It was just after dawn and another sticky, sweltering Texas Tuesday morning was just beginning. My colleague Sandra and I sat outside an unremarkable brick building in lawn chairs along with 50 or so other people in the early morning haze, waiting. The line of people and lawn chairs grew, forming a line that zigged and zagged from the entrance door, along the perimeter of the building and down to the parking lot. What would possess hundreds of people to sit and some stand outside in the summer heat for hours? Was this the line for the latest iPhone release? The beginning of an off-season tailgate? Tickets to Willie Nelson’s latest tour?
The smell of smoked meats wafting in the air gave it away.
We, the faithful, congregated outside of Franklin Barbecue, THE barbecue of barbecue joints since its inception in 2009 and a mecca for tourists and locals alike. Not even ten years old, Franklin’s has created
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
My compatriots that morning included Austinites on their 9th visit, tourists from as far away as France following the American BBQ trail and curious first timers like me. We waited all in palpable frenzied anticipation. Would it live up to our lofty expectations? We waited and waited. We ate croissants (shout-out to the French tourists!) and kept simultaneously hydrated, caffeinated and buzzed, methodically consuming a holy trinity of beverages: coffee, water, and Lonestar. We stretched, we read, we fell asleep, we stared out into space and we waited some more.
Finally at 10 a.m., two hours after our arrival, an employee milled through the crowd to take food orders. Rejoice! Our early arrival rewarded us with a full menu, no item was sold-out and we could enjoy anything the restaurant had to offer. Naturally, we had to have everything Franklin’s had to offer. Brisket? Yes please. Pork ribs? Why not. Potato salad. Of course….actually we will just have one of each side. And, one of each pie.
The Promised Land: Lunch is Served
Our trays full and eyes gleaming with excitement, we sat inside the air-conditioned sanctuary of the dining room and immediately got to work. The pork ribs were divine, the brisket outrageous. The meat dripped with its artfully seasoned juices, its fat completely rendered and its symphony of flavor melted into our eager mouths. The pies were a sleeper hit. Light, tangy, flavorful, flaky. It was a frenzied blur of mouthwatering indulgence and an hour later, it was over.
After sitting in a few moments of triumphant silence, proud of our accomplishments and dedication to this culinary bucket-list item, we wrapped up the scraps for some lucky dogs waiting at home and stumbled outside into what was now a blazing afternoon. What about the wait you might ask? Very long, I say candidly. But was it worth it? Yes! For those willing to wait, Franklin BBQ is, simply the best. No better barbecue, anywhere.
Top 5 Tips
- Get there by 9 a.m. at least.
- Bring beverages, eat a light breakfast and a lawn chair.
- Dress comfortably. Elastic waistbands are a must.
- Consider the summer the offseason. Visit in the fall or spring if possible.
- Avoid the weekends if you can. A weekday visit is your best bet.
Post written by Rebecca B. of Top Trip Rentals