I stand corrected

19 Jan

As much as I enjoy being right, I never thought being so wrong about anything could be so good, and so delicious.

Wow, I thought Franklin’s was the best barbecue I’d ever tasted. And it was, I couldn’t imagine bbq tasting better than the rib’s at Franklin’s. Thinking back on it now, it was kind of like when I thought the girlfriend I had when I was 22 was the best sex I’d ever had. I had no perspective.

Before I start let me say this: there are various myths about Austin. One is that its the
Live Music capital of the world. If this means that everywhere in Austin is a potential place for some singer songwriter to play shitty folk music, then yes that is true.

You throw a rock in the air and you’ll hit a singer-songwriter type. Does this mean that its the best music scene? I’ll go a head and save you the trouble of coming to see for yourself. The answer is NO. The hip hop scene is fairly small and unheralded. The jazz scene is bullshit, in fact you’d find a more eclectic patch of music in Denton, Texas, home of UNT.

From what little I know, I would go on record and say Portland’s music scene is more interesting than Austin’s.

Now every magazine and every television show in America wants to anoint Franklin’s as the king of barbecue. And they wanna Aaron Franklin, they can crown him. Hell I was ready to do that myself a few months ago

To quote Wayne Coyne, suddenly everything had changed.

Late one night I struck up a conversation with a bus driver. He was on his last route, and was heading home to Lockhart, Texas, a town with a reputation for having killer barbecue.

He discussed how different the sausage was in Lockhart and that there were 3 main places to go, Smitty’s, Black’s and Krewses.

His favorite was Smitty’s.

He said Smitty’s was hands down the best in town.

A month after that fateful conversation, My buddy threw a bachelor party down on the Frio river and his older brother thought it was a good idea to grab some Smitty’s on the way there by taking a tiny detour out to Lockhart.

The store is located downtown, a small cute downtown which immediately made me think of Denton’s town square. We walked into the restaurant and opened the screen door. Black soot covered the walls from years of burning wood.

Whooooaaa carcinogens.

My friend’s older brother bought enough for everyone who would be there. It was over a hundred dollar’s worth. We picked up the lbs of meat and got into the van.

“Well” he said. “We gotta at least try it before we go down there.”

The groom to be handed out a slice of bread for each of us, and a little slice of brisket.

The van got real quiet and we all looked at each other and silently agreed that this was some phenomenal barbecue. I couldn’t believe that we had found something not only as good as Franklin’s, but so much better. There was no doubt about it.

We then moved on to the ribs (for quality control purposes obviously) and could not believe how tasty and tender the meat was. How could this be?

Needless to say that anyone who came out to the cabin past 9:00 pm didnt get anything to eat. We thought it would last –tried to make it last, but it was impossible.

The food was too good. And not only was the meat good, but the sides were delicious too. I loved how the potato salad tasted, not too creamy, not too tangy, just the right amount of mayonnaise and mustard to go with the egg and potato, and pickle. Yum.

The beans were good too. I didn’t try the cole slaw unfortunately.

From what I hear, Smitty’s is the best in town. Black’s is the second best. So now I’m left wondering if what I know is to be true. Franklin’s was like Adam Morrison, and Smitty’s was like Lebron. They didn’t even use sauce either! It was nuts, this was a real game changer.

If there is a better bbq joint out there, I’d like to know where this place is (if it exists). But I honestly don’t know how this could be possible.

I haven’t been to Franklins since then. I still mean every word about all the great things I said about the Franklin Barbecue franchise (I have never had more positive experiences in one restaurant before–everyone who works there is extremely appreciative and hospitable–even more so than Smitty’s). But the people at Smitty’s could be a staff full of dickheads and it wouldn’t stop me from eating there.

And now it seems foolish to wait 2 hours in line when better bbq is only a 20 minute ride away (with no line)

I had some friends in town from Portland recently. One of them was in town a few months ago, and back then I was talking up how good Franklin’s was and how we needed to go there. He had just gotten back in town and brought up Franklin’s.

“ Fuck Franklins” I said.

“But you said–”

“ Man I know what I said, man, but I found something better.”

“ Oh for real? I thought maybe they had banned you from there, the way you said ‘Fuck them’ so quickly.”

“Nah man. Its good, but I found something that will knock your socks off.”

They looked at me, whispered things about hyping it up too much (I cant blame them I had talked Franklin’s up to be the end all be all).

“You should undersell it” He said.

“Maybe, but I have confidence that Smitty’s will deliver.”

And they did. They chewed their food, speechless and nodding their heads in agreement that the shit was legit.

I felt like “Sir Smoke a lot” from Half Baked when he pledges his allegiance to “Mr. Nice Guy”

When life gets shitty
I pick up a twenty
and head out to Lockhart
eat something that makes me fart……

Fuck Franklins’s!!!

This lady who looked 60 years old sat down near us with her elderly parents (there are only long community picnic tables in the restaurant)–locals. We chatted with them in between bites. I told her how my friends were from Portland and blah blah blah blah…..

She said “ Welcome to Lockhart, Texas, home of the best bbq in the world.

No one even blinked when she said it. We knew it was probably true.

I kind of feel like I did them a disservice by taking them straight there without taking them to someplace shittier first. They could easily go through life without any kind of perspective, not realizing that this may be the best they would ever get to taste. BBQ from this moment on would be disappointing. It was like having sex for the first time without a condom, or the first time I smoked really good bud and Mexican dirt weed became obsolete.

Life is never the same again. No going back. Which was why I had to quit going to Franklin’s. I could no longer stand in line and pretend it was worth the wait, thinking how just up the road was something much more grand. For a while I kept going by, stopping in if the lines were short, because it was down the street from my house. But it had become a matter of convenience now, and biting into their meat only reminded me where I was not. And that wasn’t fair to anybody, especially my suddenly picky palette.

From now on, and possibly the rest of my life, my new motto will be “if we ain’t eating Smitty’s then we ain’t eating barbecue.”

photo (2)

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