Monday, February 1, 2010
For months, my buddy Daniel over at Full Custom Gospel BBQ and I had been trying to find an opportunity to grab some BBQ together for the first time. The opportunity finally came on the first Sunday of 2010, when Daniel (and his lovely, non-BBQ-eating, heck-of-a-sport wife and their beautiful new girl) was passing through Austin on his way back to Dallas, following a multi-stop BBQ tour San Antonio that weekend.
The fact that this was the first joint outing for MUTB and FCGB was reason enough to be excited (read Daniel’s review here); but this was also the first outing of the new year and our first visit to a BBQ joint that had just recently opened for business: Franklin Barbecue.
It was a fantastic visit. Aaron Franklin, the one-man show who is Franklin Barbecue, was a gracious host, treating us to banana pudding and taking the time to show us the pit and answer our many questions. Super nice guy. The atmosphere is unlike any other I’ve experienced. Two trailers – one for serving and one for the smoker – sit in the parking lot of a coffee shop on the access road of I-35 in downtown Austin. The unique setup redefines urban BBQ (assuming it was ever defined): 1 man, 1 smoker, 2 trailers, and some picnic tables. And it totally works, as the brisket revealed.
Now, I realize I didn’t grow up in Texas, but I’ve eaten quite a bit of brisket since moving here in September 2007; and I can say with zero hesitation that the brisket was quite possibly the best I’ve ever had (and, lest you think I am prone to superlatives, I’ve never said this of any brisket). Smokey. Not too dry, not too moist. Perfect amount of outside char. I’m anxious to see what all of the others in the crew think of it; but if we have better brisket in 2010, I can’t wait to have it, because it’ll be off-the-charts good. The pulled pork was a bit too dry, but I liked the cracked pepper.
If you haven’t already done so, stop by this place, folks. 3421 N I-35 (next to Owl Tree Roasting). Open Wed-Sun, 11a-4p.
Drew’s scores – Brisket: 9.92; Pulled pork: 7.8; Atmosphere: 9.35; Service: 10; Overall experience: 9.75
Brad’s scores – Brisket: 10; Pork ribs: 9.25; Atmosphere: 9; Service: 10; Overall experience: 9.8
Daniel's scores – Brisket: 9.9; Pork ribs: 9.7; Potato salad: 8; Beans: 7.5; Banana pudding: 10; Atmosphere: 10; Overall experience: 9.89
Overall Man-Up/Full-Custom-Gospel Score: 9.81