My boyfriend and I love Austin, so we always try to find an excuse to visit Austin — and all we do is eat, eat and eat. So it’s no surprise that we spent this past weekend eating our way through Austin. And we decided that we would do it – that we would embark on the whole ‘Franklin’ experience. Honestly, I’m impatient and am not the kind to wait more than an hour (more like 30 min.) for food, but somehow I convinced myself to wait five hours for BBQ — and I did it. I came. I waited. I conquered. It’s because I keep hearing locals and Yelp reviewers rave about the brisket and how no other place compares that I decided to devote half of my day to Franklin. Also, I haven’t heard a single person said that “it wasn’t worth it.” And I would be dishonoring my title as a ‘foodie’ if I never try such a famous and highly regarded restaurant. Overall, the experience can be broken down into three parts:
1. Before – The Arrival & Waiting Game
We got there on Sunday around 8:45 AM, laid down our tarp and we brought some snacks, books and music – we were prepared, but so was everyone else. If you don’t have a lawn chair, don’t fret — Franklin has lawn chairs you can borrow. However, do bring entertainment and snacks, but not too much cause you don’t want to ruin your appetite. We even befriended our neighbors behind us, which made the time fly by. Waiting is definitely part of the “experience” so make sure to make the most of it — entertain yourself, study, nap or befriend your neighbors.
Also, note that you can buy beer while waiting in line or you can bring your own, which I recommend. Furthermore, someone will go down the line and provide clear instructions on how Franklin works. There will also be another person who will ask you what you plan to order to make sure that there is enough. This is great, because this prevents you from waiting in line for hours only to be left starving and disappointed. They’ll also tell you when you’ll tentatively be eating – they are pros at this so believe them when they’ll say you’ll be eating 5 hours later.
2. During – The MOMENT(s)
That moment when you’re inside and waiting for your turn to order is quite exciting even though you’re still in line. However, once you see everyone eating trays of that brisket, sausage and pulled pork, you’ll begin to salivate and your heart will begin to race. Once you see that there’s only ONE guy cutting up the meat, you’ll wonder why the heck haven’t they hired one more person, but you’ll soon forget that thought when it’s your turn to order.
The moment I took the first bite of that brisket was one of the most rewarding feelings ever — I have never waited so long for food. We got 1/2 lb fatty brisket and 1/2 lb lean brisket. The fatty brisket melts in your mouth like butter and falls off your fork easily and nicely. The lean brisket is tasty as well, but nothing as good as the fatty parts. There are several BBQ rubs you can choose for your meats. As weird as it may sound, the espresso rub went well with the brisket. The roasty notes paired well with the smokiness of the brisket. We also got the sausage and pulled pork, and all were as good as you expect it to be. The sausage – plump and smoky. The pulled pork – moist, but a little bland (but that’s what the sauces are for).
3. After – The Food Coma
Of course, we were ambitious and ordered more than we can eat, but we were not going to wait 5 hours to order a small amount of food. The leftovers heated up in the microwave fine and made a great lunch the next day. Best. Leftovers. Ever. (besides Chipotle – lol). We had plans to drive straight back to Dallas right after, but did not make it more than 8 miles, because we were so tired. Consequently, we pulled into a neighborhood, found some shade, parked our car and napped with the windows down. So if you ever plan to embark on this adventure, just remember it’s a whole day kind of ordeal.
And you’re probably wondering was it worth it? Yes. But will I ever wait 5 hours again? No, probably not. With all that being said, it is definitely a fun experience and something worth doing once — and only once.