summer in the city: franklin barbecue

You know how there are those times that a place just doesn’t live up to its hype? Those times when like a MILLION legitimate publications review the place and all RAVE about it and then you go and leave with a “meh” reaction?

This is not one of those times.

I’ve been hearing about Franklin Barbecue since I moved back to Austin about two years ago, and finally decided to take the plunge last Saturday. I went in thinking, “I’m sure it will be good. But how good could it really be? Is it really worth waiting in line in the boiling hot Texas sun for at least four hours? REALLY?

afterlight

And I am here to tell you that I was WRONG.

I was wrong to doubt the barbecue masters all over the country who have praised Aaron Franklin’s skills. I was wrong to doubt the value of waiting in line. I was wrong to doubt how delicious barbecue could be when only seasoned with salt and pepper. (Yes, that’s right. Believe it.)

Going to Franklin’s last Saturday was quite possibly the best decision I’ve ever made in regards to food and putting it in my mouth. 

We did the whole thing. Well, I should say my friends Gregg and Aaron (not Franklin, although that would be cool), did the whole thing. They showed up at 8:15 am (on a SATURDAY in the SUMMER), with lawn chairs and coolers to claim our spot in line. The rest of us lazybones rolled in around 9:30. We hung out, made friends with the people around us and waited.

photo 1

When the restaurant opened at 11 a.m. a surge of excitement went through the line. People packed up their lawn chairs and card tables and rushed them back to their cars. We slowly moved up in line, dreaming about what we would order. And finally… right at noon…

It was time.

Taylor and I approached the counter where maybe the nicest man I’ve ever met cutting a brisket greeted us. Asked us how our days were going like there weren’t 100 more people waiting behind us. Thanked us for waiting, and handed us a sample of heaven.. I mean, brisket. It was the most glorious thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. I almost wet my pants from excitement. I’m pretty sure Taylor might have shed a tear.

We ordered 1lb of brisket, half lean and half fatty, one link of sausage, 1/2 lb of pork ribs and a small side of cole slaw. Top it off with a Mexican coke and sweet tea and we were ready.

photo 4

Sometimes you taste things so good you don’t have words.. only emotion.. to describe them. That’s how this was. We were all just so overwhelmed by how delicious the meat was that there were no words. At one point Aaron Franklin himself stopped by our table to see how we were doing. We all just looked at him holding the meat he smoked with eyes that said, “We’re forever grateful. You’ve changed our lives.” He made a quick joke and moved on, leaving us trying to comprehend how this much flavor could possibly exist.

You might think I’m exaggerating. I am not. At one point, I picked up a piece of lean brisket and it literally fell apart in my hands. That doesn’t happen in normal life.

photo 3
Gregg, surrendering to the brisket.

By the time 1 p.m. rolled around we were all feeling so accomplished and spent that we did the only logical thing: went home and took a nap. After all, I felt like I deserved that after making the best decision I’ve ever made in regards to food and putting it in my mouth.

——————–

*I’ll be in Colorado all next week and will be taking a break from posting. But don’t fear, my good friends Peggy and Katie will be filling in with a few guest posts, so y’all show them some love. 

Have a great weekend! 

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