We obviously needed to try barbecue while in Texas, so we settled on Franklin Barbecue, a trailer-turned-brick-and-mortar place that has been winning all sorts of awards and is known for its hours-long waits (which many diners deem worth it). The hours are listed as 11am until sold out, and we were told to start lining up at 10am or don't even bother, so we speed-walked from our hotel through some awesomely grungy areas and lined up just before 10am this morning, landing solidly on the main ramp behind only fifteen other hungry folks, some with folding chairs, books, homework, and magazines.
At 11:02am, the doors opened to scattered cheering and growling bellies. We were able to get right inside, but even then, there was more waiting; it took about 20 minutes before we reached the actual counter, where Mr. Aaron Franklin himself very cheerfully took our order. Keeping in mind the recommendations from our new Austin food blogger friends, we decided on the Tipsy Texan sandwich, a pound of brisket, a half pound of pulled pork, and a bourbon banana pie.
Thanks to our remarkably early arrival, we were able to snag a picnic table on the outside porch, looking down over the unfortunate diners at the far end of the line. (When the doors opened at 11am, I counted at least 70 people waiting.)
I loved the brisket and pulled pork - they're up there with my reigning favorite BBQ, Fette Sau in Brooklyn - although Alex and Sam gave both mixed reviews. They were fonder of the Tipsy Texan, which I skipped due to my sandwich purist preferences. (There were just too many things going on in that sandwich for me. I like meat, bread, and maybe a topping. Two toppings at most.) The espresso BBQ sauce, one of three choices on the table, brought the meats to a whole new level of moist deliciousness.
Worth the wait? I think so - but not on a regular basis. It's a once-in-awhile experience, much like epically good New Haven pizza.
As we waddled out, we saw that the line was still going strong. These photos only show the very front part of it.
We spent most of the rest of the day walking all over the place, for a grand total of nearly ten miles, just like yesterday. I now have a bloody toe, which I consider a battle wound for SXSW. (Speaking of which, we picked up our badges today!)
Other posts in the Fork it over, Austin! series:
Part 1: Whip In
Part 2: Foreign & Domestic
Part 3: Caffe Medici
Part 4: Walking Along SoCo and Lunching at Chi'Lantro
Part 5: The Capitol, UT Austin, and Lunching (Again) at Torchy's Tacos
Part 6: Museum of the Weird
Part 7: Uchi
Part 8: East Side King at The Grackle
Part 10: Flagship Whole Foods and My First Green Smoothie
Part 11: Late Night Pizza at Via 313
Part 12: Kebabalicious
Part 13: My Robotic Kitchen Planned This Dinner Party
Part 14: Papi Tino's
Part 15: Annie's Cafe & Bar
Part 16: The Peached Tortilla
Part 17: Cupcake Quest: Hey Cupcake!
Part 18: Arancini
Part 19: The DeLorean, Boxing Robots, and Roller Derby Pillow Fights
Part 20: Second Bar + Kitchen
Part 21: Tia Kelly's Navajo Tacos
Part 22: Hopdoddy Burger Bar
Part 23: Gourdough's
Part 24: The Ice Cream Social
Part 25: Walking to Barton Springs
Part 26: Izzos Tacos
I'm also posting daily recaps on the Tasted Menu blog, FOOD=LOVE:
Day 1: A First Taste of Austin
Day 2: Tons of Tacos, Sushi at Uchi, and a Late Night Trip to East Side King
Day 3: Early Morning Barbecue and Late Night Pizza
Day 4: Globetrotting: Kebabs, Enchiladas, Pommes Frites
Day 5-6: Meeting and Eating