Franklin BBQ in Austin Texas– I’m Here for the Brisket

This is Texas, so BBQ is everywhere. But ever since my husband has been coming to Austin, all he talks about is the brisket at Franklin BBQ. We’ve been here 5 months now, and I haven’t had it for myself. So this morning instead of heading to the gym, I’m at the corner of 11th and Branch. I’m here for the brisket.

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Brisket at Franklin BBQ

Yes, I woke up at 6:30 this morning fully intending to go to the gym. And while I was getting ready, I pondered what we’d have for dinner tonight.

We’ve been here for more than 5 months. We had talked about going to Franklin’s several times, just hadn’t made the trip. It’s only 25 minutes away, but in order to guarantee you get brisket, you have to arrive early… like post-dawn early. The restaurant opened at 11 am but always sold out before its scheduled 3 pm-close.

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You Gotta Get Here Early

I was already too late to be first. Joe arrived first at 5 am. He says he prefers to arrive early and be the first one through the door, at least he knows when he’ll be served.

He says that after the holidays you can order online and come pick up your order, bypassing the line. Joe also said the brisket, steak, and chicken at Franklin BBQ was good but the ribs were to die for. That’s good to know.

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First Come First Served

You aren’t left out in the cold alone. A couple of ladies come through the line to let you know what’s available that day. They take a tally to determine:

1. How long it will take to go through the line, and if…
2. they will have what you want when you get to the counter.

I was told I would be served between noon and 12:30 and that everything would still be available. So besides the brisket at Franklin BBQ, I could have turkey, pork sausage, and ribs as well as pulled pork.

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Services Available

Franklin wants you to be as comfortable as possible. They have folding chairs you can borrow if you don’t bring your own. Legend Coffee House in the back of the restaurant serves hot tea and coffee until Franklin’s opens. And the owners keep a propane heater on the deck so you can keep warm and open the restaurant doors so you can use the restroom.

Before the Doors Open

I pulled off 11th street to see the line that had already formed. And to be honest I was happy to see it. It was way too early to be out for lunches so I was glad I hadn’t wasted my time.

I needed up sitting next to Mel, Matt, and Ericka. Mel had just finished teaching English in SE Asia. Matt and Ericka were visiting from Brooklyn. Mel and Matt were siblings from Hawaii and Ericka were from Japan, but I think they met in Hawaii.

We talked about travel, Asian customs, the crazy Texas weather, and more in the three hours we waited for Franklin’s to open. Ericka and I exchanged blog likes. She is a very talented illustrator and cartoonist; her blog, Jonko’s Illustrations, can be found here. It’s incredible how much good conversation and interesting people can turn a menial chore like standing in line into fun.

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When the Restaurant Doors Open

A discernible yay erupted when the doors finally opened and everyone flooded into the interior. The restaurant is cozy. But the line goes fast because of the pre-scouting done earlier. I can see the food now. And it looks really good. I decide to add some turkey to my brisket, pulled pork and ribs order– it looks too moist to pass up.

Wafts of spices and smoke fill the dining room. You can hear people talking– a few people. But most of them are eating. Every now and then you hear a long rip as the counter staff rip off large pieces of thick paper– your plate for today’s dining experience.

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Worth the Wait

Pictures and articles hang on the walls. Some of them are local others are not. You may remember the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s visit to Franklins way back in 2012.

There are tons of blogs that will tell you why Franklin’s is different from all the other Texas BBQ. I can tell you, I was not disappointed in the wait for the brisket at Franklin BBQ. Barely back in the car before I broke off a piece of brisket and yes, it was delicious. It fell apart in my fingers. It was moist and seasoned just right. Who knows, I may even wait in line again, it was part of the experience.

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  1. Ruth I.

    The fact that people are lining up and waiting for hours, this is really good! I am now hoping that they have another store near me.

  2. Mizhelle

    I live in Tokyo, and people here line up for good/trendy restaurants too. I once lined up for 2 hours to eat curry. Best one I’ve tried, yes, but can’t imagine doing that again. Glad you got to have a rewarding dining experience, you deserved it!

  3. Alexine

    Wow!! what a lovely experience for you guys! I think my friend who visits often in Texas already have mentioned this Franklin BBQ before, I’m not pretty sure but I already have seen this restaurant from the Television I guess. It’s quite popular here in Europe, Texas is the home of good grilled meat! I’d love to come and taste their food here in the future.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yes, it has been on a few TV shows including Samantha Brown and Anthony Bourdain. Texas has some great BBQ that we are totally enjoying while we are here. We are hoping to move back to Europe next year because we love the lifestyle and travel options.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      I didn’t think so until I did it. I actually enjoyed the whole pomp and circumstance more than I expected. I met some nice people.

  4. Melanie

    Wow. Good thing you didn’t bring any kids with you. Mine never would have lasted waiting in that line. I’m glad it was worth the wait ?

  5. Laura Dove

    Wow I think given people are queuing to get in shows how good this restaurant is! Ribs are my absolute favourite food, I always order them, so this is right up my street!

  6. Kaitlynn

    this reminds me of the cronut shop in NYC where people have to wait outside before it opens haha this is something I would try!

  7. Hannah MArie

    “ It looks like the long queue is worth the wait. It is like kids waiting for a new Jordan release. I am sure the food here is fantastic.

  8. Wiola and Mike

    Wow, the service and food must be very good that you are willing to wait outside for quite some time. It’s nice to read such positive opinions so we would probably visit this place if we had a chance to be in Texas:)

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Yes, it was surprisingly fun because it wasn’t too cld outside. I enjoyed the experience and the food too.

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