Friday, May 16, 2014

On the road again: Austin, day 6

If you ignore the fact that I had to get up before seven a.m. and got very little sleep, today went about as well as a travel day could.

It started so early because I was determined to see if my one previous amazing meal at Franklin Barbecue had been a fluke or if the barbecue there was just that good.  Thanks to a colleague who arrived even earlier, we were only about 40th in line (at 8:30 in the morning).  Check out the view from where we waited. 

Click an image to see a larger version.

We passed the time in conversation and with some work; I did phone meetings from my rental car while others held our place in the line.  We were sitting down to eat a little less than four hours after we arrived.  Several of us shared this feast.

After my first visit to this barbecue mecca, I declared its brisket the best in the world.  Today's brisket was even better than last time's.  It is just that damn good, so far above everything else I've ever tasted that it has no competition. 

What surprised me more, though, was that the pork ribs, which last time were very good but no more, had ascended into the same rarefied air as the brisket.  They were simply the best I have ever tasted, hands down.

This meal was absolutely worth the lost sleep and the long wait. 

Thanks to friends of friends, we were privileged to go on a tour of the cookers with Benji, Aaron Franklin's right-hand guy.  Here, Benji is standing in front of the cooker nearest the restaurant. 

The folks at Franklin make these cookers from used thousand-gallon propane tanks.  We were seeing them at one in the afternoon; by then, the cookers had already been working on Saturday's meat for four hours. 

Of course, that wasn't the only cooker.

No tour of the place would be complete without a shot of Aaron Franklin's first cooker, which now sits apart from the others but is still in use.  (The cooker is on the left; the thing on the right is a new rotisserie they're going to bring into service soon.)

If you at all like barbecue, you should not miss Franklin Barbecue.  It is rare that a place is the absolute best in the world at anything, much less something as widely cooked as barbecue brisket, but Franklin's simply is. 

After the meal, I headed to the airport, checked in smoothly, received upgrades for both flights, did a bunch of work in the Admirals Club, and even had time for a bit of Amy's

My connection in DFW was in the same terminal and only a dozen gates away.  My flight home arrived a tad early.

As I said, about as good a travel day as one could have.

All that said, I am very, very glad to be home and to sleep in my own bed.

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