Waiting in line at Franklin BBQ (doing what has to be done)

Fatty brisket, ribs and sausage at Franklin's BBQ

Fatty brisket, ribs and sausage at Franklin’s BBQ

Franklin BBQ is legendary. It is supposed to be the best barbecue in the country. Aaron Franklin started his company as a food truck back in 2009 and moved into a brick and mortar building in 2011. Every day, without fail, he sells out of his amazing brisket.

Franklin's BBQ

The doors open at 11am…the line starts as early as 6 am! People bring chairs, books, coolers and make waiting for 3-6 hours as much fun as possible.

This was on our list as the one “must do” thing in Austin so we bought an inflatable cooler, a 6-pack of local beer and woke up at 7am yesterday to brave the line.

The line already forming!

The line already forming!

We arrived around 8:30am and I felt pretty good about our spot. It was just around the corner from the doors, about 40 people back. We started chatting to the people next to us, and ended up spending the whole time talking to them. One of the girls used to live in Portland, the other girl is moving to Seattle so much of the focus of conversation was on the Pacific Northwest.

Around 10 am a server came by to ask us what we thought we would order — their way to gauge how much brisket they will sell since that’s by far the most popular item. Then another server followed letting us know we’d most likely be eating by 1-1:30 pm. (So 4-5 hours of waiting!)

Luckily our new-found friends were very entertaining. I even took a walk with one of the girls to the Quickie Pickie to re-stock on beer and buy a few breakfast tacos for the wait.

The new friends we made in line -- these guys were super fun to talk with.

The new friends we made in line — these guys were super fun to talk with.

Migas taco and a cold IPA. Breakfast of champions!

Migas taco and a cold IPA. Breakfast of champions!

If you look past the green construction fence you'll see the line just keeps going and going.

If you look past the green construction fence you’ll see the line just keeps going and going.

Around 12:30pm (ahead of schedule!) we were inside the doors.

Old school menu

Old school menu

Franklin's BBQ

Then we were up to the front:

The menu: we opted for a brisket and rib plate, a pulled pork sandwich and a sausage link.

The menu: we opted for a brisket and rib plate, a pulled pork sandwich and a sausage link.

The good stuff! Fatty brisket cut to order.

The good stuff! Fatty brisket cut to order.

Then, around 1pm (right on schedule — they have that timeline dialed in!) we feasted:

Now that is a sandwich!

Now that is a sandwich!

Brisket at Franklin's BBQ, Austin

Brisket and rib plate, side of sausage, slaw, potato salad and the ubiquitous white bread.

Bourbon Banana Cream Pie (at Franklin's, made by Cake and Spoon)

Bourbon Banana Cream Pie (at Franklin’s, made by Cake and Spoon)

So was it worth it? Hell yes. Would I do it again sometime? Undoubtedly. The brisket was incredible. In fact we just polished off the last of it for breakfast today and it was still incredible. The fat just melts, the bark is thick and the flavor is all smoke and love.

If you end up in Austin, even for a day, make yourself happy — go to Franklin.

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14 thoughts on “Waiting in line at Franklin BBQ (doing what has to be done)

  1. Welcome to Austin! I’ve never done this line before, though I’ve seen it when going to Blue Dahlia or the Quickie Pickie. Those pictures do look awfully good and really a good bbq sandwich should always have coleslaw on it. Maybe I’ll have to some day.

    • Oh I totally agree about the coleslaw. That’s the only way! =) The people we were waiting with actually lived in Austin and they had never done Franklin’s before either. The girl who was moving to Seattle had it on her “before I leave” bucket list. We all agreed it was SO worth it! Plus the wait was actually really fun — everyone was very friendly and chatty.

    • Ha! Some guy came by right at 10:45am with a $100 bill offering it for a spot in line. Not a single taker! But it does seem like a lot of people pay to have people wait for them. Though you’d miss out on some of the fun! It really was a good time — lots of camaraderie and beer.

  2. wow wow wow–thanks for sharing your experience, J! Loved seeing it through your eyes. Your new friends do look like fun 🙂 Good stuff, all of it.

  3. Wow! That is quite the line for BBQ. It must be very good! Your food looks amazing. I would order one of everything. Austin is on our to-do list and I hope we make it here one day! Have a great rest of your trip.

    • It definitely lives up to its reputation — the brisket is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Like crazy, melty, fatty good. I hope you make it here too — this town has so much good stuff going on! Between the beer and the BBQ I’m tempted to move here. =)

  4. I love that you were eating while waiting in line to eat. Very nice! I visited Austin in February and we did La Barbecue food truck instead, it is supposedly a runner-up for the best. It was tasty!!

    • This is not the first time I have tailgated a restaurant, though it was the first time it was totally acceptable. =) Hooray for beer and breakfast tacos! We heard about La Barbecue but sadly won’t make it there. After 2 other places in Lockhart we are burned out on BBQ. But it leaves us stuff to come back for!

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