Sunday, November 21, 2010

Franklin Barbecue - Is this the best brisket in Texas?

One giant question loomed over our Central Texas 5-Star Anniversary BBQ Tour. Could Franklin Barbecue, aka: the little trailer that could in Austin, beat out Snow's BBQ in Lexington for the title of "Best Brisket in Texas?"

We had 12 posse members meet up for lunch at Franklins. The joint opens at 11am but they were sold out by 12:30pm, not an unusual occurrence. We had called ahead anonymously a few days earlier to pre-order a brisket, a couple of racks of ribs and some sausage. The posse arrived at 1pm and dug in, sitting at the picnic tables next to Franklin's blue trailer and two large smokers. The debate was fast and furious as pitmaster and owner Aaron Franklin joined us later to talk all things BBQ.

Here are some of the comments from posse members:

Marshall Cooper, the Texas BBQ Posse's pitmaster: "The brisket at Franklin BBQ certainly defines what the best brisket is. The rub was just right with salt and a little black pepper. The fatty brisket was melt in your mouth tender, with the right amount of salt enhancing the smoke flavor. The flat cut of brisket was exceptional as well, perfectly tender with the perfect black crust imparting the flavor of the salt and pepper rub perfectly enhancing the smoked flavor. The ambiance was bar none with the turquoise concession trailer & seating located just next to the two gigantic wood burning pits that put off a real good sweet aroma of cooking bbq and burning oak wood."

Bruce Tomaso: "I’m telling friends they should visit Franklin as soon as they can. The trailer experience will never be duplicated in a restaurant; and the brisket might not be, either."

Jim Rossman: "This was my first Central Texas trip. I found exactly what I was looking for — a few places to return to again and again. Talking to Aaron Franklin changed the way I think about barbecue. His dedication to his craft is as amazing as his meats. I'm already trying to think of excuses to get back down to Franklin's in Austin or Snow's in Lexington."

Libby Jacobson: "The fact that people regularly wait 45 minutes to eat BBQ at a picnic table in the back of a parking lot makes a loud statement that the good ol' boys of BBQ are being challenged to a duel, and they may not be the last ones standing..."

We took a vote among posse members after breakfast at Snow's on Saturday morning, while memories of Franklin's were still fresh on our taste buds. On a straight vote, Franklin's took the title in an amazingly close race.

I wasn't so quick to make the call. These are undoubtably two of the best briskets in the world. Can't we be thankful for that and call it a draw? I'm thinking maybe next week, what about breakfast sitting among the smokers at Snow's followed by lunch at one of Aaron Franklin's picnic tables. That's what we call BBQ heaven......

Franklin Barbecue, 3421 N. I-35, Austin, TX 78722, (512) 653-1187. Open Wed. - Sun. 11am-4pm or when the meat runs out.

(Photos by Chris Wilkins)

7 comments:

  1. How ironic that you guys decided to post this the day after my wife and I enjoyed that fantastic Franklin Q...

    Katye and I are from Northern VA, and we're no strangers to good Q. Having enjoyed delightful meats in the Carolinas, Kansas City, and Memphis, the one spot we neglected to visit was Texas. To remedy the situation, we decided to come down here before heading west to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Thanks to this blog (how we were introduced to it is a long story...), we stopped at Snow's first. Great stuff, and even got some nice pictures out of it, too. Then it was off to Franklin...absolutely outstanding. I'm afraid to go elsewhere since a letdown seems inevitable.

    Anyway, this comment is long enough as it is, but a 'Thank You' is in order. Thanks to you guys, we've eaten some FANTASTIC brisket the past few days. Now we're off to Smitty's for one last meal before heading to Cali...

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  2. Thanks Joe & Katye, glad we could help out!!

    I think back-to-back Snows-to-Franklin BBQ tour stops will become a BBQ Hall of Fame staple.....

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  3. Franklins is great stuff, but the best brisket I have had in Texas this year was at big racks BBQ in grapevine tx by dfw airport. Http://www.bigracksbbq.com

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  4. Franklin's brisket is OK, but like nearly all others, "moist" is too fat and "lean" is too dry, there's only about 30% of each of their briskets that provide the right balance.

    Nobody can touch Blacks brisket because nobody else I know of only uses the "flat" cut od Black Angus briskets.

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  5. I've been to the mountain...twice in Franklin's case once for Snow and in my opinion it isn't really that close. Snow's is best by a country mile. Franklin is second but between the two of them, they lapped the field. I've eaten at all of them, Lockhart, Luling, Taylor, Elgin, and none of them come close to the Brisket at Snow's or Franklin's. Be prepared to wait forever at Franklin, and be prepared to drive forever to get to Snow's...worth the time, believe me!

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  6. I've never been to Texas but I'm always a fan of good southern food! There's an awesome BBQ place near VA beach that my family always stops in. Hush puppies are my fave!
    best bbq

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