Franklin Barbecue

900 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78702
(512) 653-1187
Tue–Sun: 11am–Sold out
(Just open for lunch)
Mon: Closed


Franklin Barbecue

The meteoric three-year rise of Austin’s Franklin Barbecue from tiny trailer to recent brick & mortar madness at 900 E. 11th St. has been well documented both locally and nationally. Unprecedented for a local joint, Franklin has seen praise from Bon Appetit, The New York Times, and Texas Monthly to Anthony Bourdain’s recent No Reservations love fest, not to mention hundreds of ecstatic blog posts.

So the burning question is: Can any BBQ, anywhere, be worth what can amount to a 2+ hour wait in line? Well, if you really care about the quality and authenticity of your ‘cue, the overwhelming answer appears to be yes.

I have three amazingly serious favorites at Franklin BBQ, among a menu of things that I really like. The Pork Ribs are tender beyond imagination and succulent to the point of incredulity. I had one of my very few food “Ah hah” moments seconds after biting into the first rib. I have never tasted a rib like this before, anywhere! The meat just explodes in your mouth in layer after layer of flavor. And surprisingly, I am infatuated with their Turkey. Normally an afterthought at most joints, the turkey at Franklin (if I can buy enough) will grace my Thanksgiving table this year. I was not prepared for the almost visceral reaction I had on that first bite. Juicy, moist with astonishing texture. The third is the Pulled Pork. What a dish this is. Imagine the best Lechon Asado you ever had in your life (in Miami, San Juan, Havana, Mexico City): beautifully tender with incredible moistness, and you have the pulled pork at Franklin. No sauce needed.

Aaron Franklin’s Brisket is also excellent. The secret may be the hours and hours of smoking on oak fires (or the rubs), but the moist brisket clicks on all taste cylinders. Is it my favorite in the Hill Country? Not quite, but it’s in my top three (along with Luling City Market and Rudy’s). It has lip-smacking flavor along with that characteristic smoky aftertaste.

Of all the smoked meats, even though it is certainly worthy of honorable mention, the sausage is perhaps my least favorite. And this is more a function of my own bias. Found the casing to be a bit tough for my taste: still the flavor was damned good.

I once said I wouldn’t stand in line for 2 hours to see anyone or anything, the Pope included. Well, on second thought, if he had some Franklin Ribs in his limo. I’d have to revise my position.

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