We Spent 3 Hours Waiting in Line for Texas Barbecue

At Franklin Barbecue in Austin, people pull up at dawn or shortly thereafter and spend their breakfast hours waiting for lunch. Waiting a couple of hours for brisket has become routine around the state, so we tried it. (Here's the full story: http://nyti.ms/1Kb1rpx)
  1. The cult of Texas barbecue
    Texas has always obsessed over barbecue, but lately that obsession has gone global and viral. And waiting a couple of hours for brisket has become routine around the state. But keep in mind - here's what people are waiting for. (Photos by Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times - see more of them at: http://nyti.ms/1Kb1rpx)
  2. 7:43 a.m.: "If you heard something was the best in the world, you’d go, right?"
    Franklin Barbecue’s hours are 11 a.m. to sold out — and it has sold out of meat every day since it opened. With that track record, even those who show up early (like this man and his brother, who were first line) worry that they have arrived too late.
  3. 8 a.m.: "I’ve got to get things done."
    People pass the time here in creative ways. They play cornhole. They munch on breakfast tacos, which amounts to eating while waiting to eat. They socialize to an extraordinary degree (at least 2 couples who met in line here have since gotten married.) Raheem Chaudhry, 25, pulled out "Capitalism and Freedom," required reading for an economics course.
  4. 8:27 a.m.: "Is it too early for beer?"
    John Veracruz, 31, a recent graduate of the Energy and Earth Resources program at the University of Texas, opened a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. They were for his two friends — he drank mineral water. (If this seems extreme: Some young men once set up a table and spent the morning playing beer pong while waiting in line.)
  5. 9 a.m.: "This is the white whale of barbecue."
    Time is relative at Franklin. One man from L.A. had a flight at 1:50 p.m., so he was "really hoping for the best." Another had only one place to be later that night: his bachelor party.
  6. 10:06 a.m.: "He was crying, because he was so happy."
    One Franklin worker said he has been offered — and has turned down — thousands of dollars to let someone cut the line. And for a time, paid line-sitting flourished: Those who did not want to endure the wait hired someone to endure it for them. One eighth grader in Austin started a line-sitting service with fees starting at $50; he was once hired to wait in line for a wife who wanted to give her husband a solid going-away present.
  7. 11:01 a.m.: “I like the slow season we’re in right now.”
    They've been waiting for about 3 hours and 20 minutes after arriving at the front in line, and finally they stand at the register. Their tray groaned with two pounds of brisket, two pounds of ribs, a quarter-pound of pulled pork and three sausages. For them, the wait was worth it.