Yes, Franklin Barbecue makes some of the country’s best smoked meats ever. It’s equally as true that lines can be really annoying for many factors: it’s too hot; it’s raining; who has that much time to waste, and so forth. Or, ya know, the lauded barbecue joint is on its annual summer vacation, much like it is now.
If the prospect of waiting outside on a line for hours isn't appealing, or no one realized Franklin Barbecue accepts preorders, here are five other equally as amazing barbecue spots within walking, cycling, and driving distance of pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s East 11th Street restaurant. The following barbecue spots are arranged by proximity to Franklin Barbecue, from closest to furthest.
J. Leonardi’s Barbeque
Address: 1124 East 11th Street, Central East Austin
Distance: .2 miles
Travel time: walking - 4 minutes; cycling - 1 minute; driving - 1 minute
The absolute closest barbecue spot to Franklin can be found just down the street. The truck by pitmaster Jerome Faulkner serves up the usuals: brisket, sausages, beef ribs, plus an entire array of sandwiches, plates, and sides (potato salad, brisket-studded pinto beans). Don’t bypass the barbecue chicken and turkey though.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
Micklethwait Craft Meats
Address: 1309 Rosewood Avenue, Central East Austin
Distance: .4 miles
Travel time: walking - 9 minutes; cycling - 2 to 3 minutes; driving - 1 to 2 minutes
The next nearest barbecue spot to Franklin also serves up some of the very best in Austin. Pitmaster Tom Micklethwait's menu features beef ribs, brisket, smoked chicken, brisket Frito pie, and even barbacoa, alongside stellar sides like that jalapeno cheese grits. House-made desserts are back with offerings like banana pudding and buttermilk pie.
Hours: 11 a.m. until sold out, Tuesday through Sunday
Iron Works BBQ
Address: 100 Red River Street, Downtown
Distance: .9 miles
Travel time: walking - 18 to 20 minutes; cycling - 7 to 9 minutes; driving - 4 to 7 minutes
One of Austin's older barbecue joints, Iron Works is very convenient for that smoked meats fix, from brisket to smoked tofu during South by Southwest. It offers table service, indoor seating, and evening hours, for those barbecue dinner cravings.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Address: 1700 East Cesar Chavez Street, East Cesar Chavez
Distance: 1.3 miles
Travel time: walking - 25 minutes; cycling - 7 to 8 minutes; driving - 5 to 7 minutes
The reliable barbecue trailer, run by Bill Kerlin, offers up all the smoked meats a person could want, including beef and pork ribs. Even better: there are barbecue-stuffed kolache from its next-door trailer too. Proximity to taco trailer Veracruz All Natural isn’t a bad thing, either, making for a very Texas meal of barbecue and breakfast tacos.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. or sold out, Wednesday through Sunday
Address: 2027 East Cesar Chavez Street, Holly
Distance: 1.5 miles
Travel time: walking - 29 to 30 minutes; cycling - 8 minutes; driving - 5 to 7 minutes
Excellent barbecue and air conditioning can be found over at La Barbecue’s indoor home within Quickie Pickie, which makes it handy to pair daytime beers and wines with those meat dishes and fun sides (the spicy mac and cheese is particularly great). The barbecue spot has strong barbecue foundations — LeAnn Mueller (of those Muellers) owns La Barbecue. It dips into early evening hours, plus whips out additional barbecue dishes every so often.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. or sold out, Wednesday through Sunday