Aaron Franklin’s parents owned a barbecue stand in his native Bryan, Texas, so it could be said that making good brisket was in his blood. But barbecue runs thick in the veins of every Texan, and when Aaron 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, Aaron and his wife Stacy debuted Franklin BBQ in late 2009 on an East Austin parking lot. From the walk-up window of a travel trailer turned brisket stand, patrons quickly noticed the Franklins were selling the best barbecue around. By spring, the line of admirers snaked around the block, and the press followed. In less than two years, the duo could count contributors from The Washington Post, Texas Monthly, and Cooking Channel among a growing chorus hailing Franklin among America’s BBQ elite—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. In the summer of 2010, Bon Appetit hailed Franklin BBQ as the best in America.
Aaron and Stacy quickly outgrew their trailer, and moved their operation to a brick and mortar location in March of 2011. And despite the new digs and every reasonable effort to increase production, Franklin BBQ’s line is as long as ever, and the restaurant has sold out of brisket every day of its existence.