Trendy restaurants in Austin: buzz is usually total BS

I don’t know if Franklin’s Barbecue is pretty good. It may well be, but I am not going to wait in line three hours to find out with the risk that they will be sold out just before I get to the counter. I am 65 years old and gradually retiring, so I have some time on my hands — but not that much time to waste! One of the reasons for the long lines at Franklin’s is a recent article in the well-known gourmet magazine, Bon Appetit. The author heaping lavish praise on Franklin’s knows nothing about barbecue brisket, absolutely nothing! The following quote makes this painfully obvious: “Whereas most places smoke brisket for seven hours at a blazing 500°, Franklin cooks his for about 18 hours at 250° to 270°.” Nobody in Texas smokes brisket at 500°, not even Bill Miller! 18 hours might be a little longer time in the smoker than some establishments allow, but it is hardly unusual.

All over town there are recent popular burger places that boast “organic, grass fed, locally sourced Black Angus beef.” OK, nothing wrong with that, but the burger costs 2-4 times as much as one from McDonald’s or any other equally wretched fast food purveyor and the beef consists of a generic, thin, machine-made patty that could not be distinguished from one from McDonald’s or Wendy’s in a blindfold test.

Thanks to my wife, I dine so well at home I rarely eat out except for a convenient lunch. When I do, I avoid the new places everybody is talking about this month as I find them inevitably over-priced and over-rated.

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