Franklin Barbecue

By Marshall Wright

“It’ll be close, but we’ve got enough to feed the line for about two hours,” says Aaron Franklin, owner and pit master of Franklin Barbecue. “When it’s gone, it’s gone…until tomorrow, though.”

Stop by Franklin Barbecue on any given morning and you’re likely to find a line of people a hundred or so deep, snaking down Branch Street, waiting in anticipation for Franklin to turn the lock and swing open the door to the popular East Austin ’cue shack.

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And those lines aren’t without merit—in just under a year, the upstart trailer-cum-brick-and-mortar has been serving what some say is the best brisket in Central Texas to long lines every day of the week but Monday. What originally started as a ramshackle food trailer tucked away on the I-35 access road and surrounded by a chain-link fence has quickly become a bona fide foodie destination.

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Franklin got his start working with legendary barbecue icon Johnny Mueller and throwing countless backyard cookouts until he’d honed his chops enough to take it to the streets. It was then that he and his wife, Stacy, began quietly seducing barbecue aficionados with smoky, moist brisket, pork ribs and a beefy smoked sausage that immediately set the Central Texas barbecue circuit abuzz.

“Hey, how y’all doing today?” Franklin asks the throngs of hungry people streaming in at opening time. “You want that lean or Fatty McFatterson?”
With Franklin’s world-class food, and personality to match, it’s easy to see why folks are willing to stand in line for hours for a chance to score a few pounds of smoked meat.

 

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