What's the first thing you should do in Texas? Well eat some BBQ meat y'all. And Franklin BBQ in Austin is pretty much an institution. It's fame is so widespread that there are some very specific things you need to know about this place before you even think about coming here. Firstly they open at 11am until they run out of food (which is roughly around 1pm). Then that's it, see ya later. Come back tomorrow to try your luck again. And if you showed up at 11am thinking about having some ribs for lunch then that ain't happening because you're probably going to be at the back of a very long line, sweating it out in the Texan heat and worrying about missing out.
Going to Franklin's is like going camping. You need to be prepared. Firstly it's going to be hot. 40 degree kind of heat. So I froze some water bottles the night before to keep us hydrated and cool. I also brought sunscreen and borrowed an umbrella. Because standing around in the sun for 3 hours unprotected is a terrible idea.
A lot of people brought those portable camping chairs. Excellent idea as sitting on the concrete cuts off circulation to your legs and bum pretty quickly, as we found out. You can also hire chairs from a very entrepreneurial fella who sets up shop every day at 9am across the road. See what I mean when I say this shit is serious.
|$5 per chair, pretty good deal.|
So I haven't set my alarm clock for awhile now. If I wake up at 10am then the day starts then. It's a holiday after all. But today, 7.30am I was up and ready to go. Luckily we were only 6 blocks away so we walked and even at 8am we were not the first there. But we were 4th which was pretty good and soon after the line pretty wrapped around the building and all the way across the parking lot which is about two blocks long.
We had brought books and our ipods but luckily we had a very entertaining line mate, Ella, who had come into Austin for a drug prevention convention. She had spent 28 years in the NYPD as a detective and had a few awesome stories about her time there and some great life advice on being a short, black, woman in a predominately white, male workforce. The hours flew by, we had cool breezes, had some shade and before we knew it, people were quickly packing away their deck chairs and ready to head in.
|Chillin' like ice cream fillin'.|
We ordered 2 pounds of pork ribs and a melt in your mouth pound of beef brisket which was probably one of their smaller orders they got that day but it still added up to a hefty $60 (including tax and tip). We sat down with Ella and the conversation continued. For some reason she mistook 'Toni' for 'Peggy' so I was Peggy for that day but I didn't mind. It's a nice name and I didn't have the heart to correct her. The meat was so tender and juicy yet full of a rich and sweet BBQ flavour. The ribs had so much meat on them that just fell off and you smear it one of the three BBQ sauces they had to offer and you're in BBQ heaven baby.
It was super hot by the time we finished our meal and the walk back was uncomfortable compounded by the meat sweats we were having. Needless to say I was in dire need of a quick shower and a long nap. Overall, going to Franklin BBQ wasn't just a meal, but a true Texan experience. Yeeeeehar!