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Chow Down on Franklin’s Without the Wait

Franklin Barbecue is something of an Austin staple, and as a new Austinite, I had to try it out. The barbecue is so well known that the queue always snakes down into the parking lot, and the hours are “11-Out (just open for lunch).” When I first arrived in town, I was determined to wait it out, but then I came up with a better solution: I could work with someone on NeedTo.

I began my journey on a Wednesday night with the hopes of having a barbecue lunch on Friday. I had already set up my account with NeedTo, so it was simple for me to “Post” my need with a few details. And much to my surprise, within the hour I had quite a few offers. While I looked through all of my potential helpers, John had a competitive bid, good reviews from past jobs, and a charming mustache. I hired him and reserved money for his wages in a PayPal account.

On Friday morning, I prepared my own famous recipe, spicy coleslaw, and gathered up some random sauces for condiments.


It felt strangely intimate to know that while I was preparing my part of this epic lunch, John was already at Franklin’s.

A full hour before Franklin’s opened, he sent me a picture of the line.


The picture should have reassured me. Instead, I was uncomfortably aware of the anxiety that I feel when I’m held up. I was glad to hear that John had been able to pick up my order and his own.

I hadn’t planned on gloating, but it was hard to restraint a little feeling of joy when I marched past everyone else. John was waiting at the top of the hill. We chatted for a bit, I thanked him, and I gave him a jar of coleslaw before we parted ways. I hopped back down the hill, brisket in hand, and off to a highly anticipated lunch with friends.

Brisket isn't the most photogenic of foods.

Brisket isn’t the most photogenic of foods.

When I opened our lunch, the brisket was already soaking through the butcher paper it was wrapped in and threatening to soil the banana bourbon pie’s more pristine wrapping.

The brisket was soft and flavorful, with just a little spice. I would guess that the secret ingredients were red wine and apples, but my friends contended that it must be the particular kind of wood used for smoking. The pie, from Cake & Spoon bakery, was gooey and perfectly sweetened.

I don’t mean to brag, but my coleslaw was pretty good too.



It turned out that none of my friends who I had lunch with had eaten Franklin Barbecue, despite its iconic status. And most of their hesitancy was because of the wait. Even John, who lived nearby, had never braved the line before. While the brisket itself was delicious, the adventure of coordinating the task, meeting new friends through NeedTo, and enjoying good food in great company was the most memorable part of my experience with Franklin’s Barbecue.

Wellman Coleslaw Recipe: Red cabbage, carrot (julienned), celery, Pickapeppa sauce, cayenne, caraway, cumin, honey, lemon juice, black pepper, paprika, tumeric

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