Aaron Franklin’s parents owned a barbecue stand in his native Bryan, Texas, so it could be said that making good brisket is in his blood. But barbecue runs thick in the veins of every Texan, and when Franklin began experimenting with brisket and a backyard smoker a decade ago, it just so happened that with him it ran thicker than most.
With the encouragement of friends, Franklin and his wife Stacy debuted Franklin Barbecue in late 2009 on an East Austin parking lot. From the walk-up window of a travel trailer-turned brisket stand, patrons quickly recognized the undeniable, finger-licking quality of the barbecue: the Franklins were selling the best there was. By spring, the line of admirers snaked around the block, and the press followed.
In less than two years, Franklin Barbecue garnered a sizeable amount of published praise. The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, and Cooking Channel were among a growing chorus hailing Franklin among America’s BBQ elite. Indeed Franklin’s was even mentioned in the breath as Smitty’s, Kreuz’s, and other stalwart temples to the holy craft of smoked meat that line the Central Texas brisket belt. The jewel in Franklin’s brisket crown? In the summer of 2010, Bon Appetit hailed Franklin Barbecue as the best in America. And in 2012 StarChefs.com named Franklin an Austin-San Antonio Rising Star Chef.
With this much success, the Franklins quickly outgrew their trailer, which is now parked behind their brick and mortar restaurant (located a few blocks south of the original location). Despite the new digs and every reasonable effort to increase production, Franklin Barbecue’s line is as long as ever, and the restaurant has sold out of brisket every day of its existence.