Hall D23 overnight line, we should be fine for a 5-hour line, right? No problem! In order to survive any long line, you’d have to be with the right kind of people. We definitely were with the right peeps that day.
Pro Tips: You are allowed to have part of your group to line up, as long as the rest of your group shows up before the doors open. There is a person who walks through the line writing down everyone’s order. Remember what you want to get and how much of each item. Write it down so you don’t forget. This is how they can judge how much They have a few camping chairs available for people to use while waiting in the lineup, but bring your own if you can and dress for the weather. There is an airstream in the parking lot out back serving coffee, hot chocolate and breakfast tacos for those early risers. They do open the dining area around 9 am for folks to stretch their legs, use the restroom and warm up if it’s cold out. James Beard Award winner and owner, Aaron Franklin, will sometimes wander out to the main floor to greet customers.
The dining area itself isn’t that big. There’s only a handful of tables inside in the main dining area and some picnic benches and chairs on the porch. The feeling you get when you walk in is old-school yet laid back with not that many frills, very straight forward. There is also a merchandise area that you do bypass as you get closer to the counter area. They do have a separate pickup area for those who made reservations for takeout.
We did not hold back when it came to the food. There were 18 of us in our group and for the majority of us, this was our very first visit to Franklin BBQ. So, you can imagine our excitement and anticipation for some great ‘cue! We ordered everything from barbecue to the sides and even some dessert! If you want to see some delicious brisket cutting be sure to check out our Franklin BBQ Instagram highlight!
6 lbs of brisket (with an extra half a pound to-go), 3.9 lbs of beef ribs (that is actually 3 beef ribs), 1 lb of pork ribs (6 ribs in total), 1 lb of pulled pork, 1.5 lbs of the hot links sausage (8 links), and 1.5 lbs (8 links) of the black pepper and garlic sausage. They were so nice to throw in a few slices turkey for us to try, even though we originally decided to skip the turkey. That is a total of 14.9 lbs of barbecue for us to devour for 18 people.
We ordered 1 quart of each side: potato salad, slaw, and beans. They offer pickles and onions if you want them, as well as white bread. We wanted the full experience so we got a little bit of everything and a full loaf of Wonder Bread. Okay, so it might have actually been a lot of everything.
Yes, you read that correctly, even after all that, we needed to try the dessert. What was it? Pie. You know we cannot say no to pie, so we ordered two of each flavour since they were individual-sized pies. Bourbon banana tart, Texas pecan pie, key lime tart, Ruby’s Dang pie (aka. coconut and pineapple), and the special of the day – blueberry pie. The pies are delivered fresh every day to Franklin BBQ from a local bakery called Cake and Spoon (check them out here).
Was it worth the 5 am wake up for a 6 am line up and 5-hour wait until opening? Yes. We were there on a Saturday and heard that they only make beef ribs on Saturdays which is one of the first things to sell out. If you’ve watched The Chef Show or Chef (the movie), then you know that Aaron Franklin’s preparation of the meat is meticulous yet simple. Only salt and pepper for the rub, post oak wood for the smoker, and the rest is all just natural flavour of the meat itself. Everything was super tender and just fell right off the bone. The beef ribs and the brisket alone are worth the wait. The sides were good. The slaw was absolutely fresh and you can taste that it had minimal seasoning and sauce on it – and it’s not neon green! Canadians, you know what I’m talking about. The potato salad was delicious and the beans were seasoned perfectly. The bourbon banana tart was quite heavy on the bourbon for our liking. So, if you like a boozy pie, this is the one for you. Hence the reason why bourbon comes before banana in the name. We found all the other ones were delicious, particularly the blueberry with the small crumble on top. But dang, the Dang Pie was a smashing hit with our group! Pun intended! If a piña colada drink were to be a pie, this is it. The flavours are such a classic tropical combination! Bottom line, always leave room for pie.
Did we finish it all? Not even close! But we also didn’t do too badly either. We were all full to our eyeballs and I think it’s safe to say that this was the best barbecue we have all eaten. Even the one person in our group who wasn’t big on barbecue loved the brisket at Franklin! If you love barbecue, we highly recommend you come here for a visit and check it out. You will not regret it. We have definitely been ruined for barbecue for a while now. Totally worth it.