The past few years have seen Austin emerge as one of the more exciting food cities in the country, to the point where even the big food media outlets have started breaking from their 24-hour cupcake coverage to take notice. Foreign & Domestic, Uchi & Uchiko, Barley Swine, Odd Duck, and many other local restaurants have been the subject of much fawning, even from this little website. But none of those places can compete with the attention that Franklin Barbecue has garnered. Bon Appetit called it the best barbecue in the America. Anthony Bourdain brought his No Reservations crew. The New York Times got in on the action. Even those negative assholes on Yelp with “elite status” and no friends not from Yelp have generally nice things to say. That’s some serious hype.
In our experience, that kind of rabid attention tends to be a bad thing when it comes to people that actually go and eat at these places. It’s extremely rare if not impossible for a restaurant to meet or exceed the expectations set when someone credible writes that it’s the best ever. But let us be one of many to tell you that Franklin Barbecue does not suffer from that problem. This truly is the best BBQ in Texas, and maybe in the country.
So what we are here to tell you is not only do you need to be eating in Austin, but you need to put Franklin Barbecue at the top of your Hit List. Yes, people start lining up outside of this place by 9:00am, and they’ve been known to sell out of meat by noon. But it’s 100% worth the wait. From the brisket to the ribs to the sausage links, you’ve never had meat that’s been so perfectly smoked, or so full of unforgettable flavor. And should you get the urge to start whining about the line, just remember that the guy slicing your brisket at the counter is Aaron Franklin, the owner, and notice how he manages to remain friendly and chipper despite the fact that he woke up at 3am to man the smoker, just so you can feed your fat face with BBQ. Bring a book and be glad you’re not a vegetarian.
Hands down the best brisket we’ve had anywhere. Ever. It’s moist and tender and lined with a smoke ring that would make your mama blush*. You’re probably going to be asked if you want lean or fatty. We shouldn’t have to tell you the answer to that, but just in case you are new to the site or ended up here from a mommy blog or something – you want it fatty.
*I have no idea what that means, but it felt right.
Just like the brisket, these pork ribs are better than the ones you’ve had at…everywhere. They’re huge, and the meat falls right off the bone. This and the brisket are 100% worth the wait.
If we had to pick a least favorite offering from Franklin Barbecue, I think this pulled pork would be it. We found it to be a tad dry by itself, especially when sitting on a tray next to that brisket. If you want some pulled pork, we’d say get it on a sandwich and hit it with some sauce.
God we love the sausage at Franklin, partly because it’s so packed with flavor, but also because it’s not overly greasy. Make sure you’ve got a few links on your table.
Honestly, the sides are not the reason you come here, but what’s a barbecue meal without some slaw and potato salad. We liked the potato salad due to the high mustard contingent, and the slaw is good and crunchy. Baked beans taste as they should – lots of smoky flavor.