I recently drove from Dallas to San Antonio, which means that I had to go right through Austin, Texas. When I was planning my trip, I decided to see what restaurants were best rated in Austin and pick one for a meal either on the drive down or back up to Dallas. And Franklin Barbecue is the place that I decided on. I’d found several things online raving about the place – to the point that I was going into it with VERY high expectations.
As someone who grew up in Tennessee, I know good barbecue when I taste it. My dad is always trying some new hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint in search of the best of the best. I also lived in Kansas City and tasted what they try to pass off for barbecue there (blech). And I’ve had plenty of brisket and other BBQ in the DFW area. So, Franklin BBQ had some pretty big shoes to fill right from the start.
Since I read online that lines start before 10am, I knew that this would have to be a stop on the way back to Dallas. So, on the day that I was to leave San Antonio, I got up at 6:30am to get ready and make the pilgrimage to Franklin Barbecue. From what I had read online, this BBQ was going to be a religious experience – at least the brisket.
I’d read that Anthony Bourdain was in Austin earlier this year and declared it the best brisket he’d ever eaten – and that is quite an endorsement. So, I got in line around 9:25am and there were already five or six people there. Most of the people started arriving around 10:30 though. They don’t open up and start serving until 11am.
I wasn’t traveling alone, which means that I got to sample more than one thing on the menu. I tasted the brisket, the pulled pork and the ribs. The sides I tried were the slaw and the potato salad.
Best Brisket in Austin? The Verdict
I can say, that the brisket was definitely the best that I have ever had. It was not quite a religious experience, but I would stand in line for it again. The pulled pork also ranks really high up there for me. However, I didn’t really care for the ribs. The meat seemed a little dry and tough. Sides were good but nothing to rave about. It is also served, if you order the 2-meat plate, with two slices of white sandwich bread (I didn’t eat mine).
Why didn’t I eat my bread? Because they give you enough food on the 2-meat plate to feed a small army! Seriously. They really heap the barbecue on your plate. For two of the 2-meat plates and two iced teas, the total was just over $31. I can’t wait to have an excuse to go back to Austin just to get some more of this brisket.