Call it serendipity. I stopped by Franklin Barbecue near downtown Austin this morning just to check on rebuilding progress since an August fire closed the place.
And there was Aaron Franklin, red socks and all, talking barbecue to a couple in a big SUV.
“They’re from Wisconsin,” Franklin told me, smiling, after he had finished.
Yes, the most famous pit master in the world, even in the midst of major reconstruction, still makes time for his fans.
The news from this morning: Franklin said he hopes to reopen his joint the first week of November, cooking on pits temporarily located in the back yard of the place.
He said that he had decided to rebuild the smokehouse connected to his restaurant. That work will continue after re-opening. Immediately after the fire, Franklin had hoped to be able to re-open sooner.
We talked in the parking lot surrounded by pits that just a couple weeks ago had still been in the joint’s burned out smokehouse, open to the sky. Three workers were toiling away on the machines. One of the smokers was headed to Houston for an event this weekend.
All five of us — the workers, Franklin and me — had beards. This must be Austin.
I told Franklin that after our recent Posse post about the State of Dallas BBQ 2017, I was going to write an open letter to him and his wife, Stacy, saying they must open a place in Big D.
“God, no,” Franklin said.
He explained that he couldn’t get enough hormone-free beef, supplied from the European Union, to open a second joint.
“We’re using 45,000 pounds a month and that’s all we can get,” Franklin said.
The Posse, of course, still thinks a second Franklin Barbecue in Dallas would be a game-changer. And it would sure beat a 200-mile drive on I-35 for the joint's Dallas fans.