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Slicing barbecue at Smitty’s Market
Slicing barbecue at Smitty’s Market
Jimmy Ho

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Aaron Franklin's Guide to Central Texas Barbecue

Three days, eight stops

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Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Aaron Franklin knows his barbecue very well, from making his own at the acclaimed Franklin Barbecue, cooking all over the world from Chicago to even Sweden, to frequenting other smoked meats joints. So it makes sense that he has his own personal barbecue game plan when it comes to exploring the wealth of smoked meats found in Central Texas. With that in mind, Franklin graciously shared his suggested barbecue tour for a long weekend with Eater Austin, all scribbled appropriately on his own butcher paper.

Franklin's three-day meat journey begins south of Austin in the meaty capital of the country Lockhart, swings east to Lexington and Taylor, and ends in Austin for some local flavor (and non-barbecue choices, for a change of pace). For each spot, he included his recommended order, from brisket, beef ribs, sausage, to even tacos. Go forth and eat plenty. Keep in mind that most barbecue places are usually open until everything is sold out, which happens more often than not.

Barbecue from Kreuz Market
Barbecue from Kreuz Market
Jimmy Ho


Begin at: Kreuz Market

619 North Colorado Street, Lockhart
Distance from Austin: 29 miles, 35 minutes
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday
Franklin recommends: pork chop, prime rib, sausage

Move on to: Smitty's Market

208 South Commerce St, Lockhart
Distance from Kreuz: .4 miles, two minute drive or nine minute walk
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday
Franklin recommends: “Sausage! Sausage! Sausage!”

Last stop: City Market

633 East Davis Street, Luling
Distance from Smitty’s: 14.8 miles, 21 minutes
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Franklin recommends: pork ribs, sausage, cheese and crackers

Aaron Franklin’s Texas barbecue guide
Aaron Franklin’s Texas barbecue guide


Begin at: Snow’s BBQ

516 South Main Street, Lexington
Distance from Austin: 62 miles, one hour and eight minutes
Hours: 8 a.m. until sold out, Saturday
Franklin recommends: pork ribs, brisket, pork steak, chicken

Next and last stop: Louie Mueller Barbecue

206 West Second Street, Taylor
Distance from Snow’s: 30 miles, 34 minutes
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday
Franklin recommends: brisket, beef ribs, sausage

A tray of six tacos, each filled with a slice of bacon, brisket, and fried eggs.
Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ’s breakfast tacos
Nick Solares/Eater


Begin at: Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ

11500 Manchaca Road, Austin
Distance from Austin: 13.3 miles, 22 minutes
Hours: 8 a.m. until sold out, Monday through Sunday (the trailer is closed on the first Monday of every month as well)
Franklin recommends: tacos

Move Onto: Franklin Barbecue

900 East 11th Street, Austin
Distance from Valentina’s: 12.2 miles, 30 minutes
Hours: 11 a.m. until sold out daily, which is usually around 2 to 3 p.m.
Franklin recommends: well, yeah.

Final (and Decidedly Not Barbecue) Stop: Uchiko

4200 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin
Distance from Franklin: 4 miles, 12 minutes
Hours: 5 to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Franklin recommends: Anything that isn’t barbecue

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