Next time you are in Austin, wave howdy to the 4-hour lines at Franklin Barbecue and continue about ¼ mile down Rosewood to the Micklethwait Craft Meats trailer. There you will find little or no waiting*, excellent brisket, and more important two out-of-the-ordinary reasons to chow down on this supreme Texas barbecue.
The first is the sides. Now you know I love my cole slaw and potato salad, not to mention those pinto beans, and it breaks my heart that many meat centric places seem to buy their accompaniments in the bulk section at Walmart. Not Micklethwait. Their potato salad is made with robust new potatoes served chunky (not cooked to falling-apart consistency) with house-made mayo and dill. The cole slaw has a lemon honey dressing and is flecked with poppyseed. And the buttermilk pie? This is what Billy Graham eats daily, now that he’s ascended to his heavenly reward. (I did my best to duplicate the recipe and mine is outstanding, but I know from the pastry chef’s comments in this excellent Eater article it’s not exactly the same.)
The second reason is the barbacoa…. a dish that doesn’t show up all that often in Texas BBQ places. The cook explained to me that slow-smoked beef cheeks are “comfitted in brisket fat” which is information you want to hide from your cardiologist. The result is incredibly tender, truly justifying the overused sobriquet melt-in-your-mouth, plus it’s $2 per pound cheaper than brisket.
Order a meat plate with barbacoa, jalapeno grits and coleslaw and then another with brisket, beans and potato salad. While you’re at it, get a third with andouille sausage. Add a pound of barbacoa to take home. In each case you will get house-made bread (it’s white like Mrs. Baird’s but that’s the only resemblance) and a smattering of house-made pickles. Eat it all without sharing. It may be your last day on earth, but it will be a pleasurable one.
There are plenty of five-star reviews for Micklethwait on Yelp, so I’m putting mine here as a public service. Go there now.
*My friend Leo was turned away because they were sold out, so maybe I just hit a good day. Also, we were there around 11:30. Go early.