My wife & I recently visited Austin for the first time. In planning our trip, the one thing we heard from friends, locals & bloggers alike was Franklin's Barbecue is phenomenal, a DO NOT MISS. Best BBQ in Texas, perhaps the best in the world. Only one problem, people line up for hours to get it and it sells out quickly. Here's how we beat the line.
  1. Plan ahead
    If you're the spontaneous type and like to pick up and go at a moments notice, this tip won't work for you. If you plan your trips a couple of months in advance, read on.
  2. Preorder
    Franklin Barbecue fulfill an extremely limited number of preorders each day, but you need to place your preorder on the first Monday of the month before your visit. So whether you want food on July 1st or July 31st, you need to place that preorder on Monday, June 1st. More on when exactly to place your order in a bit. Get all the details here:
  3. What to order: Meats
    There is a minimum order of five pounds of sliced meat (no sandwiches). Yeah, that's a lot of meat, but you'll actually want to eat a lot of this stuff and you'll save money on your trip by not needing to eat out as much. Trust me, it's worth it! We got 1.5lbs each of brisket & beef ribs, 1lb pulled pork & 1lb of sausages. They also have smoked turkey. If we were doing this again I'd get 2.5lbs of brisket, 1.5lbs of beef ribs & 1lb of sausage.
  4. What to order: Sides
    They offer three sides: potato salad, slaw & pinto beans. We got a pint of slaw and beans. I'm not a fan of mayo, so I only tried the beans. They were great! Big chunks of meaty brisket. Yum! My wife said the slaw was okay. It's all about the meat at this place, and rightfully so. You can get sides in pints, quarts or trays.
  5. Write it down
    Figure out what you want and write a draft of your order before you need to send it. According to Franklin's website, they get hundreds of preorders at once and can't fulfill all of them. Don't scramble the day of, be prepared. You'll need to include your name, number, the date or list of date options for when you wish to pick up your order and what you want.
  6. Don't forget
    Set a calendar reminder for the first Monday of the month before your visit. They start excepting orders at 9AM CST. Don't forget to adjust for the time change if you live in a different time zone.
  7. Send the email!
    At exactly 9:00AM CST on that first Monday, send the email! If you send it at 8:59AM, they'll reject it. If you send it at 9:02, it could be too late. After about 48 hours, you'll get an email detailing if your order was excepted & what to do next.
  8. Pick up your order
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    Preorders can be picked up between 10 & 10:30AM on your specified date. Don't be late or you'll have to wait in line! We arrived at 9:45 on a weekday to find 300 people waiting outside! March right up to the door and go in. I was expecting some heckling from the folks in line, but everyone seemed to be having a good time. It'll take the staff a few minutes to get your order together, have a free soda or tea while you wait. They send you home with plenty of sauce & a loaf of white bread.
  9. Get the heck out of there
    Preorders are to go only! Take it back to your Airbnb or find a park with a picnic table. Fight the urge to taunt the folks in line as you walk past them on your way to Valhalla.
  10. EAT!
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    Texas barbecue is all about the brisket & beef ribs. I've never had a better piece of meat than the brisket. Melts in your mouth. An aggressively seasoned crust with a perfectly balanced fattiness & smokiness. I wouldn't be opposed to getting 5 pounds of just brisket. The sausages were a surprise star! Smokey & wonderfully seasoned with an amazing snap. Who doesn't love ribs? They were spectacular as well! I'd skip the pulled pork next time. It was really tasty, but it's not what Texans do best.