This week, Discover Austin, gets us out into the city before the sun to secure a spot in line for the coveted Franklin Barbecue. Not to worry, it’s totally worth it! New episodes are available each week. Over the course of the series, we’ll cover everything from landmarks and events to restaurants and icons. If you’d prefer to read about Franklin Barbecue, the video transcript is below the video.
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser. In this episode of Discover Austin, we check out one of the country’s best barbecue joints, Austin’s own, Franklin Barbecue. Now, Franklin opens at 11, but the line starts to form around six or seven o’clock. So yes, you’re going to wait in line for four or five hours to get your lunch. And I say lunch because there’s no dinner at Franklin, they run out of barbecue by about two or three o’clock. It’s hard to say what time is too late to arrive and still get barbecue but a good benchmark is ten A.M. So the big question is whether or not this barbecue is so good that you would wait in line for four or five hours. Well, the answer is yes.
Franklin Barbecue is a rite of passage for Austinites and visitors alike. In 2009, Aaron Franklin and his wife, Stacy, opened a food truck along I-35. Now in a brick and mortar on 11th Street, guests line up before the sun rises to, hopefully, get a taste of their acclaimed brisket for lunch.
One customer, Michael Zook, says, “The biggest thing is you’re waiting four or five hours no matter when you get here. So if you get here at ten or eleven, you’re waiting that time and then you run the risk of not getting anything but if you get here at six, even seven is pushing it, you can get in right when the doors open and you’re guarantee to get whatever you want.”
Most days, an employee is tasked with sending away patrons. “I don’t really feel the pain anymore, but we’re trying to do them a favor, break their hearts when they show up versus three or four hours from now. We’re just avoiding that situation later.”
Texas Monthly has named Franklin the best BBQ in Texas several times and, in 2014, the magazine named him one of the “50 best BBQ Joints in the World.” And in 2015, he became the first pit master to ever win a James Beard Foundation Award. If you love barbecue, grab your lawn chair, ice chest, maybe a game or two, and hop in line for some delicious meat!
People ask Zook, “is waiting in line for four hours, is the barbecue really that good?”
Zook says, “well can you hang out in a parking lot and drink with your friends for four hours?”
They say, “oh yeah.”
And I say, “well at the end there’s barbecue. So that’s really the mindset you need to come with when you come to Franklin.”