The concept of waiting in line for three, four, even five hours is a foreign concept to most millenials. We are the generation of instant gratification (at least according to our parents). However, in Austin, there is an experience that unites all: the line at Franklin Barbecue (excluding President Obama). Multiple spots serve up great BBQ in Texas but there is only one James Beard Award-winning BBQ restaurant to dine at. For the very best brisket, sausage, and beef ribs, you must face and conquer Franklin’s line. But fear not, if 5 years in Austin has taught me anything, it’s how to make the Franklin experience as efficient and enjoyable as possible. Here’s a guide for your first-timers:
Time the Line
If you’re going on a weekday you need to arrive before 8 a.m., if going on a weekend, arrive before 7 a.m. Doors open at 11 a.m., so you’re looking at a 3+ hour wait minimum. Luckily, the atmosphere in the line is fairly fantastic. You’ll find people remote commuting, writing term papers, hanging out with ice chests, and occasionally playing beer pong. The opportunity to enjoy some of the best BBQ in the country puts people in a good mood.
The Weather Is Your Friend
The weather is Austin is consistently sunny. That said, if you can schedule your visit around the occasional dreary/cold day, the wait time could decrease by 50% and sometimes even more. By making the pilgrimage in fall or even winter, you’ll not only be enjoying shorter line times but some of most temperate weather the Texas State Capital has to offer.
Check the Calendar
Austin is a fantastic festival city, but wait times are guaranteed to increase during SXSW, ACL, FUN FUN FUN FEST, or any of the other myriad of festivals hosted throughout the year. Plan accordingly.
Get it to Go
Franklin’s just reconfigured their takeout system making pre-ordering online the closest thing to skipping the line. The process is pretty simple: times open up the first Monday of every month and you can select the date and time for pick up. The minimum order is 5 lbs. of meat and a deposit is required, but the entire menu is open for your enjoyment.
What to Order
When you finally make it to the counter, base your order around beef. You’re in Texas after all, and Franklin’s really shines around two items: the brisket (get a mix) and the beef rib (only available on Saturdays).