How to Get Franklin Barbecue: Wake Up Early or Pay Someone Else To

Pitmaster Aaron Franklin

Arthur Bovino

When you make barbecue so good that people start lining up for it at 9:30 in the morning, you’re hot. When you open only for lunch and close when the food you've made runs out, you’re a good businessman. When you have a Twitter account that can pull off a handle like Barbecue_Jesus, you’re clever. When you’re mentioned in the same breath as Hill Country legends like Smitty’s and Kreuz’s as part of America’s barbecue elite, you’re on a roll. And when the meats you smoke back up your being named the best barbecue in the country, well… you' have to be counted as one of the coolest people in food.

Menus Inside Franklin

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After all that waiting, you finally get to plan out your meal. Who are you kidding? If you're going to wait almost three hours, you're going to be hungry. Order it all.

Civility at Franklin Barbecue

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For how popular the place is and how long the line is, you could expect chaos and all kinds of shenanigans when it comes to the tables. It just doesn't happen though. Perhaps in part because of signs like these.

Smoked Turkey

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Smoked turkey is salty and peppery, sitting in juice. Asked, there seem to be no secrets. Pitmaster Aaron Franklin says that it's just a salt and pepper rub: two parts pepper to one part salt. They smear it with butter, wrap it in foil, and smoke it. Then they dip the slices in the half hotel pan of juices and serve it. First, you get the smoke along with a mellowed pepper flavor on the front of the palate, and then you get a juicy saltiness.

Franklin Barbecue Sausage

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There's not as much jalapeño in this sausage as at Kreuz, and it's a bit more oily. But there's a helluva snap to the casing, with the juice spurting out as you slice in.

Franklin Barbecue Ribs

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You hear about meat falling off the bone, but that doesn't mean it necessarily is going to fall off in one piece. At Franklin, you literally pick up a bone and meat falls completely off in one piece.

Franklin Barbecue Brisket

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Even the lean stuff falls apart as you pick it up. There's a peppery, savory exterior, and perhaps most impressive, a quarter-inch deep smokeline that's moist long after it's cut. Fat is soft, flavorful, and easy to manage. It comes off proportionately with bits of meat. People often say you don't need sauce with brisket, and that's not always the case, but with Franklin's brisket, it's true.

The Tipsy Texan

Arthur Bovino

Chopped beef, sausage, and slaw — messy and delicious.

Pecan Pie

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Very likely you won't have room for dessert. But considering the high bar for entry, you should order one. Pecan pie is not overly sweet. It's something you didn't expect to be able to eat — definitely not something you'd be expeced to finish after downing more than a pound of meat. But you do.