If you love smoked meats, you are going to love Texas barbecue. Be sure to grab my Tips for Eating at Franklin Barbecue before you go!
A little story time and then we’ll get into the good stuff. (Feel free to skip ahead – be sure to read the very bottom of this post though!)
I went to Austin, TX for a blog conference and had one goal in mind while I was there. To eat at Franklin Barbecue. Sure visiting TheChive would be cool too, but it was all about Franklin for me. I got in Tuesday night, took an Uber to Franklin on Wednesday morning, has a great meal, and ate leftover barbecue from my room’s fridge for the rest of the week. Heaven.
My friend and her husband were going to meet and they ended up coming later in the morning. I made a couple of friends in line, tried some local beers, and was really hoping to see Aaron Franklin while I was there. I just missed him. I was leaving as my friend was sitting down to eat. She said he came out about 15 minutes after I left. *sigh* Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend Franklin Barbecue to anyone who’s thinking about going.
Is Franklin Barbecue Worth the Wait?
That really is the big question… does it live up to the hype and the wait time for the food?
The simple answer is, yes. Franklin is damn good barbecue and I have plans to go back to Austin with my husband for another meal. The meats are smoked to perfection, the staff is nice and efficient at their jobs, and the whole place has a simple and inviting feel with indoor or outdoor eating areas. Two thumbs way up.
I will say, I felt the side dishes could have been a bit better/had more flavor. Beans and slaw are great to have with barbecue, but they were just okay. I wouldn’t write home about the sides, but the meats are the star of the show so it’s not THAT big of a deal. Just trying to keep things honest.
The pies were delicious. They come from a local bakery and are individually sized but still big enough that you could share with a friend if you wanted to.
We do have a pretty kick-ass Texas meets Arizona barbecue place near our house so I can get my fix, but they use mesquite whereas Franklin uses Texas post oak. Different smoke = different flavors and the post oak in Aaron Franklin’s capable hands makes his food really delicious.
What to expect at Franklin Barbecue
I showed up at Franklin Barbecue around 7 am. I had read a number of online articles about when to get there and since I really didn’t have anything else going on that morning, I was down to wait. I was the 8th person in line on a Wednesday.
Franklin doesn’t open until 11 am so come prepared to entertain yourself or make some new friends. Everyone is there for the same thing, so don’t be shy if you go alone. I met a brother and sister who were doing their own Texas barbecue tour and taught me about some of the other restaurants around. It was great. Everyone’s pretty cool about holding spots in line too.
A couple of hours before the store officially opens, the employees with open up a storage area with folding chairs that you can borrow while you wait. They also open up the lobby so you can buy merch, cookbooks, drinks (I totally recommend grabbing a local Texas beer), and use the restroom if needed.
Then, a little later, someone will come through the line and ask what you’re planning to order. If you change your mind about which meats or how much you want later, it’s not a big deal. The employees are just getting an idea of what they’re selling for the day vs how much meat they have prepared.
Franklin Barbecue Menu
Oh the menu. One of my favorite things about walking into Franklin was seeing the letterboard menu. The old-school cafeteria vibes made my heart happy. Okay, let’s talk food. For most people brisket is the big draw, so how much is brisket at Franklins?
*The prices shown in the photo of the menu are from 2019. The prices below are the current prices listed on the Franklin Barbecue website.
Smoked Meats (priced by the pound)
- Brisket $34
- Ribs $30
- Pulled Pork $28
- Turkey $28
- Sausage $19 (4 links)
- Jalapeno Cheddar Sausage $23
- Brisket $17
- Pulled Pork $14
- Turkey $14
- Chopped Beef $12
- Tipsy Texan $13
Sides (single $4 / pint $6 / quart $11)
- Potato Salad
- Pinto Beans
Pies ($8 each)
- Bourbon Banana
Franklin also has a selection of fountain drinks, bottled water, bottled soda, cold brew coffee, iced tea, beer, and wine.
These prices are typical of a good barbecue joint. If you’re thinking, “I can’t eat a pound of brisket in one sitting by myself!” don’t worry. You can order 1/4 pound and 1/2 pound portions and sausages by the link.
What is a Tipsy Texan at Franklin Barbecue?
The Tipsy Texan is a sandwich with pickles, chopped brisket, sausage slices, and coleslaw all served on a burger bun. It’ll run you $13 and is 100% worth it.
Franklin Barbecue FAQs
Where is Franklin Barbecue?
Franklin Barbecue is located at 900 E 11th St, Austin, TX 78702 (see map).
When is Franklin Barbecue least busy?
Usually, things slow down around 2 pm. That being said, Franklin closes when they sell out, so if you wait too long to get there you may not get the food you came for.
Franklin is closed on Mondays and is open from 11 am to 3 pm Tuesday thru Sunday.
Franklin Barbecue at Home
If you want to cook like Aaron at home there are a couple of options to get you started in the right direction.
#1 – The Franklin Barbecue books
Aaron has two books out currently, Franklin Barbecue: A Meat Smoking Manifesto and Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef. They’re also available in a nice boxed set, which makes a great gift for any foodies in your life, even if it’s just to read them.
I owned the barbecue book before my trip to Austin and I bought the steak book at the restaurant. They’re both loaded with great information and recipes, but they also have stories from Aaron about how Franklin Barbecue got started and his cooking journey.
#2 – The Franklin Barbecue MasterClass
This class is it, friends. I have a MasterClass subscription and Aaron’s barbecue class has you smoking meats right along with him. He talks you through setting up your fire, figuring out your cooking timeline, and start-to-finish how to smoke brisket, pork shoulder, ribs, steak with broccolini, and make barbecue sauce.
You’re literally sitting in the yard with Aaron and his smoker and it’s awesome. This class is what finally gave me the courage to use our smoker for the first time.
Tips for Eating at Franklin Barbecue
When it all comes down to it, here are the important tips to remember…
- Arrive early, between 7 and 8 am for the best spots in line. You’ll be under the patio roof so if there’s any chance of rain you don’t have to worry. The roof also keeps you in the shade, which is nice if it’s a warmer day.
- Figure out what you want to order. Whether you’re just getting get a couple of things or plan to order a whole tray to try some of everything. That way it’s not a pop quiz situation when they come around and ask.
- Bring a book or something to entertain yourself in line. But don’t be afraid to talk to the people around you either. A lot of people come from out of town to Franklin, but there are locals in line too who know the good stuff to do in Austin.
- If you show up later, it’s not the end of the world. My friend showed up around 10:30 am. They were at the back of the line as I went in and when I was done eating they had just gotten their food and were coming to sit down.
- When you go to leave – if you have leftovers, know that there are no to-go boxes. Instead, you’ll wrap up your leftovers in butcher paper and put them into a plastic grocery bag. Also, your clothes are going to smell like smoke. Plan accordingly.
I hope you enjoy your trip to Austin and Franklin Barbecue!
Happy eating friends!
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