Brisket rules in the great state of Texas. The cut defines barbecue traditions, and the search for the best is popular sport for both Texans and visitors alike.
There are a lot of accolades up for grabs in the world of world of Lone Star State barbecue, but certainly one that gets the most attention is a coveted spot on Texas Monthly’s list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints, published once every 5 years. This week, newly minted barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn unleashed the latest version, representing eight months and 658 restaurants worth of reporting. At the top of the pile: Franklin Barbecue.
With media hype surrounding Aaron Franklin’s Austin smokehouse at a constant boil—Bon Appetit named the spot one of the “20 Most Important Restaurants in America“—the accolade is hardly surprising. However, rather than a story of the new-school overtaking the old, the real story here is one of passion and reverence for Central Texas tradition. Franklin has been heralded as the scene’s new leader. He’s got a pedigree, since his parents used to run a BBQ spot, and he’s got drive. Franklin also does what others should: Keeps things fresh. The “11am ’til sold out” mentality means that nothing is reheated and everything is prepared as close to service as possible. In essence, the young guy is a throwback. And, for that, he’s been duly recognized.
Franklin’s general manager, Ben Jacob said of the barbecue, “It is not very unique”—which is exactly the point. Texas Monthly validates what Franklin has known all along—the state of Texas needed a guy who treats brisket (and its fans) the way it deserves to be treated.
Need more evidence? Take a look at our behind-the-scenes photo essay.
Below is a complete list of the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in Texas (* denotes inclusion in the 2008 list):
The Original Willie’s Bar-B-Que
John Mueller Meat Co.
Lamberts Downtown Barbecue*
Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
Fargo’s Pit BBQ
Austin’s BBQ and Catering*
Cranky Frank’s Barbecue Company
Leon’s World’s Finest In & Out Bar-B-Que
City Meat Market*
Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering
Billy’s Old Fashion BBQ
Joseph’s Riverport Barbecue
Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que*
Whup’s Boomerang Bar-B-Que*
Hashknife on the Chisolm*
Hatfield’s BBQ & Blackjacks Beer Garden
The Granary ‘Cue and Brew
Two Bros. BBQ Market
Hays Co. Bar-B-Que and Catering
Big Boy’s Bar-B-Que
Louie Mueller Barbecue*
Stanley’s Famous Pit Barbecue*
Mumphord’s Place BBQ