Franklin Barbecue lines on a Thurs/Fri (or Lockhart?)
Heading into Austin for a long weekend...flight lands at 11am on Thursday, so by the time I get my car and drive to the city, it'll be after noon...is it even worth heading towards Franklin Barbecue at that point? Or am I smarter to just save it for Friday? And if I do save it for Friday, what time do I really need to be there if I want to eat reasonably close to opening? I've read things about 9am...but they're a year old and I'm wondering if things have calmed down at all? And, I'm asking all of this with the assumption that waiting until Saturday wouldn't be the efficient route, right?
What about Lockhart? Is driving from the airport to Kreuz/Smitty's worth it on Thursday at that hour? What are the lines there like? I probably won't be able to head that far south again on Friday given the rest of my itinerary.
Since you're already at the airport, Lockhart or Luling would be ideal for you. Just head south on 183 and you'll be in Lockhard in about 20 minutes. Another 20, and you'll be in Luling. You would be hitting these just in time for the lunch rush, which is just about perfect for the freshest stuff.
In Lockhart, I would recommend Smitty's over Kreutz. In Luling, you'd want to go to City Market.
Don't bother going to Franklin after noon. Most likely they'll be long since sold out.
I haven't been in awhile, but I believe the lines are still roughly the same. I think if you're not there by 10am, you're risking it. Their reputation is well earned, but it comes with a price.
Kreuz doesn't run out for a long while, and the quality is high. It's probably a 40 min. or less drive from the airport, and the lines would be fine. Same is probably true for Smitty's. Both are excellent.
A few years ago I flew into Austin from L.A. My brother picked me up at the airport and we drove down to Lockhart. We hit all three -- Black's, Smitty's and Kreuz's -- and did a comparison. We ordered a couple slices of brisket at each, and also tasted a link or two and a couple of pork ribs. It was really fun, delicious, and filling. Each place was distinctive. I'm sure they differ a bit day-to-day and cut by cut. We ordered our brisket untrimmed and fatty, and it was very rich. Do the same -- hit all three, order a bit at each, sample what you can there. BBQ keeps, so wrap up the rest and it will make a great dinner or latenight/morning snack. Report back.
Just read they are doing that (and adding a takeout only line) sometime in the next few months. Not in time for our trip though. And in the long run, that may be for the best. Waiting...while hot and long...was sort of an experience. Not sure it's one I'd want to do often, but when in Rome, right?
Thanks all for the advice. You convinced me to head to Lockhart where I first hit up Smitty's and then Black's. Was way too full to eat at Kreutz by the time I worked my over there but checked it out nonetheless. No lines or waits at any of the 3 on a Thursday at noonish. Food was universally excellent...especially the sausage. Actually found the beef rib at Blacks too salty for my tastes and that's not usually something I find myself saying.
My wife's work schedule was generous so she joined me in the Franklin line on Friday. We hit up a home depot on the way and grabbed two folding tailgate style chairs for $15...we got there at around 9:15 and were 8th and 9th in line. By the time 11am rolled around we ended up like 15th in line as the three guys in front of us were holding places. I'd have been more frustrated with that if we weren't among the first inside anyway. The line was pretty deep p...back into the parking lot by 10...but it seemed like they were still promising everyone BBQ even at 10:30ish. No clue how long they'd have to wait though. The line was still way deep by the time we finished around 12ish. Brisket was amazing...better than the two Lockhart places. Sausage was good...not as good as Lockhart. Ribs were good too...very peppery though. Was it worth the two-hourish wait (including the time inside cutting for the line cutters)? I suppose so...as much as any food can be. It was a fun experience. Everyone in the line is friendly and chatty. Can't imagine it's something I'd want to do often (or if I did I'd get a w pounds--the little but of leftovers we had were almost as good the next day)...but we were in Austin and it's a thing to do there...so....
We also did the obligatory Salt Lick trip....And loved the vibe and the whole experience....but the food really wasn't on par. I've tried the brisket, sausage, turkey and ribs..ribs might've been my favorite of the 4. Ironically I enjoyed the Salt Lick breakfast taco in the airport almost as much as the meat platter at the restaurant.
Next time I'll have to make it up to Kreutz that I passed them up...maybe hit up Mueller, City Market and...well...I'll ask for more advice when/if.
Just returned from Austin and ate at Franklin's on Thursday. We arrived at about 9:50 and got to the counter at around 11:40. 10:00 seemed a safe bet on the day we were there. Folks may not realize that the doors open at 11:00, so it is about a 1 hour wait (if you arrive at 10) until the line starts moving. Also, a young lady came by to see what we were planning to order and how much--I'm assuming that it's to advise folks at the end of the line whether they have a realistic chance of getting what they came for. So people who are holding spots in the line for others may not affect your ability to get the meat you'd like if they have already accounted for the latecomers in their "order". She also advised us that it would be about 1/2 hour for us from the time the door opened--it turned out to be about 40 minutes. She later brought drinks out (for sale)--a nice touch. I have nothing but good things to say about Franklin's--their brisket might be the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. My husband and I agreed that it was worth the trip to Austin by itself.