B y the time I show up to meet Aaron Franklin in his natural environment, his day is half-finished and an orderly horde of BBQ fiends, including some who've been kicking it in lawn chairs since before dawn, is already waiting in line for the restaurant to open. It's 7:30am. That's what it's like six days a week at Franklin Barbecue, the Austin powerhouse he opened in 2009 that, thanks in part to raves from the likes of Anthony Bourdain, The New York Times, and Barack Obama, is on any self-respecting meat-eater's bucket list.
Franklin has become a food celebrity in his own right, too. Since opening the restaurant in 2009, he's starred in a Chase Sapphire card ad, appeared on countless cooking shows, filmed a cameo alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson in the 2014 Jon Favreau movie Chef, and published a best-selling cookbook. In May, he launched Hot Luck, his very own food and music festival.
Thomas Allison & Evan Lockhart / Thrillist
Thomas Allison/Thrillist
Thomas Allison/Thrillist
Franklin BBQ
Thomas Allison/Thrillist