If you've been out to Lockhart or one of the other Austin satellites spots known for their BBQ culture, you'll have seen the traditional red brick pits used to cook and smoke meats. And even though these pits run pretty hot, you've probably never seen meat last longer than an hour under that kind of heat without turning into a smoked, flaming ember. But Franklin BBQ ( 900 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78702), think again.
My hubby and I have been here many times and we have one thing to say (at every visit) - This was a lot of food! Talk about meat coma. We barely finished and were pleasantly stuffed. The meats come without the sauces (sauces are on the side) but some of the meats are so well seasoned (like the brisket) that you don't need it, unless you want an extra kick. I LOVED the brisket. So tender and flavorful. Melt in your mouth good. The pulled pork was good (perfectly cooked and not dry) but seasoning was nothing special. That meat definitely needed a sauce to help it out. The ribs were dry-rub and very tasty. I enjoyed my baked beans and oil/vinegar coleslaw. The fries are a HUGE portion, even for two people. It was too much considering all the other food we got. Fries were delicious, though! Perfectly cooked with the right amount of salt. I was told the mac and cheese was probably one of the best my companion had with baked breadcrumbs on top. Cornbread was good and moist.
Although Franklin BBQ is only seven years old, this unusual development will surprise no one familiar with Franklin Barbecue, which, since opening in 2009, in a trailer off Interstate 35, has built a cult following for its meats. Has any other restaurant in Texas history had a consistent two-hour wait, outside, in the elements, year-round, six days a week?
Franklin’s current location is a cozy old brick building (it used to be Ben’s Long Branch Bar-B-Q) with cement floors, sixties-era decor, and a sound system that pumps out a steady diet of laid-back country tunes. In two years, this site has become an Austin landmark, as synonymous with the city as the Armadillo World Headquarters once was. On a recent visit we met a guy from overseas who claimed to know nothing else about the state capital except that it was home to this magnificent restaurant.
Visit Franklin Barbeque...and bring a lawn chair. It's going to be a l o n g line...and there's a good reason for it.
900 E. 11th St.
Austin, TX 78702