Back when we spent three weeks in Austin we were told we weren’t legally allowed to leave the city until we had eaten at Franklin BBQ! That’s a lie, but still good advice. After all, Franklin BBQ has a reputation as the greatest BBQ to found in the US (and therefore the world).
How to plan a trip to Franklin BBQ
A trip to Franklin BBQ (or “Franklin’s” as many call it) starts with putting together a plan of attack. If you want in on the prized BBQ, plan on an early morning. We woke up at 6:30 AM and made it to the front door by 7:15. BBQ for breakfast? Afraid not- the doors don’t open for lunch until 11 but when they’re sold out of food for the day, they’re done. This has lead to a tradition in which Franklin hopefuls create a line that wraps around the block in anticipation of when the BBQ spot opens.
One of the people we met who was first in line had been there since shortly after 5AM.
Waiting in line
Since you’ll be waiting in line for quite a bit, do it like a pro:
- Chairs- If you get there early enough, Franklin has about 50 stadium chairs that you can borrow to make your wait more comfortable.
- Shade- Another benefit of showing up early is that there is enough shade under the porch roof for about the first 75 people depending on how many chairs and coolers are in use that day. Really important for that Texas sun!
- Beer- Yes, you can tailgate the BBQ line. A few cold beers in the morning feels right when all you have to look forward to is the best brisket you’ll ever have.
Skip the line
If you want to skip the line (and the anticipation), you can actually order ahead online and just pickup your order. As long as you order five lbs minimum of meat you can swoop in and swoop out like a pro. Yes, you’ll save some time but you never get that imaginary swagger that come from putting in your time in the tailgate line.
Is it worth it?
The best thing about this experience is that the food at Franklin lived up to the hype. Even the takeaway order of brisket that we were enjoying freshly reheated of the grill a few days later while camping was incredible. It’s seldom that a restaurant puts out incredible food at a decent price that is truly memorable.
We’re not foodies so I can’t write in depth about it with all the nuances it deserves. I have eaten countless pounds of various BBQ’d meat in my life and I can tell you that Franklin is the new high mark by which others will be judged.
On top of that, the staff at Franklin was top notch. They welcomed people in the morning, invited those in line to use the bathrooms before it opened, and generally did what they could to add to the experience.
Inside, the staff cutting brisket and serving up food to those in line were incredibly nice. They didn’t make you feel rushed even though hundreds of people were in line behind you while getting your order.
So, if you find yourself in Austin, you owe it to yourself to spend half a day for a food experience that you won’t find anywhere else.
Isn’t your name Allison? Yes. My maiden name is Finney. Most people call me by a nickname. You can call me Fin.
FAVORITE PLACES: Dubai, Argentina, Santorini and Croatia.
FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY: Kids in rural Philippines jumping and shouting HELLO whenever they saw two awkwardly tall white people trying to keep up with them on a scooter.