My Barbecue Epiphany
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
About 15 years ago I stopped in Luling, at City Market, and had the best brisket of my life. I'd never imagined that brisket could taste like that: smoky, fatty, rich and so soft that it simply melted between the slices of white bread. I've been thinking about it ever since.
The other day in Austin, I had brisket that was even better at Franklin's. I was stunned by the flavor, the texture, the sheer amazing wonderfulness of what I was eating. (The ribs were great too, the sausage superb, and I was crazy about the espresso-enhanced sauce. But it was the brisket that simply stopped me cold; I'd been waiting to taste that for 15 years.)
In this case, the picture simply doesn't do justice to the food. What I should have taken pictures of was the line: people get there in the middle of the night, curl up in sleeping bags and wait. It's that good.
The people who work there are all wonderful too. Warm-hearted. Happy in their work. This is Benjy. He's a musician, and he's known Aaron Franklin his whole life.
And this is Aaron Franklin, barbecue pitmaster extraordinaire. My friend John Markus told me not to miss eating his food, and I'm eternally grateful. What he didn't tell me is that Aaron is a musician - from a family of musicians - and that his grandfather was one of Bob Wills' Texas Playboys. That's royalty of another kind.