Restaurant Review: Franklin Barbecue (Austin, TX)

Franklin Barbecue Brisket, Pork Rib, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Sausage

Franklin Barbecue Brisket, Pork Rib, Pulled Pork, Turkey, Sausage

Franklin Barbecue started off as a food truck in 2009 and has morphed into a stand-alone restaurant that is enormously popular.  It has gotten a lot of press, to say the least.  The brisket was hyperbolically named best in the history of the world in 2011 by The Austin Chronicle (come to think of it, coming from a Texas publication, this might be true), and the same year Bon Appetit magazine declared Franklin the best barbecue in America.  Recently, Franklin has even been featured in a national Chase Sapphire Preferred commercial with Chef Aaron Franklin being visited by Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.  All of the buzz has resulted in lengthy waits.  People start lining up before 8am for the 11am opening time.  This is to get a coveted place under the covered awning on one side of the building to help escape the relentless, scorching Texas sun and heat (100 degrees when I visited in early September), and to ensure that the barbecue does not sell out.  I arrived on a Sunday morning at 8am, and was about 20th in line and got a place under the awning.  I finally made it inside after a three hour wait.  Thankfully, Franklin’s restaurant is air-conditioned!

Franklin serves beef brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork, turkey, and sausage.  I got a ¼ pound sampler platter of each type of meat, along with one sausage link.  At the counter I got my first taste of the brisket, a generous sample cut by the chef.  Crisp bark, fatty richness, moist interior, and smoky flavor throughout really was extraordinary.  There are fatty and lean portions available, and I think the fatty portions are the best, but they are both great.  The pork rib was also outstanding.  Peppery bark, with tender flavorful interior meat.  The sausage was also excellent.  The turkey was moist and good, and the pulled pork was fair.  The stand-outs for me were that brisket, along with the pork rib and sausage.

Pickles are essential to cut the richness of all the meat.  Their cole slaw is really great, and the beans were OK in my opinion.

I got a pound of brisket to take home.  They wrap it in butcher paper and provide a plastic bag and some containers of three types of BBQ sauce.  Everyone was really friendly.  The brisket survived a plane trip home the same day and was delicious wrapped in foil and reheated at 350 for about twenty minutes.

This is the last in my series on Austin, a city I really liked.  Unique places like Franklin Barbecue, Qui, John Mueller, and East Side King make Austin a really great food destination.

Link to Franklin Barbecue website here.


Restaurant Review: John Mueller Meat Co. (Austin, TX)

John Mueller Meat Co. brisket, sausage, beef rib

John Mueller Meat Co. brisket, sausage, beef rib

John Mueller Meat Co. serves Texas barbecue in Austin.  John Mueller is quite famous in Austin for the quality of the barbecue and the several comebacks he has made in selling it (see a nice article here).

John Mueller serves his barbecue in an outdoor fenced in lot in East Austin at 2500 E. 6th Street, with an outdoor smoker, covered picnic tables, and a small trailer where the food is served.  They open at 1030 am, and when I went on a Saturday in September right before opening time there were only a few people in front of me.  The line is not nearly as long as some other places, which was much appreciated to avoid the unrelenting Texas sun and heat.  Mueller is there tending the smoker and sometimes passing out cans of ice cold Lone Star beer to customers.  Be forewarned: he is a little prickly about people taking pictures of the smoker, which I learned firsthand.

The beef rib was enormous and encrusted by a thick bark, under which was a huge amount of tender, smoky meat (see the detail on the right in the picture above).  The brisket was excellent – moist, luscious, peppery, complex, delicious.  It’s important to get a combination of both fatty and lean sections.  Barbecue this flavorful does not need sauce, but they serve a great vinegar-based sauce.  I was not as big a fan of the sausage (a little crumbly texturally) or the squash (a little too much cheese), but most importantly the brisket and beef rib make John Mueller Meat Co. definitely worth seeking out.

Link to John Mueller Meat Co. website here.

Great pics and descriptions of other Austin barbecue spots here.

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