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Rejoice! Franklin Barbecue Reopens Tomorrow

A fire gutted its smokehouse two months ago, but the award-winning restaurant is back.

barbecue smoked brisket sausage Photo: courtesy Franklin Barbecue

In August disaster struck. Franklin Barbecue, one of America’s most celebrated purveyors of smoked brisket, was shut down by a fire that gutted its smokehouse. Now, nearly two months later, pitmaster Aaron Franklin and crew have announced that they will reopen his eponymous barbecue joint on Tuesday in a slightly limited capacity.

The smokers and the restaurant portion of Franklin survived the fire, and Aaron hoped he could reopen in a month. But as per usual with any restaurant project, there was a delay. The new smokehouse is still under construction and is expected to be finished in two months, but to prevent any further hold up, they’ll be barbecuing outside.

Unfortunately, Franklin’s temporary set-up will decrease capacity, thus limiting preorder sales. And this week, the restaurant will be closed on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving before opening doors again on Saturday, helping ease the restaurant back into its round-the-clock cooking routine its popularity requires.

Because people come from around the world to wait in line up to seven hours in order to get some brisket, sausage, ribs, and more before it sells out for the day, Franklin’s smokehouse has to work day and night to satisfy the demand. There’s usually a lone employee present in the middle of the night doing prep work and tending to the meat. The blaze started while the employee was working alone, and an ember flew out of a fire pit and got stuck between the wall and the restaurant’s rotisserie smoker.

Fortunately, no one was injured in the blaze, and Franklin has paid its employees the entire time the restaurant has been closed. And Franklin is using the blaze to modify the design of the smokehouse to improve ventilations and prevent the spread of future fires. Which is need, because the people of Austin shouldn’t have to go two months without its favorite barbecue again anytime soon.

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