I always look forward to trips to Austin, Texas since there’s so much great BBQ. I had scheduled to attend the Austin MegaDO this year and was really looking forward to it. I missed it last year and heard all about it from the folks that attended. It’s essentially a weekend of as much meat as one human can eat (maybe more!) for a bunch of aviation
enthusiasts geeks. Two places I hadn’t had the chance to visit were on the docket, Stiles BBQ and Franklin Barbecue.
As my schedule sorted out I had a family activity that coincided with the start of the event so I would miss Stiles BBQ. But, I still had Franklin to look forward to and it was likely the only time I’d ever get to experience what some call BBQ nirvana. The line to get into Franklin can generally be a couple of hours of waiting. I like BBQ, but the list of things I would wait 2 hours for is very small, and I’m honestly not sure there’s any restaurant that would fit that category. The organizers had arranged for a private dinner so there wouldn’t be much of a line. I was pretty amped to try Franklin.
I was alongside Gary of View From The Wing, so a lot of our pictures ended up looking similar. He’s more of an expert on BBQ than I am, so when he decided it was time to head over to Franklin I wasn’t far behind. It didn’t take long for the line of frequent flyers to grow, but at least we all knew we wouldn’t be waiting 2 hours to get in.
Even though there was a menu on the wall, we had all prepaid for our meals, so a full plate of everything Franklin did well was in my future. The Travelocity gnome was beckoning for me to step up and full my plate.
Franklin had something I hadn’t seen in previous Texas BBQ stops, a BBQ turkey breast. I decided to get some of that on my plate along with the fatty end of the brisket and a couple of ribs. I added some beans but skipped potato salad and cole slaw.
The turkey was awesome. I’d easily say it was the best piece of poultry I’ve ever had in a BBQ establishment. I almost always order some sort of chicken and while it can be flavorful it also is usually a bit on the dry side. Not here. They actually had it soaking in liquid on the carving table.
The brisket was underwhelming. I really enjoyed the brisket at Black’s because it was flavorful, moist and tender. I found the brisket and Franklin very moist and tender but it really didn’t have much flavor for my tastes. Gary and I were discussing it while we were eating and I certainly think he liked it more than I did. It wasn’t bad, mind you. But, with all the build-up around the meal at Franklin I was expecting more, which may be my own fault. Bottom line, I would not wait two hours in line for this brisket. I even broke the cardinal rule and put a little sauce on it (gasp!).
The ribs were spectacular. I put them on par with Black’s, maybe a bit better. They were moist and flavorful and disappeared off my plate.
I attended two other events during Austin MegaDO, both fun in different ways. First, we had Heckle Vision at the Alamo Ritz draft house theater. Heckle Vision is where they overlay the screen with an invisible layer that captures text messages from the audience during the movie. Mix in some hungover frequent fliers with a very old action/comedy about airplanes in Die Hard 2, and you had a recipe for fun.
For you young folks, yes, Bruce Willis did have hair. And, that’s not a futuristic space ship. We used to call that a pay phone. You can see the comments overlaid on the screen.
Yup, that’s an MD-11 flying through a 1990 movie with Heckle Vision front and center. I had a ball with this and contributed at least a few very inappropriate comments along the way.
Finally, we had an evening of music, local fajitas and local cocktails at the LIVESTRONG headquarters. It was a less rowdy night than the crew that went out until almost daylight the night before. Everyone participated in the festivities, bought raffle tickets to benefit charity and a few people walked away with some great prizes.
LIVESTRONG is a charity I’ve supported for quite some time. I’ve lost a lot of family and friends too early to battles with cancer. It was especially enjoyable for me to enjoy a night with friends at their HQ helping raise a bit of money for charity.
The organizers of the Austin MegaDO are great guys. Corey’s wife said she was happy to have her husband back after 9 insane months of planning and Ben actually looked tired for the first time I can recall since StarMegaDO 4. All in all, it was a great weekend and I can’t wait to see what they cook up next.
Guys, when does registration open?