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Aaron Franklin Smokes His First Kosher Brisket

The New York Jewish pit masters had never tasted Texas barbecue before

Hands picking up slices of brisket.
Non-kosher Franklin Barbecue brisket
Nick Solares/E
Erin Russell is associate editor of Eater Austin, a native Austinite, and a big fan of carbs.

Aaron Franklin has smoked his first kosher brisket as an act of generosity towards to two New York Jewish pitmasters. Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn was there to witness everything at Franklin Barbecue. Though Sruli “Izzy” Eidelman and Ari White have both been crowned Brisket King of New York (Eidelman in 2017 and White in 2016), neither has ever tried Texas brisket due to their religion.

Eidelman, who owns kosher spot Izzy’s Smokehouse in Brooklyn, and White, an El Paso native who runs kosher barbecue catering company Wandering Cue, flew to Austin from New York with a cooler of considerably more expensive kosher brisket (which runs $8 per pound versus $4 per pound).

The convening was not without challenges. The duo arrived ten days after a fire closed Franklin Barbecue. In terms of cooking, kosher meat requires different seasoning (more pepper than salt because kosher slaughtering already involves salt to draw out blood), entirely new utensils (cutting board, thermometers, etc.), and, although used pits can be purged with fire, a new smoker. Fortunately, Franklin recently rolled out a line of backyard smokers, and saved one to be used with the brisket.

After a 12-hour smoke and long rest for the brisket, Eidelman and White dug in. Vaughn described:

Each of them had closed eyes and broad smiles at the first bite, the kind that need no explanation. I assured them that this was the true Franklin flavor. The smell, the texture, and the beefiness were all there, but it did need a little extra salt. White asked for a moment of silence. “I’m having a moment,” he says with a laugh.

Eidelman reported that the post oak smoking provided sweetness, and he picked up the finer details of trimming brisket and adjusting smoke. Vaughn dubbed the event a cultural exchange, and an excuse to visit Izzy’s again to see what Eidelman had learned.

Franklin Barbecue

900 East 11th Street, , TX 78702 (512) 653-1187 Visit Website