Want to have some of the best BBQ in the United States? Want to wake up at 7:00am and wait in line for 4 hours? Ok so the first question is a no brainer but the second one definitely complicates the situation a bit. Recently we traveled to Austin, Texas home of Franklin Barbeque, a joint that has not only received tons of national acclaim but also is said to be one of the best spots in the US. I love good ribs more than most but I also love sleep more than most which left me in a bit of a predicament. Luckily for me I have an amazing husband and he waited in line starting at 8, letting me sleep an extra hour (what a guy).
Waiting in line at Franklin’s is as much an experience as eating there. By the time I arrived at nine there was already a line snaking deep into the parking lot. Even the Boys Scouts would be proud of this group they came prepared for the long haul. Books, Beer, Chairs and games adorned the line. There was even a gentleman renting chairs for $5 for those who were not so keen to stand on there feet for that long. As the aroma of barbeque filled the air the excitement grew. Regulars and rookies were quickly sorted out and regulars shared stories of past plates of brisket.
At 11:00am the doors opened and the first group was ushered in. You could feel the hunger grow as one by one groups entered the restaurant. Once inside it took an additional 45 minutes to get to the counter. This gave us plenty of time to think about what to order, to try the sweet tea, and to chat with the people next to us who by this point we knew quite well. While we started off trying not to stare at those consuming barbeque eventually we gave in and began to stare. Analyzing which BBQ sauce they were pairing with what meat. The espresso BBQ sauce with the brisket…check. The Texas style BBQ sauce with the ribs…check. “Look at this guy he is putting onions and pickles on his pulled pork, what sauce is that?” “Look how this woman is putting the brisket with the slices of white bread”. As we observed and mentally prepared for what would be our first bite, we couldn’t help but laugh at the universal position everyone was taking. Elbows on the table, first bite raises to the mouth, immediately shoulders relax, eyes close, and lips begin to curl in the slightest of smiles.
Finally it was our turn at the counter. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) when you wait four hours for BBQ you have every excuse to say yes. Brisket and Ribs? Of course and lots please. Pulled Pork as well? Sure why not. Would you like beans? Ok! What about potato salad and cole slaw? Pile it on! With our tray mounded high with food we turned eagerly to find the closest seat to feverishly begin our meat consumption. Seats found, elbow on the table, rib to mouth, shoulders relax, eyes close, lips curl in a smile…damn its good barbeque.