Why is Franklin BBQ in austin so good?

Discussion in 'Beef' started by waytoodeep03, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've always loved BBQ'd meats, even before I knew what was good.  Flavor, quantity, service, and simple surroundings are what I love.  Back when I frequently traveled for business I consumed Q all over the country, but a military stint in Texas is where I fell in love with my wife and the style of Q that suits me best.  Sutphen's Amarillo, Sonny Bryan's DFW, and a long gone place in Alice, Tx that served meats on butcher paper and tea in Mason jars are just a few that are stuck in my memory. Hickory and mesquite are imprinted on my tastebuds and still my favorite woods to smoke on beef.  It was the lack of available good Q locally and a wife who believed I could duplicate the long-lost Texas flavors here at home that got me into smoking meats.

    Would I stand in line for hours for great brisket?  Nah, but I think it is absolutely terrific that people do.  I can now make a brisket I love, been eating on one all week.  I never want to get tired of brisket though so I only smoke one about every six weeks to two months.  Pork, chicken, meatloaf, chuckies, beef roasts all get smoked quite often, but brisket is a special treat.

    Aaron is obviously a master at what he does.  What I like best though is the personality he presents on his videos; one of a nice guy willing to share with anyone what he has perfected, making Q that people love.            
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2014
    jgwellwood likes this.
  2. mickhlr

    mickhlr Smoke Blower

    Noboundaries, that's a great observation.  You just made me miss living in south-central Texas.  Being an old Texas boy who spent 20 years in the military all over the world, my story is just about the opposite.  It took me quite a while before I could eat BBQ anywhere else, after growing up in Texas.  And, I never could duplicate what the BBQ joints put out back in those days.  I think I can now, but definitely not back then.  For one thing, when I was younger, I didn't want to take the time to do it.

    I learned to appreciate a lot of different BBQ styles from different places all over the world though.  One thing I found that I do not like at all though is the mutton that they do in Kentucky, and a few other places.  And, I'm not a big fan of some of the vinegar-based BBQ sauces on the east coast.  But, for the most part, I just like BBQ.

    I think somebody does pulled pork just about everywhere.  Actually, I'm not a big fan, as most of the meat taste is lost in the sauce.  And, a lot of places even do a pulled beef, using brisket...which to me is a total waste of brisket.  Chicken, to me, is about the same anywhere...and something I can tolerate.  And, I love a lot of sausages in different areas.  A different story, but I like brisket, I believe the best sausage is also in all the little towns in south-central Texas.

    I grew up eating beef ribs in Texas...as in Texas, beef is king.  But, I do like spare and baby back pork ribs.  And, I learned to like the dry-rubbed spare ribs like they do in Memphis...and even did mine that way for a while.  But, when I moved back to Texas, and started smoking mine the sweet Johnny Trigg-style, I just don't care for the dry-rubbed much anymore, even when visiting Memphis.  I do like to go to Corky's or Rendezvous for their ribs...but I think the event is more what it's about than the ribs.  So, I decided it's more what you're used to eating than anything else.  And, I'm used to eating the tender, juicy, sweet, lightly sauced, smoked ribs done low and slow...so, naturally I like them a lot better than the dry-rubbed hot and fast ribs, like they do in Memphis. 

    But, one thing I learned is nobody can do brisket like it's done in Texas.  It is my favorite thing to BBQ, and my favorite meat to eat when I go to a BBQ joint.  And, most joints in Texas do a great brisket.  If they don't, they don't stay in business long.  I even tried the brisket at Tops BBQ in Memphis on my last visit...as Tops is consistently rated at the top of Memphis BBQ.  I have to say it was awful...I couldn't even finish my plate.  It was dry and tasteless, as it seems to me to be in most parts of the country.  I guess brisket is the Holy Grail of Texas, and you just have to eat it in Texas to appreciate it.  And, a lot of the old places, Kreuz Market in Lockhart for one, still serve it on butcher paper with no utensils, and no sauce...and rightfully so.  Good brisket doesn't need sauce to hide the taste, or make it moist.  It's like putting steak sauce on a steak to me, if that steak is good I sure don't want to ruin with steak sauce.

    I was stationed at Bergstrom AFB in Austin back in the late 80's-early 90's.  And, me and several friends used to jump in my Jeep, with no top and an ice chest, on a lot of weekends, and drive to the small towns around that part of the country in search of good meat markets, looking for the best sausages.  Every small town in that part of Texas has their own sausage recipe...and it was a lot of fun searching for the best.  I actually found Kreuz Market on one of these sausage-hunting trips.   And, that first day we ate at another famous Texas BBQ joint in Lockhart, named Black's...and I loved Black's.  So, we saw Kreuz’s while we were there, and went back a couple weeks later and tried Kreuz's...and loved it.  I always ate the brisket and sausage Kreuz's.  Don't think they even had pork ribs...seems like just beef ribs.  But, back then, living in Austin, I loved to venture out to all the area BBQ joints and meat markets.  Simple, cheap, and fun!  Hard to beat great BBQ, and a couple of Shiners.  There was Southside Market in Elgin…it was always great.  And, it's where I ended up getting most of my sausages.   And, I lived in Del Valle, so I'd cut through to Elgin on the way to Taylor and Louie Mueller's.  Now, I will say theirs were about the best beef ribs I ever tasted.  They were so good, that I'd usually get brisket, sausage, and a beef rib there. 

    And, you're right...I wouldn't stand in line for hours for anybody's brisket either.  Especially when you can just go to another joint in the area.  I'd just head on over to see John Lewis a La Barbeque, who used to be Aaron Franklin's pit master anyway...and probably nobody could tell the difference in the briskets with a blind taste test. 

    In two weeks, in Tyler, we're having the Red Dirt BBQ and Music Fest.  15 of the best BBQ joints in Texas will be there, and we get to sample each of their BBQ for the price of admission.  I'm really looking forward to that.  The joints that will be there are:  Black’s Barbecue – Lockhart, Buzzie’s BBQ – Kerrville, Country Tavern –Kilgore, Cousin’s BBQ – Ft Worth, Hutchins BBQ – McKinney, La Barbecue – Austin, Lockhart Smokehouse – Dallas, Louie Mueller Barbecue – Taylor, Micklethwait Craft Meats – Austin, Opie’s BBQ – Spicewood, Riverport Bar-B-Que – Jefferson, Schmidt Family Barbecue – Bee Cave, The Slow Bone – Dallas, Stanley’s Famous Pit Bar-B-Q – Tyler, and Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew – Austin.  WoooHooo!!   

    I'm glad to see folks such as yourself that takes that Texas-style brisket to other parts of the country.  Keep up the good work, my friend.
  3. Nice story MickHLR! I spent a few year is Austin, but grew up in Sugar Land. There was a butcher shop/bar b-que east of Austin in Elgin. Can't recall the name of the place. You could smell it before you could see the city. Not sure if there was even a stop light back then, but I do remember the food. They would process the meat on site, and would make que in the same building. So good!

    I now live in the Pacific North West. It is hard to relate to people up here about the differences in Texas Brisket and others. I spent a few years up here trying every place and being disappointed each time by what the locals considered great que. I eventually bought a side barrel smoker from Texas Best Pits and had them ship it to me. 300lbs of pure bliss arrived a week later. I have friends over a few times a year and treat them to brisket as it was intended. No sauce, and slow cooked for 20 hours ;).
    mickhlr likes this.
  4. cool story and you have the pedigree ...texas brisket  .. my favorite   glad i have  learned to do it my self living in Oklahoma .. thank you Jeff Philips! Once my two  of three sons and i were in California/ Nevada Tahoe went to a BBQ place and a lady asked the .. sitting next to us  Sir? what is brisket? we rolled lol!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
    mickhlr likes this.
  5. As with all great restaurants, Franklins success is in the consistency of their craft! McDonalds is not the best burger in the word, however their food always taste the same!
  6. Sr. Noboundries,

    great post

    So, for a NorCal'er  have you found a local joint you'd recommend, because I haven't

  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Brian.......... nope.  We've tried all the restaurants locally and nothing compares to what I can smoke in my own backyard.    

    The closest I've found to the smoky BBQ we like is a place over on the coast south of Santa Cruz called Aptos Street BBQ.  A bit of a long drive for a quick lunch but a place we go when we visit our kids. 
  8. "And, you're right...I wouldn't stand in line for hours for anybody's brisket either. Especially when you can just go to another joint in the area. I'd just head on over to see John Lewis a La Barbeque, who used to be Aaron Franklin's pit master anyway...and probably nobody could tell the difference in the briskets with a blind taste test." MickHLR

    We ate at both places 20 minutes apart (no line up at lunch hour at La Babeque) and there was a big difference in look, taste and texture.  Got some to go and and tested on a TX neighbour and she knew the difference, we gave no names but she had a preference! She didn't know the players but knew brisket!

    I don't think i would make a habit of lining up either but i did once for Q and lots for concert tickets  ,,, some worth it  ,,, some not.
  9. oldschoolbbq

    oldschoolbbq Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This is as close to the Horse's mouth as possible...

    People in Texas , ( when I lived there) use the cut of Brisket found in all Mkts. . The trick is K..I.S.S. , Simple seasonings , heat and good smoke , until IMT is met.

    The equipment 'Franklin' uses is massive and well seasoned.  A bit of practice , perseverance , and patience is the secret.

    Anyone can duplicate good Que , just slow down and let it do it's thing...

    Have fun and . . .
    marauder likes this.
  11. jflsr

    jflsr Newbie

    Sometimes what I think makes Texas BBQ better is the dirt the Oak trees grow in, and maybe the type of oaks. I've always found that woods from there taste better than Oregon, California, and Kansas woods. Then again, maybe I'm just partial! I do like mixing equal parts Texas oak and mesquite for beef, pork, turkey and chicken. Several other meats too, like wild game. Lived 32 years in Texas, cried every day after I had to leave.....
  12. Since I am a born and raised Texan I am partial to Texas style BBQ,  But in saying that I like BBQ from other parts of the country as well. I think BBQ is relevant to where you live and what you are use to. My first recollection of BBQ was when I was a little boy, we would go to Hot Spring AR to visit my grandparents, as soon as we go close enough to smell the smoke, they told me  would wake up and say I smell BBQ. That is McClards, still there, and I eat BBQ every time we go to to Hot Springs. One of my very favorite places.

  13. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    I am partial to Rudy's BBQ when in Austin! 
  14. geothermal

    geothermal Smoke Blower

    I was intimidated and never had much luck with brisket until I watched Aaron's videos. After cooking 3 briskets now in my RF smoker,  I'm much more confident and the briskets have turned out great. I'm not from Texas, but I had several people over for a party a couple of weeks ago that used to live there and they know and love their brisket. They told me it was some of the best they've had. I know it's probably no where near as good as Franklin's but I'm happy with how it turned out. Can't wait to cook another one.

  15. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    This looks incredible and just the way I'd like my brisket to look, although my family tells me I do a great job. The great thing about home BBQ brisket is that it doesn't have to taste like Aaron Franklin's; it just has to taste good to you and the people you're serving it to. I've got a MES 30 and I use the AMNPS so no way my brisket is ever going to be like Franklin's but I still do a damn fine job--and it's fun. Number one, smoking is supposed to be fun.
  16. Aaron  Franklin's Secret  Reveled  !!!!

    CONSISTENCY  ----------    He keeps it simple, doe's the same thing day in and day out, same smoker, type of wood, and has done so many I'm sure he can do them in his sleep. He perfected what he liked and sells. 

    I figured out what I liked and my family likes and do it the same way every time. Had some failures early on and some that were good and some not so good, That was way before SMF, internet, laptops. Mine was strictly trial and error and asking a lot of questions. Much easier now, I like easy!

  17. daricksta

    daricksta Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Also remember what Aaron's "secret" brisket rub is: salt and pepper.
  18. I like Rudy's too, didn't have mine in Austin though, trying to remember where!
  19. whiskey424

    whiskey424 Newbie

    I had Rudy's once in Austin and again on another trip to the Dallas area. Pretty darn good BBQ, most people would probably pass it up because the buildings look like old gas stations but they serve some good BBQ.
  20. We have a Rudy's here in Tyler, right after it opened and I ate there  WoW, some of the very best brisket I have ever had. Couldn't wait to take a friend. When we went back I was embarrassed after all the bragging I had done on how how great it was. Tough, clearly not enough time on the smoker. I have been there a bunch of times since then, sometimes spot on sometimes not very good. They have a different person running the pit every time I go. And they start serving as soon as they have customers, weather brisket is ready or not. (Need to start earlier)  Great BBQ when they allow enough time. Really like their concept and dining area .


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