The world of barbecue is ruled by tradition. The older the pits (and the pitmaster) smoking your brisket, the better. So how is it that 35-year-old Aaron Franklin, who opened Franklin Barbecue in a trailer in 2009, attracts longer lines and more accolades for his meat (which sells out by noon every day) than anyone else in the country? We asked the man himself.
How'd you get into barbecue?
My parents used to run a place when I was a kid. Nine years ago I asked them how to cook brisket and they said, "Just throw it on and pull it off when it's done." I ended up getting a little weird with it and eventually going super nerdy on barbecue.
Why has Franklin Barbecue been so successful?
It's not just the food, it's the vibe. You stand in line and you share beers with the people around you. It's like coming to Grandma's house.
How are people okay with you running out of meat?
Maybe because I tell them how we can only make so much of it and that I'm real sorry. But now running out of food is, like, a cool thing to do.
Is that a positive trend in barbecue?
Yes, if the place is choosing to run out because they don't want to reheat meat the next day. But there are a ton of places that put out a sign that says "11 a.m. Till Sold Out" and say, "Watch, this'll be a great marketing thing for us!"
How long would you wait for barbecue?
I can't eat barbecue anymore. I'd stand in line for a good salad, though.